Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Signs of Summer

There were a couple of signs during Sunday's tour that summer had, without question, arrived.

After a brief introduction under Green-Wood Cemetery's main arches I walked the early morning birding group the nearly 1 mile distance to the Red-tailed Hawk nest in the area called "The Flats". As I had anticipated, one of the juvenile hawks had left the nest sometime over the holiday weekend. Red-tails lay their eggs over several days, so usually one offspring is a bit more developed than the other. The one remaining on the nest looked healthy, huge and ready to take its maiden flight. We watched for several minutes as it flapped from a perch above and to the right of the nest. Eventually it flew a couple of yards down onto the nest, then flew up to a branch on the other side of the nest. Lift off for this little one seemed imminent, until one of the adults flew into the nest with a breakfast treat. The young bird then spent the rest of the time back in the nest eating what appeared to be a squirrel. When we left to continue the morning walk it was still chowing down. There were several robins making alarm calls from areas a short distance from the nest tree. I assumed the other juvenile hawk was nearby, but we never managed to find it.

Several Barn Swallows, Chimney Swifts and a decent sized flock of Cedar Waxwings were swooping over the Crescent Water, catching insects. Unlike the swallows & swifts, waxwings are generally seen foraging in fruiting scrubs and trees. I suppose there was such an abundance of protein flying over the small body of water that they couldn't resist joining in with their more agile avian friends. While we were watching the waxwings someone asked me about a "bird" song emanating from somewhere up on the hillside. It wasn't a bird, but actually our first cicada of the season. The slow pulsing, churring sounds was likely a Linne's Cicada. Within the next couple of weeks we should be hearing the songs of several more species of cricket, cicada and katydid. Wil Hershberger and Lang Elliott have a great website called "The Song of Insects". I recommend checking it out.

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Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: Sunday, July 9, 2017
Species: 32 species

Double-crested Cormorant (1. Flying over entrance at end of tour.)
Great Blue Heron (1.)
Great Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe (1.)
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch (1.)
House Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
House Sparrow

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