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Sunday, March 14, 2004

Prospect Park with Shale B. and Marty S.

Tiny, white, bell-shaped Snowdrops (Galanthus) have joined the tulips and crocuses emerging around the park. We noticed a small blanket of them between Nelly's Lawn and the "Aralia Grove".

I only stopped very briefly at the hawk's nests today. A hawk was sitting on the nest in the pine tree. The other nest was empty but Big Mama and Split-tail were soaring above Nelly's Lawn. My goal this morning was to try and locate the Red-shouldered Hawk and a phoebe for Marty and Shale. We struck out on the phoebe but I found the red-shouldered. It was soaring over the lake and came down into a tulip tree overlooking the skating rink. Much later in the day, after Marty and Shale had left, I came across it again perched low behind Three Sisters Island. I probably would have walked right passed without noticing it but it began calling. He must be lonely. Its tail is very tattered and I'm not sure if it is the result of molting or a dispute with the local red-tails.

On the Upper pond (formerly called "Swanboat Pond") a male Hooded Merganser periodically pulled his neck in, tipped his head back and pointed his bill skyward. It was impossible to tell if the two females paddling along behind him were impressed with his courtship display. I walked by the pond again on my way home and noticed one of the Ring-necked Duck doing something curious. While swimming along next to a female ring-necked he would occasionally stretch his neck out, showing off his namesake purple ring. I'm not sure if it was a courtship display but it was nice to see the ring that is almost always hidden. Early this morning, at the other end of the Ravine, a Hairy Woodpecker perched on a hollow branch drummed a rapid message for a potential mate.

We sat on a park bench at the Vale of Cashmere listening to a Rusty Blackbird. Its "check" call is almost indistinguishable from the Red-winged Blackbird to my ear but a secondary call sounds like a rusty hinge.
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Prospect Park, 3/14/2004
Pied-billed Grebe (Prospect Lake.)
Brant (13, Prospect Lake.)
Wood Duck (3 drake, 1 hen. Prospect Lake.) [Rob Jett]
Northern Shoveler (Abundant.)
Ring-necked Duck (4, Upper pond. 1, Prospect Lake.)
Bufflehead (3, Upper pond.)
Hooded Merganser (3, Upper pond.)
Ruddy Duck
Red-shouldered Hawk (Near skating rink, later behind Three Sisters.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3.)
Merlin (Perched on Long Meadow near ponds.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Brown Creeper (South side of lake.) [Rob Jett]
Northern Mockingbird (Near carousel.)
Fox Sparrow (Approx. 6-8.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Rusty Blackbird (2, Ravine and Vale of Cashmere.)
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch (Approx. 15-20.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (3.), Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (2, Ravine & Vale of Cashmere.), Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee (Nelly's Lawn.), Tufted Titmouse (2, Nelly's Lawn.), American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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