Check out City Birder Tours, and Green-Wood sponsored tours on their calendar pages here.
Celebrate your inner nerd with my new t-shirt design! Available on my Spreadshirt shop in multiple colors and products.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Best of the Fortnight

Here's a selection of my photos from over the past 2 weeks:

American Robin, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Northern Shoveler, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Immature Cooper's Hawk, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Pied-billed Grebe, Spring Creek, Brooklyn, NY

American Tree Sparrow, Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn, NY

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Baltimore Oriole, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Herring Gull, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

Purple Sandpiper, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

Iceland Gull, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

Hermit Thrush, Coney Island Creek Park, Brooklyn, NY

Greater & Lesser Scaup, Coney Island Creek, Brooklyn, NY

Fish Crow, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY

Upcoming Trips

Below are the birding/nature trips for the weekend of February 5-6, 2022:

Brooklyn Bird Club

Introduction to Birdwatching
Saturday, February 5, 2022, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Leader: A member of the Brooklyn Bird Club
Description: Whether you're just starting out or have already joined the birding ranks, this introductory walk is for you. Join a member of the Brooklyn Bird Club to learn the basics of birding and search for the dozens of species that visit Prospect Park through all seasons. All levels are welcome.
Registration: No registration necessary. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring binoculars if you have them.
View Details


Winter at Jones Beach State Park and Point Lookout
Saturday, February 5, 2022
Leader: Adelia Honeywood
Description: Winter water birds and sea ducks, beach dune species, raptors, possibly irruptive finches in small numbers.
Registration: Adelia Honeywood email honeywood5@yahoo.com. Registration Period: Jan 30th-Feb 3rd Current club members will receive priority.
View Details


First Sunday Prospect Park Walks in Winter
Sunday, February 6, 2022, 10:00am - 11:30am
Leader: A member of the Brooklyn Bird Club
Description: The Sunday walks will start at The Audubon Center at the Boathouse.
Registration: No registration necessary.
View Details


After Hours Sunset Walk at Shirley Chisholm State Park
Sunday, February 6, 2022, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Leader: Adelia Honeywood and Shirley Chisholm State Park Staff
Description: A special opportunity hosted by park staff to enjoy Shirley Chisholm State Park at sunset after it closes to the public. We will start at 2 pm for some daytime winter birding and then meet up with parks staff at 4 pm for a twilight hike until 6pm. Scopes are recommended for the daytime portion.
Registration: Adelia Honeywood, email honeywood5@yahoo.com. Jan 30th-Feb 3rd Please only register if you can attend the entire event 2 – 6 pm.
View Details


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Gateway National Parks

Fort Wadsworth Tour
Every week on Sunday February 06, 2022 to February 27, 2022, 2:00pm
Leader: Park Rangers
Description: Join us for a hike around Fort Wadsworth as we explore both the natural areas and the remnants of the former harbor defense system. Inclement weather will cancel this program. Dress appropriately. Bring water, face mask required.
Registration: Call 718 354-4655 to make a reservation.
View Details


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Great South Bay Audubon Society

Jones Beach West End State Park Nature Walk
Saturday, February 5, 2022, 8:30am - 12:00pm
Leader: Mike Cooper, Bob Grover
Description: Meet in the parking lot at the Marina near the Coast Guard Station.
Registration: info@greatsouthbayaudubon.org
View Details


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Green-Wood Cemetery

Birding in Peace
Sunday, February 6, 2022, 7:00am–8:30am
Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home.
View Details


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Linnaean Society of New York

Coney Island Pier to Coney Island Creek
Saturday, February 5, 2022
Leader: Rob Jett
Description: This casual four-mile loop begins by exploring the shore, water and jetties of the Lower Bay along Coney Island Beach. Walking west towards the border between Coney Island and the private community of Seagate, we expect to observe Common & Red-throated Loons, Horned Grebes, Long-tailed Ducks, scoters and several other species of waterfowl. Purple Sandpipers typically overwinter along the rock jetties. Among the abundant common gulls, we may find a rare Lesser Black-backed or Iceland Gull. The second half of the loop explores Gravesend Bay and Coney Island Creek. Returning towards Stillwell Avenue the group may opt to lunch at NYC landmark Totonno’s pizzeria or stop in for a cold one at Coney Island Brewery.
Registration: Linda Labella — lblabella@gmail.com
View Details


Jones Beach
Sunday, February 6, 2022
Leader: Gordon Lam
Description: Jones Beach State Park is among the best location in the area for viewing wintering ducks, loons, grebes, geese, gulls, shorebirds, passerines, raptors and owls. The state park occupies 6.5 miles of a barrier island along the Atlantic coast of Nassau County and contains varied habitats, including ocean beaches, bays, dunes and forested areas. eBird records for January include over 100 avian species. Exciting rarities that might be seen, including Snowy Owl, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Razorbill, Murres, Horned Lark and Lapland Longspur.
Registration: Lori Lam — lamonthelam2@gmail.com
View Details
Note: This trip replaces the January 28, 2022 trip to Breezy Point, which was cancelled due to inclement weather.


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New York City Audubon

Winter Bird Exploration in Central Park
Sunday, February 6, 2022, 9:00am - 11:00am
Leader: Kellye Rosenheim
Description: Venture out with Kellye Rosenheim to explore the winter bird life of Central Park. We'll seek out waterfowl, raptors, and hearty year-round residents.. Limited to 15. $36 (25).
Registration: Via Eventbrite
View Details


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South Shore Audubon Society

Massapequa Lake
Sunday, February 6, 2022
Leader: Members of SSAS
Description: Use street parking on the westbound side of Merrick Road. Massapequa Lake is at the south end of Massapequa Preserve, between Lakeshore Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.
Registration: Registration is required by calling Joe Landesberg at 516-467-9498
View Details


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Urban Park Rangers

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
10:00am - 11:00am
Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. Please bring your own binoculars.
Free

...Read more

Sunday, January 30, 2022

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 28, 2022:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 28, 2022
* NYNY2201.28
- Birds mentioned


PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Blue-winged Teal
EURASIAN WIGEON
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Common Gallinule
PIPING PLOVER
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
Razorbill
Black-legged Kittiwake
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
American Bittern
Eastern Phoebe
NORTHERN SHRIKE
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Vesper Sparrow
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
Baltimore Oriole

- Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44 (at)nybirds{dot}org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

Compiler: Tom Burke
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for *Friday, January 28th 2022* at 11pm. The highlights of today's tape are WESTERN TANAGER, THICK-BILLED MURRE, NORTHERN SHRIKE, PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, PIPING PLOVER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and more.

There are two WESTERN TANAGERS in Manhattan, the one wintering around Carl Schurz Park continues to visit the feeder area there with some regularity this site located along East End Avenue near East 86th Street. The TANAGER near the private Clinton Community Garden noted last Saturday should be looked for between West 47th & 48th Street east of 10th Avenue.

Following last week's two occurrences, sightings this week of THICK-BILLED MURRE commenced last Saturday with one in Shinnecock Inlet where perhaps the same bird was photographed today floating into the bay around midday. Another THICK-BILLED was photographed last Monday moving slowly westward off Fort Tilden. More expected RAZORBILLS were also present off Montauk Point with a good count of 51 on Tuesday with a few others along Long Island's south shore. In addition a small number of BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were seen offshore out east where other species of alcids can also occur though sufficient documentation to substantiate such findings can be difficult to obtain.

NORTHERN SHRIKE was still present Monday at the North Fork Preserve in Northville where it is usually noted along fields west of the entrance road located on the north side of Sound Avenue.

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE continues at Stony Brook University on a pond near the Charles B. Wang Center. Today 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were spotted at Sunken Meadow State Park west of the entrance bridge and another was today again roosting on the lake at Playland Park in Rye. Continuing single female type EURASIAN WIGEON were seen as recently as today both at Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn and on Patchogue Lake the north end of which contains a good variety of water birds including a drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Single drake KING EIDER were still today at both Great Kills Park on Staten Island and at Shinnecock Inlet and 5 HARLEQUIN DUCKS can be found along the Point Lookout jetties. A PIPING PLOVER was also present at Point Lookout yesterday.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL continues to frequent the waters around the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End where a single LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was seen again Tuesday that bay also producing a LAPLAND LONGSPUR there. LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS also remain along Santapogue Creek in West Babylon. GLAUCOUS GULLS were seen today at Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 and at Bellport Bay Yacht Club while several ICELAND GULLS include birds on Central Park's Reservoir and at Randall's Island plus a few sites in Brooklyn and out at Shinnecock Inlet.

Other notable non-passerines include a RED-NECKED GREBE continuing at Culloden Point in Montauk, a COMMON GALLINULE still at Mill Pond in Bellmore and a couple of AMERICAN BITTERN along Dune Road and another at Tobay.

Out in Montauk 2 YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS were seen today, one around the parking lot at the point and the another at Theodore Roosevelt County Park. Up to 3 VESPER SPARROWS still reside at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center off Yaphank Avenue and an EASTERN PHOEBE plus a BALTIMORE ORIOLE both remain in Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery.

To phone in reports, call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Green-Wood Cemetery: Weeks 3 & 4

I think a good theme for this period would be "Eat or Be Eaten". One big change has been plummeting temperatures and this weekend's forecast nor'easter. Still time to see a few rare visitors from the north:

The spiky sweetgum ball produce several dozen seeds. Typically large numbers of birds are found in the tops of the trees picking the seeds out directly, or scratching in the grass below for spilled seeds. This year many winter specialists have not been around. I don't know why.
There are lots of apple trees in the cemetery and some are still holding onto a few fruit. This Granny Smith variety has been attracting birds, apparently taking a break from eating seeds or other fruit.
A pair of overwintering Baltimore Orioles have been finding food in the cemetery's numerous yew trees. As that source becomes exhausted they've been visiting suet feeders. Maybe a few orange halves could be added to the menu.
Northern Shovelers are an abundant overwintering species around Brooklyn. When all the ponds and lakes freeze, look for them in the creeks around the coast.
Another sparrow that is only found in winter is the American Tree Sparrow. This gregarious species can usually be found in fairly large flocks around the borough. That hasn't been the case this year...yet.
Pine Hill has been a good spot to find mixed sparrow flocks, robins, kinglets and nuthatches. It should be no surprise that this Sharp-shinned Hawk has also been lurking around there, too.
Red-shouldered Hawks used to be rare in Brooklyn during the winter. They have gradually become a fairly regular sighting during the cold months. This immature individual was hunting on the Hill of Graves.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Upcoming Trips

Below are the birding/nature trips for the weekend of January 29-30, 2022:

Bedford Audubon Society

EagleWatch
Daily, January 13, 2022 – February 17, 2022, 1.5 hours before sunset
Leader: Tait Johansson
Description: Join Naturalist Tait Johansson and his team from Bedford Audubon and Saw Mill River Audubon for EagleWatch to monitor roosting Bald Eagles within the Lower Hudson Valley Important Bird Area (IBA). We share the data with Audubon New York to monitor and advocate for IBAs, and with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to supplement their eagle monitoring efforts and to facilitate decision-making that impacts this Important Bird Area. Family friendly—a fun way to introduce ecology to your kids!
Registration: Registration required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or by calling 914-302-9713.
View Details


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Brooklyn Bird Club

Introduction to Birdwatching
Saturday, January 29, 2022, 10:00 am - 12:00pm
Leader: A member of the Brooklyn Bird Club
Description: Whether you're just starting out or have already joined the birding ranks, this introductory walk is for you. Join a member of the Brooklyn Bird Club to learn the basics of birding and search for the dozens of species that visit Prospect Park through all seasons. All levels are welcome.
Registration: No registration necessary. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring binoculars if you have them.
View Details


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Gateway National Parks

Fort Tour and Hike
Every week on Sunday, January 09, 2022 to January 30, 2022
Leader: Park Rangers
Description: Join us for a hike around Fort Wadsworth as we explore forts and natural areas. Inclement weather will cancel this program. Dress appropriately. Visitors are encouraged to bring masks and water. Call 718 354-4655 to make a reservation.
Registration: No registration necessary.
View Details


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Linnaean Society of New York

Breezy Point
Saturday, January 29, 2022
Leader: Gordon Lam
Description: Breezy Point, Queens, is located on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula, between Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. It is part of Gateway National Recreation Area, which is run by the National Park Service. This isolated, 200-acre area includes an ocean-facing beach, a shoreline on Jamaica Bay, sand dunes, and marshland. We expect to see both Common and Red-throated Loons, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, and Red-breasted Mergansers, and if we are lucky we may get Razorbills and Purple Sandpipers. Be sure to dress warmly, for cold winter weather, with possible winds.
Registration: Lori Lam — lamonthelam2@gmail.com
View Details


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New York City Audubon

Intro to Birding: Bird Walk in Central Park
Saturday, January 29, 2022, 8:30am - 11:00am
Leader: Tod Winston
Description: Are you curious about "birding" but don’t have much (or any) experience? Come on a relaxed walk in Central Park to go over birding basics and see sparrows, finches, ducks, and more. Binoculars available upon request. Limited to 12. $36 (25).
Registration: Click Here to Register
View Details


Governors Island Winter Bird Tour
Saturday, January 29, 2022, 9:00am - 11:00am
Leader: Gabriel Willow
Description: Birding hot spot Governors Island is finally open to the public during the wintertime! Come seek overwintering birds and rarities with fellow hearty birders. Participants must reserve their own spot on the 9am Governors Island Ferry from Manhattan here. Limited to 15. $36 (25).
Registration: Click Here to Register
View Details


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South Shore Audubon Society

Jones Beach Coast Guard Station Parking Area
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Leader: Members of SSAS
Description: From the Wantagh State Parkway, travel south. Upon entering Jones Beach State Park, exit at Bay Drive and continue west. Turn right (north) at entrance for Coast Guard Station and West End Boat Basin; turn right again for parking.
Registration: Registration is required by calling Joe Landesberg at 516-467-9498
View Details


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Urban Park Rangers

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Birding: Winter Waterfowl at West 90th Street and Central Park West
Description: Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. Please bring your own binoculars.
View Details
Free

Winter Bird Walk at Touchdown of the 103rd Street Footbridge (in Randall's Island Park), Manhattan
Description: Join the Randall's Island Park Alliance for a guided tour to look for and learn about the approximately 50+ species of birds that migrate to the park during the winter.
View Details
Free


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Birding: Bald Eagle Watch at Payson Park House (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Description: December is a spectacular time for observing bald eagles in New York City parks. See if you can spot any on this adventure with our Urban Park Rangers. Bring your own binoculars.
View Details
Free

...Read more

Saturday, January 22, 2022

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 21, 2022:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 21, 2022
* NYNY2201.21


- Birds Mentioned

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Canada Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Long-billed Dowitcher
DOVEKIE
Razorbill
Black-legged Kittiwake
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
Eastern Phoebe
NORTHERN SHRIKE
VESPER SPARROW
Baltimore Oriole
Orange-crowned Warbler

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

Compiler: Tom Burke
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, January 21, 2022 at 11:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are DOVEKIE and THICK-BILLED MURRE, WESTERN TANAGER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, PINK-FOOTED and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, EURASIAN WIGEON, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED and GLAUCOUS GULLS, VESPER SPARROW and more.

Weather conditions at Montauk last Sunday and Monday were sufficiently windy to produce a few DOVEKIES moving past the Point along with decent numbers of RAZORBILLS, and on Monday a few BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were also reported, although waterfowl numbers remain notably low. Another DOVEKIE was also spotted off Robert Moses State Park Monday morning, and, thanks to the storm, widely separated THICK-BILLED MURRES were also uncovered and photographed, one off Coney Island Creek Park that soon drifted north into the Bay, and another seen from the Bellport Bay Yacht Club that ultimately moved south into Bellport Bay.

Manhattan's two WESTERN TANAGERS both continue, one visiting the feeder area at Carl Schurz Park located off East End Avenue near East 86th Street, and another remaining around the private Clinton Community Garden site off West 48th Street east of 10th Avenue, this latter bird moving around somewhat and harder to find.

A NORTHERN STRIKE continues to frequent the North Fork Preserve, though it can be quite elusive. The Preserve is on the north side of Sound Avenue in Northville.

A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was still present today with CANADA GEESE on a pond near the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University, and lingering GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were seen as recently as today on Playland Lake in Rye, at Tung Ting pond in Centerport Wednesday, and at Rockland Lake State Park Tuesday.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was spotted last Sunday at Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn, with another still on the mostly frozen Mill Pond in Oyster Bay Monday.

The drake KING EIDER was still off Great Kills Park on Staten Island Wednesday, and another was still being reported around Shinnecock Inlet last weekend.

Five HARLEQUIN DUCKS were frequenting the jetties at Point Lookout last Saturday, and three were seen in Shinnecock Inlet Wednesday and Thursday.

Three separate BLACK-HEADED GULLS involve recurring individuals seen at Jones Beach West End Monday, in Setauket Harbor Wednesday, and at Randall's Island Thursday. Randall's Island also produced GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS during the week, with other GLAUCOUS GULLS reported from Coney Island Creek and the Bellport Bay Yacht Club, while ICELANDS were noted at several Brooklyn sites, including Prospect Park, plus one yesterday at the Meer in Central Park.

Single RED-NECKED GREBES were spotted at Coney Island Beach Sunday and off Truman's Beach in Orient up to Wednesday. A few LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue along Santapogue Creek in West Babylon.

A hardy EASTERN PHOEBE continues in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, along with one or two BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and a few VESPER SPARROWS remain at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center off Yaphank Avenue. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were seen during the week at Randall's Island, Calvert Vaux Park and a few other sites.

To phone in reports call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, January 21, 2022

Familiar Silhouettes

I've been creating a series of high contrast, silhouette bird photographs lately. What began as subjects in terrible lighting conditions became, well, something a bit more interesting. I'll continue to add to this posting over time, so check back again:

Hawk food, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, NY

Summer Tanager, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Boat-tailed Grackle, Shirley Chisholm SP, Brooklyn, NY

Brown Creeper, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Fighting Red-tailed Hawks, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Fish Crow, Shirley Chisholm SP, Brooklyn, NY

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Gray Kingbird, Great Kills Park, Staten Island

Fox Sparrow, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Great Egret, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Dark-eyed Junco, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

European Starling, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Mourning Dove, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

American Kestrel, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Northern Mockingbird, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Great Blue Heron, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Immature Green Heron, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Glossy Ibis, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, NY

Osprey with fish, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Red-tailed Hawk, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Eastern Phoebe, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

House Wren, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Downy Woodpecker, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Green-Wood Cemetery: Week 2

Week two in Green-Wood Cemetery and any seasonal changes are subtle, if discernible at all.

"Jelena" Witch Hazel, a cross between Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis), has begun unfurling its spindly, ribbon-like petals. It will be at least another month before we see the more familiar yellow blossoms of the native Hamamelis vernalis.

Many species of roses around the cemetery are heavy with rosehips. However, the birds are primarily feeding on holly and yew berries right now, so it won't be until those sources are exhausted that they start eating these fruits.
Not really a source of food for the local wildlife, these Pussy Willow (salix discolor) are merely a feast for my eyes.
Not certain if this is a cypress or juniper as both can have blue fruit. Whichever it is, these Northern Cardinals were taking a break from the red fruits to snack on the abundant berries. I frequently find cardinals in winter at the tops of tuliptrees eating the small nut at the base of the seed spikes.
Mourning doves have begun gathering in flocks on the sunny slopes of the Dell Water. In addition to the "safety in numbers" aspect of this behavior, the thick leaf litter here likely holds an abundance of food.
If you hear a mewing call from the treetops, it's not a stuck cat. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a common winter visitor who's typical vocalization is more reminiscent of a feline than a bird. Look for evenly spaced, horizontal rows of holes to discover a favorite feeding spot.
Roving flocks of Blue Jays have an extremely varied diet. Feeding on everything from acorns to insect larvae, they are intelligent opportunists. These sometime mimics will often imitate Red-tailed Hawks when near bird feeders to clear the area, then monopolize the feeding station.
With little in the way of cover in winter, any small bird is a target for the local American Kestrels. This Blue Jay-sized raptor will hunt insects, as well as, rodents and small birds. Hill-of-Graves is a good spot to look for them.
This young Red-tailed Hawk is giving me the evil eye because he's clutching a freshly killed squirrel in his talons. The resident red-tails should be courting now and beginning their annual nest building activity.

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