Back in Brooklyn

For the weekend at least. I hopped a JetBlue flight over to visit my wife who’s in town for a few weeks on business and to talk to our accountant about last year’s taxes. This morning I had a little free time to hop over to Prospect Park and do some East Coast birding. As you can see, it’s still winter out here. The leaves have not started to come in yet on the deciduous trees.

Lake with bare trees on gray day

I did not find the Pine Warbler I was looking for, and I’m kicking myself that I missed the Northern Goshawk again; but I did add several birds to the year list, including one that’s only a rarity out West, Common Grackle:

3 Common Grackles

Spring migration has kicked off in Prospect Park. A lot of the park breeders have returned from their winter quarters and were conspicuous in number. Besides Common Grackles, there were also large numbers of American Robins all over the park. However, the birds that only pass through here on their way north, like the warblers, have not yet arrived for the most part. Their breeding grounds probably don’t have enough food quite yet.

Some of the wintering birds (mostly waterfowl) have left, but the Ruddy Ducks and American Coots were still around, and maybe a dozen or two Northern Shovelers. However, most of the several hundred shovelers that overwinter in the park have already north. There were also four American Black Ducks, two Ring-necked Ducks and three Bufflehead, but that’s about as many of those as you ever see here. They’ll all likely head North soon too. Canada Geese, Mute Swans, and Mallards are all year-round residents. I was pleased to see that my old friends NA 07, NA 23, and NA27 are still hanging in there:

NA27 and NA07 Canada Geese with black on yellow neck bands

However NA26 hasn’t been seen since he was picked up by the police on Flatbush Ave. some months ago, and is likely no longer with us. Natural selection is very tough on geese that can’t stay out of traffic.

In four hours of intense birding I tallied only 32 species including four woodpeckers:

  • Brant
  • Canada Goose
  • Mute Swan
  • American Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Bufflehead
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Mourning Dove
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Blue Jay
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • American Robin
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • House Sparrow

California has spoiled me. Back in Irvine, 32 species is a casual hour after work. Prospect Park will pick up in the next month as the migrants begin passing through on their way north, but by then I’ll have returned to the sunny O.C.

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