#849 White-winged Crossbill on the first Park Day after Hurricane Sandy

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Wow! What a day! Best day in Prospect Park in years! After being cooped up for so long from Sandy and with all parks annoyingly closed, it was great to finally get out and there were birds everywhere! and great birds in great light! Perhaps I should have taken my camera, but I was just enjoying the pleasant weather and a relaxing walk through the woods.

It was an excellent fall day, but things really kicked up when I got to the Binnen Bridge near the Pagoda Swamp. A small bird, a House Finch? associating with a couple of American Goldfinches hopped down onto the falls, and then the bird popped up into a nearby sapling.

Cuba Cancelled

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

My previously scheduled talk for tomorrow night, Thursday, November 1, on Birding Cuba for the Brooklyn Bird Club has been cancelled due to transit issues and the continuing closure of Prospect Park where we usually hold meetings. It will likely be rescheduled in early December.

Update: The new date is Thursday, December 6 at the Litchfield Villa in Prospect Park. See you there!

Mystery Bird

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Despite watching this bird for about an hour last week, and taking many photos, it took me a really long time to decide what it was. I’m not going to name it because I’m still only 90% sure:

Mystery Bird

#848 Florida Scrubjay at Bugshot 2012

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

OK. This is the second to last day at Bugshot and a hurricane is coming. I’m staying at the Archbold Biological Station, home to one of the major, possibly the largest breeding colony of the endangered Florida Scrubjay. I’m told they come to the parking lot here but I still haven’t seen one. So this morning early I took off across the railroad tracks before breakfast and promised myself I wasn’t turning around until I found a scrub jay. And I was not disappointed:

Florida Scrub Jay in sand

#846 Mississippi Kites in Sterling Forest

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Usually rare birds for an area are just vagrants, but this summer a pair of Mississippi Kites actually built a nest and started breeding in Sterling Forest! Growing up in Louisiana you’d think I’d already have Mississippi Kite on my life list, but I guess I wasn’t paying that much attention to birds back then. So Janet, Monica, Sandi, and I stopped at Sterling Forest on our way up to the Adirondack Birding Festival on Thursday to try to find them. Unfortunately we were too late. They were seen earlier that morning but after a bad traffic jam in the Bronx we didn’t get there until around 11:00. :-( I suppose we could have stayed till the late afternoon when they usually return to the nest, but we had a long drive still ahead of us to Hamilton County.

We returned to the Sterling Forest parking lot on Sunday afternoon on our way back from the festival. Still no Kites. damn. However just as it was starting to rain again and we were getting ready to give up we ran into another birder who told us the kites were indeed still there and visible from a spot just down the road. So we trotted on down and there they were, both of them:

Mississippi Kite perched

#845 Black-backed Woodpecker

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

The birding trip for Saturday afternoon was to a couple of areas on either side of Indian Lake. They had some great insects, but not too many birds. Afternoon is not generally the best time to see birds. Too hot, and many birds are resting. However toward dusk we made a final stop at a marsh on the south side of Indian Lake. I mostly stayed by the car and the road, looking at spiders and turtles, while the rest of my carpool explored the surrounding area hoping to pick up a woodpecker or two. They should have stayed by the car too. While they were off in the swamp, a Black-Backed Woodpecker flew into a dead tree, called once or twice, and then flew off. #845 and third life bird of the trip for me.

Don’t feel too bad for the other members of my party though. They all got Black-Backed Woodpecker the next day at Northville-Placid Trail too. In fact we had several there.