Thursday, May 8, 2008

Owls, etc.

Finally, some warblers! It’s been a scant birding spring so far for me, what with work and difficulty getting out of be on the weekends, so I’d only seen a bare handful of our tropical migrants so far. But last night, in the Loch in Central Park, I saw a few more species: ovenbird, northern waterthrush, black-throated blue, black-throat green, northern parula, common yellow-throat, and American redstart. I went up there to see this year’s class of eastern screech owls. Three young ones, huddled together in fuzzy gray, with their parents close by. At sunset, they started to stretch their wings, the young ones’ bobbing and weaving their necks. But, you’ll say, they don’t have necks! Then one of the parents flew to a nearby vertical branch, which was even better viewing for us. One of the youngsters followed, cautiously; the other adult shot ahead of them all, landing near the path, where two robins started to freak out, calling out loud warnings. Another of the recently fledged jumped down to a clear branch, bobbing and weaving, while the third held back. Briefly. Then they started leapfrogging, some close to a parent, others not. The five of them crossed over the path, landed about the bare branches of another tree. By now, they were just dark blobs. Then, quick as that, they flew further to the north, lost to us in the dark. A couple of bats flittered about suddenly. Changing of the guard.

There were also many raccoons. Boldly walking across the ground. Emerging from their tree holes. Looking down at us. An old Russian lady, in a motorized personal chair/cart, no less, feeds them near the 103rd /CPW entrance. They walk right up to her, indeed, so tame are they that they’ll walk over her chair, just scooting out of the way as we pass.

On the NE corner of Joralemon and Hicks there’s a nicely maturing young horse chestnut in bloom. Bumblebees were working the pyramids of flowers today.

1 comment:

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Superco-o-o-o-l about those owlets!

Stanley Kunitz writes about his close friendship with an owl family in his wonderful book, The Wild Braid.