Sunday, April 12, 2009
Prospect Park in the afternoon
An afternoon ramble through Prospect Park started slowly, but it is spring out there even with overnight temps in the 30s. Seven new species were espied. Once I got past the Nethermede Arches into the Nethermede, the wind dampened down. A ruby-crowned kinglet and several Blue-grey gnatcatchers were to be found along the stream there. The other day, a birder had mentioned seeing numerous Black-crowned night herons on Three Sister’s Island. I didn’t need to go that far, for the larger island in the southeast corner of the lake (Duck Island, according to my map) had seven mature night herons, along with a spotty immature. A female Belted kingfisher landed above them. A little later, a Great egret lurched out of the reeds near the swan nest, which looked newly mounded up. Phoebes were everywhere and there were a number of turtles, one-foot long specimen with a gash in its shell. My first warbler for the day was a Yellow-rumped. Then a Pine. Then, on the southern side of Breeze Hill, a Palm warbler, pumping away with his tail, the first of the season. From the Lullwater path, I watched two Turkey vulture soaring in the strong winds. People were reporting one in a tree in the Peninsula last week, which is pretty unusual, since they are normally just fly-over like LaGuardia bound jets. At the new pond above the Lullwater Falls, I watched another Great egret stalking prey. It grabbed a large fish, decided it couldn’t swallow it, dropped it, and, a minute or so later, seemed to get the same fish back, again giving up on it as too big. Catch and release of any kind is no fun for any fish, methinks. The bird’s lores were emerald green. More blue-grey gnatcatchers arrived. Two Carolina wren skulked through the understory leaves. In the Vale of Cashmere, the Louisiana waterthrush continues to go bob-bob-bobbing along.