Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Birding January 26,27

Chasing birds requires time management. My plan was to head in to Prospect Park after work and get the lingering Pine Siskins that appear to be absent everywhere else. 

I was waylaid by an unexpected call from Derek Rogers who wanted intel on some local birds. He being from further east than myself, and particularly unfamiliar with local birding spots, I agreed to meet him after work at Forest Park. I also suggested that he head to Jamaica Bay and try for the Barn Owls first, and then shoot up Woodhaven blvd. to meet me.

Later I got a last minute call from a prospective patient, after which Derek called informing me that he was already at the proposed meeting location and somewhat antsy. He bailed, opting instead to go for the pure white Snowy Owl at Jones Beach. Left alone, this majestic bird could conceivably spend the winter there. But as past experience has shown, unethical photographers have harassed these birds, often making them fly to get flight shots. 

He went for the Snowy. When done at the office I went to Prospect as planned. Walking up the road towards the feeder station, I saw a new nyjer feeder with small birds upon it, and lo, there were the siskins! I took a few pictures with my phone, which are terrible, but hey... better than nothing.

After spending some more time to see what else was at the feeders, I moved on to my next target bird: Monk Parakeets. { Monkeets}

Finding the location of the nests on 22nd street and Glenwood road, I was expecting the birds to be there. Nope. A 'gimme' bird and its a no show. Oddly, I fully expected the reverse of my experience; the Pine Siskins requiring a wait, and the Monkeets being on site. See, just when you think you know the game they change the rules....

I called Capt'n Bob, and he headed right over and we searched a few other locations. One was the campus of nearby Brooklyn College, where the bored and lonely security guard  invited us onto the grounds for a better look, and tried to engage us in conversation to soothe his under-stimulated mind.

Unsuccessful, we headed back to Glenwood and driving up I both saw and heard the Monkeets. Harrumph ! Well, my two targets du jour { ie two year birds} out of the way, Bob and I got some lunch before parting ways.

On the way home, I went to Jones Beach. I drove up to the south west corner of WE2 and found Micheal McBrien and his dad who had the Snowy in their scope right from the lot. Beautiful bird. Easy to find too - it was surrounded by photographers.

I then went to walk the median, hoping to chance across the Goshawk that has been around. No dice. Oh well, you can't have everything, but it was a great day of semi-casual birding!

Sunday was a bit of 'play by ear' birding. Jean LeConte Sparrow came over Saturday night after work, and I tried to give her the opportunity to sleep in a bit rather than getting her up early to chase birds. 

We got a call from Capt'n Bob, and he was inquiring about the Jones Snowy. Jean perked up, and wanted to see that bird too, so we planned to meet at WE2. We met up then walked the trail down to the beach so we could get a look at the bird from up close with the sun at our backs.

So far the photographers have been well behaved. We walked over and keeping a respectful distance scoped the bird in my Kowa with my new 30x wide-angle eyepiece. I like it!

Snowy Owl Basking on the Beach.
On the way down, Jean had heard some chip notes, and we found a Marsh Wren. On the way back the bird was still present in the same general location but with the sun at my back I was able to get a picture of the furtive beast. A year bird!

Marsh Wren Skulking in the Phragmites
Back at the lot, Bob {surprise surprise} suggested stopping for lunch. Boy, his tapeworm has him feline-pejorative whipped! We declined, and he headed back home to care for his flu-stricken Karen, while Jean and I ventured to Kissena Park.

No sooner had we pulled up to park at the corridor section, than a Ring-necked Pheasant walked across the path before us! Year bird 2 du jour!

Ring-necked Pheasant

Walking in I spied more than one, but they did their best to make looking at them difficult. We walked the paths and searched for other goodies and hoped for some more targets.

The paucity of sparrows soon became apparent when we found a beautiful male Kestrel atop a tree surveying his domain. Year bird 3.

American Kestrel AKA Sparrow Hawk
So while we were able to find a wary flock of Juncos, we struck out in finding Earic's Lincoln's Sparrow. A Fox Sparrow is always pleasant to look at though, and at least two were present.

Fox Sparrow
Walking about more did not locate any other sought after birds, but we enjoyed confiding Goldfinches who chowed down in our presence without much care, in contrast to the behavior of the sparrows.

American Goldfinch
With the light fading, we sampled the Chinese restaurant that took over the Palace Diner for an early dinner and were pleased. We then got to Jeans place where as hoped we completed some chores that did not take too much time to complete. Read that: no recrimination for birding when we should have been completing that task!

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