Monday, April 29, 2013

The Weekend 'Prospects' Were Great! on 4-27 & 28

Jean LeConte Sparrow had the good fortune of having Saturday off for a change, and yes, we decided to spend it birding. Plans were not solidified, but when an email arrived just proximal to when I leave my office on Saturday it was quickly decided that Prospect park was the place to be.

"A likely Say’s Phoebe" had been found, and chances were good that the ID was correct. This bird had shown up twice in recent memory in New York state, but I was unable to find it either time.

We made our way to the park, and to the area in question. A group of birders was found lounging around, but their lack of focus had me a bit uneasy. I inquired and one of them offered me photos via his camera panel, as well as confidence in the ID. All I could determine was that it looked like a Phoebe of sorts - ie I could not say for certain that it was a Say’s or that it was not an Eastern Phoebe.

With info that the bird had been seen about 45 minutes prior, { YSHBH Constant } and that it had headed off towards the peninsula. Jean and I headed that way, and she spotted the first bird of the day: Eastern Kingbird. YB 197. We also crossed paths with fellow birder Isaac Grant aka the Loan Arranger. We spotted a few migrants, and finally a Blue-headed Vireo for YB 198. The Loan Arranger then noted that a lot of Warbling Vires were around as well, to which I replied I had not had one yet.

This elicited one of the most extreme YGTBFKM looks I have ever seen, followed by “They are all around you!” I sheepishly replied that my hearing is not so good, and that’s why I bird with Earic and Jean. He pointed up towards the canopy and I was able to see one; my preferred method of birding. YB 199.

With diminishing returns we headed back towards the Sumac stand and the Loan Arranger was the first of us to find and point out the now present Say’s Phoebe! Nice! YB 200 and NYS bird 389! A new bird for my New York State list and a vindication of my prior two misses.

Say, isn't that a Say's Phoebe?
To see this bird perched did not recall the many seen out west in multiple states. The red coloration of the lower belly was so sparse that one almost had to imagine it there. In certain poses with the light hitting it correctly, it was more visible, but I would not say 'obvious'.

It IS a Say's Phoebe!
Fortunately it posed graciously and allowed many photos. The photos highlighted the red much better than direct views. In flight it was also obvious that the tail was black and long; notably longer than expected for an Eastern Phoebe, and the wings were pale and allowed the light to pass through. Any doubt about the ID vanished.

A Say's Phoebe in Spring? You don't say!
Sadly, Jeff Critter had been there the day before and even noted an ‘off looking’ phoebe. He never made the jump to Says, though it crossed his mind. He couldn’t make it back until Sunday, but the bird was a no show for him and many others. They all had ample consolation with Hooded, Kentucky and many other good warblers. Jean and I did not go back that Sunday and missed the warbler bonanza.

We birded some more, noting Kestrels and a Merlin enjoying what I hope was a House Sparrow.

Have any house wine to go with the House Sparrow?
Jeez. Do I stare at you when you're eating?

Sunday Jean and I caught up to AvIan and stayed local perusing the pathetically dry water-hole {waterless-hole?} in Forest Park where Jean got a Scarlet Teenager. I did not get so lucky, but as the season progresses I hope to catch up on these misses.

We stopped for lunch and then tried Alley Pond a bit, but it was similarly dry and quiet. The Rusty Blackbirds were evident though, not always the case with these skulky birds. In the birdlessness, we did manage to see as many as four warbler species, with Black-throated Blue added for YB 201.

Its pronounced Paroola, NOT Parilla.

Palm Warbler
Jean eventually had to head into work, and I made my way home with a detour at Jones beach. Stopping at the West End boat basin, I saw Black-bellied Plovers and my first Piping Plovers for YB 202. {An interesting tidbit about Piping Plovers, is that recently it has been discovered that they have a faint musical song that they use to charm sandworms from the surf, just as if they were miniature cobras.

The reported Gullible Terns also put in an appearance, and returned to the exposed sand for a rest and YB 203. Finally, I tried for the Red-headed Woodpecker which was a no show when I was there, but my consolation was Brown Thrasher ending the day with YB 204

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Paroola, Parilla, it's still a warbler!