Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Summer Tanager, and the Birding's Easy

On Sunday May 5, I participated in the Queens County Bird Club’s Forest Park trip led by Jean LeConte Sparrow. We had to meet a little further on down on Park Lane due to construction, but right from the get go we got good birds. A Great Crested Flycatcher greeted us and was my first YB, and there was activity. It was slow, but there was activity.

Moving through the park we had nice looks at a Black-throated Green Warbler, and someone called out Canada, but it was in fact a Magnolia, a nice YB bird never the less. In the area were also several Blue-headed Vireos as well as numerous Yellow rumps.

Arriving at the water hole, we were disappointed to find little water, and few birds. Some that were present were Northern Parula { pronounced pah roo lah, not pa ril uh } and Black and White Warblers. Moving on a bit, we were summoned back to the water hole by a nice male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Mike Cooper, { or is it Mike Sharpie?} reported hearing Ovenbird which I could not hear, and we did not locate until we came upon one later on and was another YB.  At the wood chip pile, we had very dull Pine Warbler hanging out with an equally dull Warbling Vireo, and in the poor light made ID a challenge.

Another challenge we had was a Prairie Warbler. All of us, even me, could hear it singing, but no one was sure where it was nor could spot it. We spent a lot of time trying, and while much of the group ha already moved on, I together with a few others tried a bit more. I played a call, and it seemed that it did not respond. But then someone noticed movement in the multiflora rose right in front of us, and dismissed it as a ‘dark’ bird, catbird, etc.

Sure enough though, that dark bird was the Prairie, who had somehow managed to sneak up on us. With the ID confirmed I contacted the others for them to return and get a look of their own. 

Prairie Warbler
On our way back to the water hole we crossed over the railroad tracks and from the bridge added Baltimore Oriole, YB, and then a House Wren which had a nest in a street light of all places.

At this point, with the birding somewhat slow, some of the group went back to the water hole, while yours truly together with Arlene Rails, John Gaggleogeese, Nancy Trogan, Steve Tanager, and Stacy & Kurt Meyer's-Friarbird went off to Jamaica Bay in an attempt at the reported Summer Tanager.

On the way, we spied two Monk Parakeets fly by in Howard Beach for a nice addition to the day’s list, stopped for a tasty lunch at Gino’s, and then proceeded to the park.

We made a bee line for the area where the Tanager had bee reported. Along the way we heard many a Catbird singing an arguably similar sounding song, and kept our fingers crossed. For many present, this would be a life bird, and for me a much sought after bird for NY as I had not seen one here for some time. Is it silly that I want to see birds in NYS as well, even if I had seen them on a trip elsewhere that year? Of course it is. But silly is fun, and you aren’t against fun are you?

In the gardens we heard many White-eyed Vireos, and what appeared to be a family group foraging together. Nice birds with a distinctive and a bit weird song.

White-eyed Vireo
Eventually, we ended up in the right area and then the bird flew past Stacey Meyer's-Friarbird and she called our attention to it!  You can’t look everywhere at once, so more eyes help! What a gorgeous bird. YB! 

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager
We continued on to the north marsh, and there we scanned the low tide marsh, hoping for Little Blue Heron or Clapper Rail or?  So what do we see? Not one but two of my former nemesis bird - Tricolored Herons! In another example of the Universal Birding Laws the Law of Ironic Abundance played out much to my chagrin and the delight of those present. I am certain the Herons will be at my feeders soon. 

Tricolored Heron
We back tracked to get to the south marsh. It would have been nice to just continue on, but the National Park Service is still studying what to do with the hole left by super-storm Sandy. Filling it in and restoring the pond would be too easy, make too much sense, and be logical. Too bad the National Parks service does not possess logic and common sense. Just imagine if they were working in the emergency room. The ‘patient’ is left to die while they think about it.

At the south marsh we did find a Little Blue Heron, which was a nice cap to the day.

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