Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
It wasnt hard to find the barred owl that has been hanging out near Sparrow Rock. It was pretty well hidden but from some angles you could get a view. As it dozed and preened I searched the area for owl sign. After some hour of searching I had found 4 pellets ranging from a small white one to one that was almost completely bones. The large, wet one caught my attention. It was a big, fresh pellet not in the area of the main barred but from another large owl. From there I methodically searched every single pine tree in the Great Lawn area. Near sunset I found a familiar shape lurking in the cover of some evergreens. There's nothing like the feeling of discovering an owl. As I alerted some respectful owl watchers to its location, the bird roused from its slumber. After sunset we had the pleasure of following it as it went out hunting along the East Drive.
In the contest between sparrow and kestrel, the kestrel mostly wins. But blue jays are a pretty even match. And while the kestrel has a formidable arsenal, the blue jay's bill makes it a potentially fatal adversary. Knowing this, these jays tried to move this kestrel off his kill. This bird eventually flew out to the southwest and I lost it somewhere over 104th St. The fact that it was bringing prey back to its nest is an interesting piece of info. Ill try to follow up on it.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Monday, December 03, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
It has been a few months since I last visited Inwood and was curious to see how it had fared Sandy's wrath. Just as I entered the Park on Dyckman, there was a large eagle over the West Side Highway. It wheeled above me with two ringed billed gulls in tow. It continued on South over the West Side Highway. Shortly, another adult bald eagle whizzed past. I wondered if this was why there were no geese anywhere to be found. In fact, there was absolutely no bird song or any sightings at all except an adult RTH fly by. After almost 1 hour of walking through the Park, I heard a yellow shafted flicker and his chirruping call. As I sought it out in the upper story of a dead tree, the adult RTH dove in with reckless abandon, but missed the woodpecker. I could hear the scritching noise of its talons raking into bark. It was a cool scene but had my camera away then. As for Storm damage, the Park was moderately affected with sick large trees coming down and taking neighboring healthy ones with them. One interesting difference than in other Parks was that the trees fell Southwest-ward. I cant account for why this is the opposite North-easterly direction the trees fell in places like Central Park or Croton Point. I pondered this as I left the Park. Crossing by the mudflats, I saw some birds scatter. There was just time to catch this juvenile Cooper's hawking through. As it sallied on towards the Boathouse, I noticed that distinctive "churrr" of a Kingfisher. By the Ranger station this Belted Kingfisher was making its displeasure with the hawk known. Finally at Broadway Bridge, some 2000 starlings were coming home to roost. And waiting for them was you know who.
Friday, November 23, 2012
It was a really great day of birding in Central Park today. Lots of raptors to be found in all parts of the Park. @Tennis Courts: 12 Turkey Vultures, 1 adult RTH, 1 juvy RTH and 1 adult AMKE. @Reservoir had 2 coots and dozen or so ruddys. @Belvedere Castle had 1 adult Cooper's, 1 juvy RTH and a brown thrasher. @ the Ramble had 1 adult RTH, 1 adult Cooper's and one peregrine (flyby). The highlights of the day were the 3 owls I was able to locate. I started with one of the Barred Owls, then heard a Great Horned Owl had been found. While watching it coughed up a pellet, which I retrieved and dissected to reveal the bones of a Norway rat. Last but defintely not least this Norther Saw-whet. Here he is coughing up a pellet in the dark! The final highlight were a few of the red bats that were flitting about.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
It's been almost a year since I visited Croton and wanted to see how it fared during Sandy. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I found most of my wish list. Although I didnt actually see the coyote, there were absolutely no ducks and these coyote tracks in the sand. I also found this downy, this kingfisher, bald eagle, and this adult male Cooper's Hawk. The surprise of the day was this juvenile osprey. I also found this kestrel hunting over the Cap, and what I think are white-winged crossbills. Storm damage to the owl sanctuary was bad, but I was happy to see both GHOs at flyout. Hopefully the screechys did just as well.