Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall migration

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Papa Cardinal
It's tough being a Cardinal papa.

The Fall migration proceeded apace this weekend. I had 32 species in Central Park on Saturday, including eight warblers (Bay-breasted Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-White Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, and Chestnut-sided Warbler) and some other migrants, such as several Brown Thrashers and a couple of Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Chestnut-Sided Warbler juvenile

Sunday was a bit slower, only 25 species, but one was a Yellow-Throated Vireo, my first of the year (and 177th species in the county).

There are still resident birds finishing up their breeding seasons, as well, like the Cardinal at the top of this post. I spotted a juvenile Cardinal begging food in the big willow at the Upper Lobe; papa came to feed him, then spotted me and decided I needed a good looking-at. He looked pretty worn out.

Raptor migration is under way. Someone showed me a nice photo of a juvenile Bald Eagle who had flown over the Ramble, and a lot of hawks have been seen. I'm told it's going to be a good week for Broad-Winged Hawks passing through--I hope I can get out somewhere I can see some.

Sunday morning, I spotted a bunch of Gadwalls on Turtle Pond. It took me a while to be sure what I was seeing, since they seemed to be in various stages of molt.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Gadwall, Turtle Pond
Gadwall on Turtle Pond

This weekend's edition of "things I've never seen before" was a red-Tailed Hawk attacking a Black-Crowned Night Heron. I saw the heron fly into a tree near Hernshead on the west side of Central Park Lake. Some 15 seconds later, the hawk flew in and made what looked to me like a pretty serious pass at the heron, who dropped out of the tree and flew low across the lake making a sound I cannot find words to describe. The ducks on the lake were quite startled.  The hawk moved north, but came back to fly around the lake a few minutes later.

I don't know what that was all about. A heron is insanely large to be prey for a Red-Tailed Hawk. Maybe it was some kind of personal grudge.

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