Monday, February 9, 2015
Snowy afternoon on Randall's Island
The weather forecast for Saturday was pretty nice, so I went off to Randall's Island to look for the American Pipit that had been reported at the Little Hell Gate salt marsh a couple of days previous.
The paths were in even worse shape than I had expected, but I slogged through the snow and ice. As I crossed the footbridge, I was visited by a very confiding Mockingbird, who popped up to forage several times as I crossed.
Then it began to snow. It snowed, thick and fast, for the next hour and a half.
On the southeast corner of the marsh, the path runs partly under the approach roadway for the actual Hell Gate Bridge. There, s mixed flock of sparrows foraged on a pile of sand, occasionally flushing to the bushes at the edge of the marsh.
The flock was about half Juncos, and most the rest were White-Throated sparrow. There were three or four American Tree Sparrows, a couple of Song Sparrows, and a Swamp Sparrow. Associating loosely with the sparrows were a pair of Cardinals, and a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.
Yellow-Rumped Warblers are known to winter at this latitude, and in fact eBird doesn't flag winter reports of them as unusual. But I always wonder what such a bird is thinking:
"New York will be balmy, he said. Global warming, he said. Probably never get much below freezing, he said. Hardly any snow these days, he said. That moron. And I believed him. I gotta get a new travel agent."
Anyway, after watching the flock for a while--the warbler always flushed to a tree on the opposite side of the road from the bushes the sparrows went to; I have no idea where the Cardinals went--I moved on up the northeast shore. The paths were actually sholveled there--probably has to do with the golf center and Icahn Stadium being along that stretch.
A flock of a hundred or so Canada Geese was swimming up the river in a long loose line. Snow was accumulating on their backs.
It was tempting to laugh about the silly geese not seeking shelter or even flapping to get the snow off. But then I thought, what exactly was I doing, anyway?