Sunday, April 19, 2015

Waylaid by warblers (and a ruby-crowned kinglet) in Prospect Park

What a splendid Spring weekend in NYC!
As usual, click on any picture for a better look

Saturday was Opening Day at the club; unfortunately although I took my camera, I forgot to put a card in, so no pictures. As I said over on Facebook, to the great amusement of people who know me and my picture-taking habits, 

"Forget trees falling in forests. If I went for a paddle, and there wasn't a card in my camera, DID I REALLY GO FOR A PADDLE???"

I think other people who came paddling with me will vouch for the fact that I really did go for a paddle, but I'm sorry I can't share pictures because it was a gorgeous day, we had a massive squad turn out to go out (I swear I counted thirty of us although the roster said twenty-seven), the Canarsie Pol ospreys are back, the CCNY Concrete Canoe Team is back in training and they were out practicing, there was a line of Lasers all rigged and ready to go when we got back, Patrick was sailing his Goat Island skiff around, tiny tug Emily and her crew were working on the slips at Diamond Point, and there was a purple, blue and yellow cake at the potluck. So many things to take pictures of and no card, boo. Wonderful day at the club though - I do enjoy the quiet of the bay in winter but it's always exciting watching things start to stir here at the start of the season. Great seeing all the folks back at the club (also great eating all of their good food, of course).

Today I was going to stay home and try to get the apartment looking a little more civilized; it's budget season at work, and when work gets busy, my housekeeping, which never has been and never will be something I'm particularly proud of, really slides. I did get a little done but in the end I decided it was too nice a day to spend entirely on cleaning house and I decided to go see if I could find any nice ducks who wanted to have their pictures taken in Prospect Park.

I didn't, because I got waylaid by warblers instead! I'd started my walk over by the Audubon Center. There were no ducks there, because there was a grand Earth Day concert going on on the steps featuring two young men leading an orchestra of children playing drums and vuvuzuelas they'd all made for themselves, while the nearby shore was lined with young anglers trying their luck with the fishing rods that were available to borrow.

I took a few pictures there, then walked on down the Lullwater towards the lake in search of ducks.

As I came out from under the Terrace Bridge, I spotted two birdwatchers (instantly recognizable by their field glasses and zoom lenses, much better than mine) who were intent on something. I looked to see what had their attention and saw it instantly - it was this gorgeous little brilliant yellow bird with darker wings, just beautiful. 

They told me it was a Prothonotary Warbler and that it was not usually seen in this area, being more of a southeastern bird - this one must have overshot its migration. Sad for the bird, I guess, since there won't be a lot of lady Prothonotary Warblers up here to impress (although in a post-posting update, my birder friend Prof. M just told me that she was out birding in Prospect Park today too and she saw 2 of these birds, and also that when they do end up here, they will figure it out and backtrack to their proper breeding grounds), but what a treat.

There were more birders across the way, the two who'd been looking at the Prothonotary told me they were watching a Yellow-throated Warbler, which is also considered unusual for the area. I caught a glimpse of that one but our little yellow bird was just hanging out in our area so I ended up just staying there for a bit. Eventually I did decide to move on; I made it as far as up on top of the bridge I'd just been standing next to when I spotted a couple more cute little bird, who turned out to be a yellow-rumped warbler - not unusual, from what I see in the All About Birds site run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (very nice site!), but a striking little guy, and a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, who was a very tidy-looking little bird with just a spot of scarlet at the back of his head, which was a bit of the red crown that the site says they will show off when they're singing. I spent quite a while enjoying watching them and trying to get pictures (fast-moving little guys, I got a few good shots and then a whole lot of empty branches where there had been a bird a split-second earlier).

There was still plenty of daylight left when I was ready to move on from there, but I'd gotten a little splinter that just doesn't want to come out in the ball of my foot a couple of days ago and although I'd thought maybe it was gone when I got up this morning, it wasn't, and it was starting to complain, so I decided to save the ducks for another day and head for home. 

Thoroughly enjoyed being waylaid by warblers!


LauraEhlers said...

Love the bird pics. Not sure I have them here.Your picture of the birdwatchers with their lenses pointing upward is cracking me up. I wonder what the warblers think??

bonnie said...

I was happy to get the birdwatchers - that level of intense watching doesn't always happen, I was taking pictures of the little yellow guy when I looked over and saw it. Took 3 shots - this was the 1st, by the 2nd one they were already past the moment.

I posted it on the Brooklyn Bird Club's FB page and the group owner said, "That has got to be a Prothonotary Warbler just outside the picture frame. That kind of focus among birders is a defining field mark." Made me laugh.

I think there are warblers all over the country, although we get more than our fair share here in the East. They're little things, though, and move pretty fast. I got the pictures of all 3 birds right in the same area, and it was the birders that made me stop and pay attention. I think that if they hadn't been there, I would've cruised right on by without seeing a thing.

You would definitely have the yellow-rumped warbler in Illinois, their range is almost the entire continent. I don't think I'd ever seen one before yesterday - but then yesterday I was really paying attention, whereas ordinarily I might just think it was a sparrow and not look twice.