Sunday, May 13, 2012

Alley Pond Park

This morning I headed to Alley Pond Park in Queens for the first time since i had to be in that area anyway for Mother's day festivities.  I got to the park at around 6:45 AM and wandered past the ponds and along the trails until 9 AM.  While I was not as successful as I was hoping (mostly due to the significant leaf coverage and my inability to ID warbler calls) I photographed a few new species and had a nice morning hike.

The first new species I came across was the Red-eyed Vireo (below) which was at about eye level on a trail that unfortunately was not being touched by the sun yet which made for a slow shutter speed and noisy, not-so-sharp image.

The next bird I got nice looks at was the ubiquitous Yellow Warbler which posed nicely but was nothing terribly captivating.

Shortly after leaving the Yellow Warbler I was stopped in my tracks by the buzzing song of the Northern Parula (though I admit I had to ask a birder later on what species I'd photographed).  The Parula, it turned out, was right in front of me - a little lower than eye level actively calling out.  Again the lighting was awful and the images I got were not ideal but good for a new species.

I heard several species of Warbler - Tennessee and Canada to name two.  A few Thrushes dotted the trails and were wary of me and Baltimore Orioles were busy squabbling with one another.  As I made my way out of the forest and back toward the parking lot I saw a flash of color above me.  A female American Redstart wouldn't cooperate, so I was stuck with this:

For those of you interested in how I get my photos from my camera to the web, I import them using Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom where I can easily process them and catalog them.  Check it out here:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Manorville Birds

Yellow Warbler

This morning I had to conduct a site visit at a defunct nursery which will soon be a new subdivision.  I enjoy this part of my job as I'm often one of the last people to see a property in it's "natural state" before it's developed.  It's bittersweet of course, but still nice.  In this case, 1/2 of the property will be given to the Town for Open Space so it's not a total loss.

Chipping Sparrows

During my inspection I saw a decent variety of birds.  Yellow Warblers (including some with nesting material), Orchard Orioles, Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrows, House Finches and others.  Here are a few photos from this morning.

Pair of House Finches

Yellow Warbler with Nesting material

I photographed these birds with my Nikon D300s which you can check out here:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Prairie Warblers Abound

On Friday between 1 and 2 PM I went on an easy hike through the Woods in Ridge off the northern portion of Wading River Hollow Road (North of Route 25, just East of WLNY-TV).  I wasn't expecting much of anything but had some time on my lunch hour and wanted to explore.  The habitat in this area is quite unique as it is made up almost entirely of bayberry shrubs.  The Pine Barrens, naturally are dominated by pitch pine trees, but there must have been a fire at some point and the sandy soils and sunshine allowed the bayberry shrubs to dominate everything else.  There of course are pitch pines, though they are generally 5-10 feet in height (as opposed to the 40 or 50 foot trees in older forests).  This habitat makes it really easy to find birds, and so did the unmistakeable call of the Prairie Warbler.

Unfortunately for me, this was the only real interesting bird in the area.  I returned Saturday morning with poor lighting and found the same - lots of prairie warblers but nothing else of real interest.   I spotted a couple Eastern Kingbirds, a Brown Thrasher, some Yellow-rumped Warblers, even a pair of Mallards who came in to check out the nearby pond and who seemed quite disappointed that it was virtually dry.  Anyway, that's all there is to report.  Despite my eternal optimism every summer, I always fail to find multiple species of warbler in any one spot and have a lot of birds to add to my photography list.

If you like warblers like me - and have a tough time telling them all apart (like most people) this book will be a huge help: