On this great American feast day, I will focus on eating and name the DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT as my bird for the day.(No, not the Turkey)
After seeing the perched COOPERS HAWK ( see my previous Metro Android posting) that cooperated nicely for my close cell phone shot, I turned to see the Cormorant in the Lullwater between the pink beaches of south Breeze Hill and the Peninsula. What I saw next amazed me. The cormorant dove and came up with a very large wide bodied fish, either a Bluegill or Black Crappie fish about 6 inches wide and swallowed the whole thing ! I could see the throat of the water bird enlarged considerably, a mass that I saw go down even into the body. Wow ! Talk about fast eating and huge portions ! ( Which I am sure many Americans will do the same today :) > )
( to get an idea of the fish shape, see link --> http://www.landbigfish.com/fish/fish.cfm?ID=14 )
or http://www.fishingreports.com/blog/black-crappie )
On my turkey trot to the park, a delightfully good morning, something to be thankful for ,able to enjoy the outdoors and the birds in them, particularly on a brisk sunny cold day with occasional wind gusts.
The hillside of south Lookout Hill was a feast for the eyes. And nothing so compelling than seeing , if not Wild Turkey which was missing today, then New York State's iconic bird, a bright blue male EASTERN BLUEBIRD ! I spotted the bluebird at the top of the dense weedy section along Well drive above the Magnolia grove and the green shipping containers. As I expected , the bluebird was eating, strangely , multi flora rose berries, the red delicacies a treat for the bluebird. It stuck around abit up there until later as I was heading home, where Klemens was waiting with his visiting Dad by the grove . No sign of the bluebird, likely because of the perched above adult COOPERS HAWK, that I have a drama story to tell soon.
The hillside here at lower Lookout Hill was terrific. Along with the bluebird, bright red NORTHERN CARDINALS and BLUE JAYS dominated the scenery, two great winter species that oftentimes are overlooked as too common species. ( Not to me, since I remembered them well from my childhood when they faithfully visited my backyard by the Bklyn Queens Expressway ). Along with those birds, expanding the range a little along this lower hill, also seen an unexpected female PURPLE FINCH , CAROLINA WREN, CEDAR WAXWING ( perched in the birch) , SWAMP SPARROW , SONG SPARROW ,HOUSE FINCHES and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES all filled the moments, making this site the day's festive centerpiece.
The newly put up feeders held mostly HOUSE FINCHES along with WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and Goldfinches. Its still early but certainly bird diversity will increase in the holidays ahead ( well ..every day is a holiday for the birds as winter cold tests their resolve.)
And lastly , though it was my first park day experience when I entered the park at Greenwood Ave, it was raptor clash. Just earlier, I surveyed the Lake , huddled along phragmites, a tightly knit NORTHERN SHOVELER & RUDDY DUCK flock sheltering from gusty winds almost hid from my gaze a drake WOOD DUCK .After the water views, I proceeded towards the West Island shelter when a low flying large raptor flew over me. It banked right and flew up to perch on a tall elm by my home park entrance.It was the adult COOPERS HAWK, this morning all over the place. But that large accipter ticked off the territorial adult RED-TAILED HAWK, charging hard for the accipiter, forcing it out of its perch. Turkey day dramatics !
Be sure to check out the lake. Its a beautiful setting , particularly today with ten gorgeous HOODED MERGANSERS gracing the waters , separate individuals joining together at Three Sisters Islands, something symbolic today as family and friends gather together to celebrate thankful expressions and divine prayers to the Good Lord.
Happy Thanksgiving to all,
date = 2013/11/28 site = Prospect Park Location = Feeders
Mourning Dove 1 White-throated Sparrow 5 Song Sparrow 1 House Finch 23 American Goldfinch 6 House Sparrow
date = 2013/11/28 site = Prospect Park Location = Lake
Pied-billed Grebe 2 Double-crested Cormorant Lullwater...my bird today ! Great Blue Heron Northern Shoveler ~135 Gadwall 4 yesterday Canada Goose 32 Wood Duck drake west isl cove , along phgmites Hooded Merganser 10, 3 drake, 9 hen Three Sisters island open water Ruddy Duck ~90 Mute Swan 6 Mallard Cooper's Hawk adult, in various places, first spotted at southwest woods Greenwood Ave Red-tailed Hawk charging at Coopers American Coot 5 Great Black-backed Gull 2 Ring-billed Gull Herring Gull Rock Pigeon
date = 2013/11/28 site = Prospect Park location = Lookout Hill lower slope/Well drive
Cooper's Hawk Rock Pigeon Downy Woodpecker 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Blue Jay 5 Carolina Wren LP 249 American Robin 3 Eastern Bluebird male, bright blue bird, eating rose berries European Starling 1 Cedar Waxwing 1, spotted by Klemens Swamp Sparrow 1 White-throated Sparrow 4 Song Sparrow 2 Northern Cardinal 8 Purple Finch female House Finch 9 American Goldfinch 4 House Sparrow
From Vinni Falci: