Thursday, January 3, 2013

Prospect Jan 3rd, good stuff still coming along

What we have been seeing the past few months or even the last few days never gets tired for any birder to see. Pine Siskins, White-winged Crossbills, Yellow -breasted Chat, American Pipit: take your pick, any bird mentioned here makes it a GOOD day in Prospect. Given these rare species, one never know when how often they will be seen  or the next time that bird appears. Take the crossbills : they irrupt only so often-- sometimes a decade or even longer between appearances. So enjoy them while they are here now. Even the Chat--a twice yearly migration bird-yet it's so furtive that they are hard to find in dense live brush , given their secretive nature. But now, with winter brush more subdued and flattened or expired, the bright yellow Chat is easily seen when it pops out.

Today, the best highlights are the AMERICAN PIPITs, here several days already on the lawns  of either the Nethermead or the Ballfields on the west side of Quaker Cemetery. First reported by Mike Yuan ( with Dennis H), 12 birds on the Nethermead lawn near the Quaker Cemetery this early morning, they made a trip to the Ballfields side before seen again on the Nethermead around 115 pm. 15 birds were spotted then. I was able to spot them very close, as did other birders.

On the south slope of Lookout Hill, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDs made appearances above the Wellhouse, this species  so tardy in the season for these parts. Its likely the latest ever record for this species. 

Not far from the Bluebirds, the still continuing YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT sticks to the slope near the Maryland Monument. Noreen McAuliffe who reported the discovery was also fortunate finding WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in the Vale of Cashmere. See her detailed report and list below.

Feeder action is heavy with PINE SISKIN and a hoard of other winter birds making a chaotic scene. It's a great spot to watch birds in a normally dull winter period ( but not in Prospect !).

With the sparrows, there are good numbers of species around but AMERICAN TREE SPARROW is in strong force now. I spotted 5 eating grit on the path junction  leading to the Lullwater cove platform, or overlook. This is along the southeast side of the Nethermead. AMTS are reported in other places as well; It looks like 7 today (assuming Mike and Dennis'  5 at Terrace Bridge is the same flock I saw later) . I think overall, this species is above average  in the park now( I have to check the records). And for sparrows, what about the EASTERN TOWHEE at the feeders, a bird that has stuck around for at least a month now in that general area of Breeze Hill.

Prospect Lake is partially frozen but RED-BREASTED MERGANSER with HOODEDS and some BUFFLEHEADS are in view; many gulls rested on the Lake which I tried to find something different with my bins but a scope is better , one I don't carry around at work; perhaps I should improvise and attached a mini to my hat.

The birding is good which makes winter not so dull.

From Keir Randall:

Prospect Park, Kings, US-NY
Jan 3, 2013 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
36 species (+1 other taxa) 
Canada Goose 75 
Mute Swan 5 
American Black Duck 1 
Mallard 18

American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 1 
Northern Shoveler 12 
Bufflehead 1 
Hooded Merganser 3 
Red-breasted Merganser 2 
Ruddy Duck 26 
Cooper's Hawk 1 
Red-tailed Hawk 1 
American Coot 4 
Ring-billed Gull 240 
Herring Gull 12 
Great Black-backed Gull 1

Mourning Dove 7 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 
Downy Woodpecker 3 
Blue Jay 12 
Black-capped Chickadee 12 
Tufted Titmouse 7 
White-breasted Nuthatch 2

Carolina Wren 1 
Eastern Bluebird 2-- 2 males on Lookout, path above Wellhouse towards L249 end.
American Robin 4 
European Starling 14

Fox Sparrow (Red) 3 
Song Sparrow 2 
White-throated Sparrow 30 
Northern Cardinal 13 
Red-winged Blackbird 3 
House Finch 26 
Pine Siskin 14-- 6 at feeders and 8+ in a sweetgum near Rick's Place 
American Goldfinch 9 
House Sparrow 20

From Mike Yuan :

With Dennis H.

Prospect Park, Kings, US-NY
Jan 3, 2013 7:20 AM - 8:35 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments:      <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.5.1
25 species

Ring-billed Gull  3
Herring Gull (American)  2
Rock Pigeon  5
Mourning Dove  9
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
American Robin  1
European Starling  12
American Pipit  12     Nethermead meadow across from Quaker Cemetery
American Tree Sparrow  5     Terrace Bridge
Fox Sparrow (Red)  2
Swamp Sparrow  1     West of Switchback trail
White-throated Sparrow  6
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  1
House Finch  11
Pine Siskin  3
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  3

 From Noreen McAuliffe:

Hi, Peter,
    When I was watching the AMERICAN PIPITS on the Nethermead, a Red-Tailed Hawk landed in a tree right above them and watched the pipits too.   The pipits were unconcerned, maybe banking on the red-tail being full on rat.  I hope they’re not so blasé if they see a Merlin or a Cooper’s Hawk.

    YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT near the Maryland Monument, to the west of the switchback trail, where the paved path coming up from Well House Drive comes together with the path from the monument in a Y shape.  The Chat started out on the uphill side of the path, near a patch of purple brambles, then flew over the trail to perch in a tree on the downhill side, then back to the purple brambles.  Its yellow throat/breast looked lovely in the winter light.  My chat conspiracy theory:  it’s the same bird that overwintered in Bryant Park last year, but this winter has discovered the charms of Brooklyn.

    Just in the small fenced planting below Maryland Monument, three sparrow species:  Song (2), Fox(1), and AMERICAN TREE(2).  There were other interesting-looking sparrows on the hill near the switchback trail that may have been more American Trees, but I didn’t get good looks at them.

    4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in the Vale of Cashmere, 1 adult male, 2 adult females, and what looked to be 1 immature (gray with streaks, with much smaller, less distinct wing bars).  They came down to eye level in the sweetgum that hangs low over the path (near Nellie’s Lawn), then flew down to the ice.

Take care, 

Prospect Park, Kings, US-NY
Jan 3, 2013 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
28 species

Red-tailed Hawk  2
Rock Pigeon  X
Mourning Dove  X
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  X
Downy Woodpecker  X
Blue Jay  X
Black-capped Chickadee  X
Tufted Titmouse  X
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
Winter Wren  1     Near Lookout switchback trail
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  15
European Starling  X
American Pipit  14     Nethermead
Yellow-breasted Chat  1     Observed west of Lookout Hill switchback trail
Eastern Towhee  1     Near Breeze Hill feeders
American Tree Sparrow  2     Fenced planting in Maryland Monument meadow
Fox Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  X
Dark-eyed Junco  20
Northern Cardinal  X
House Finch  X
White-winged Crossbill  4     in the Vale of Cashmere, 1 adult male, 2 adult females, and what looked to be 1 immature (gray with streaks, with much smaller, less distinct wing bars)
Pine Siskin  3     Breeze Hill feeders
American Goldfinch  4     1 in Vale, 3 Breeze Hill Feeders
House Sparrow  X