Sunday, February 28, 2016

weekend brief notes

A busy weekend for me leading the Bird Club day Saturday trip that netted us 18 species duck, 10 at Bush Terminal park hilighted by 58 Lesser Scaup and continuing hen COMMON GOLDENEYE.

Of great interest at Bush and my hope we find a nest, two COMMON RAVENS flew low over us giving the group a thrill, but one was carrying nesting material at Bush.

Yesterday around 1037, a BLACK VULTURE was seen fling over the Prospect ballfields ,spotted by Steve Nanz. Sometime ultra rarity years ago, its now expected annually as this species dramatically expanded its northward range.

Today, birdtrax Ebird has reported BLACKHEADED GULL at Prospect much longer will this rare gull stick it out? A Matter of time.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

day of the small gull

Gus Keri on his facebook page today showed two small gull species that i don't ever recalled happening the same day in Prospect Lake. One is the lingering but erratic BLACKHEADED GULL; the other is a common species on our coast but rare for the park : BONAPARTES GULL.

Both species can be separated by their color of tbeir bills: Red for the Blackheaded,black for the Bonapartes.You can see Gus' photo and video of the Bonys on his facebook page

Also of interest is two merganser species. The duo of HOODED was joined by RED BREASTED, the latter quite uncommon maybe seen twice yearly here..

So, the coast comes to Prospect Lake. A good day for Gus.

Update : Gus Keri's checklist with photos

2016 Birdathon theme...

the second Saturday of May is typically Brooklyn's celebratory day.

Monday, February 22, 2016

prospect (ive) bird migration

Perhaps we are in the very early stage of spring migration for passerines even though the official equinox day is still a month away. Two species reported today , CEDAR WAXWING and COMMON GRACKLE are around. The waxwings were in two flocks, one bathing in the Vale of Cashmere, whereas the grackles are more dispersed but just a few birds .

Both reports came from Linda Ewing and Eni Falci.
Birdtrax << ~~ notes. BLACKHEADED GULL & CHIPPING SPARROW also in the park per Bobbi Manian & Karen O' Hearn.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

a false spring day in Prospect

The REDWINGED BLACKBIRDs were fooled today, singing away  while a lone COMMON GRACKLE chipped at West Island. Fellas,it's still only mid winter.

A gorgeous day and winter birds were active. A mass of gulls were on the lake ice,nothing special though plenty to see regarding numbers and longer scope scan. Beyond the park limits,  two PEREGRINE FALCONS perched midway up the BBGarden Fire communications tower. On the lake, I see a Drake BUFFLEHEAD by Three sisters Islands.

It may not be long off with this abnormal weather that the first spring birds will head around our corner.

scouting tour

Yesterday I scouted areas along the west coast Brooklyn for an upcoming trip that included a first stop at Bush Terminal Park and the Army Terminal. For the date , a fine list on my off day.

When I arrived and passed thru the main gate of Bush, I heard croaking. The loud guttural call of the COMMON RAVEN came from the large corvid flying zigzag over the concrete pier. A pretty close bird and a great start to my tour.Immediately after, when I scanned the waters ,I found the hen COMMON GOLDENEYE at the end of the concrete pier (with the walkway path). Also noted were two Drake GREATER SCAUP in their brightness in the Inlet ( or my denotation inlet #2).

When I walked the concrete pier, another unexpected though common water winter species. Inside the outer impoundment pool, a single HORNED GREBE took advantage of the sparse duck population there. And why? Because the GADWALLS and some WIGEONS were on the rock jetty walls. The Gadwalls camouflaged so well with the similar colored rocks and seaweed that I didn't spot them right away. I included a digiscope shot below of the Gadalls, a nice pose of the cooperative couple in their best camouflage.

Further on, to the West Cove, the scaup and BUFFLEHEADS take center stage. A count of 74 LESSER SCAUP and 88 BUFFLEHEADS  with at least 12 GREATER SCAUP crowded the cove. Gulls were all around but nothing special. I left Bush Terminal with ten species duck,a good number for a little spot of 60 acres.

The Army Terminal pier 4 with crowded car park ( for the ferry) didn't reveal much water life. But I guess the GREATER SCAUP dominated the site with 105 birds seen.So they got this spot with Lessers having Bush dominance.

Afterwards, when I stopped by Owls Head on my time constrained schedule, I found one species of note.I hope the PURPLE SANDPIPERS stick around, the 5 I saw on the jetty wall protecting shore path south of the Veterans Pier (68th st),at the seventh bench mark. There were no issues of disquise as the bird were right below me, a fantastic view of the sandpipers just 15 feet away, above crashing waves hitting the boulders they fed on.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jamaica bay West Pond

Good news regarding the JBWR West pond for breac h repair and habitat restoration. Decision handed down. See the link

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BBC Meeting tonight

Tonite is a Brooklyn Bird Club event, a gallery of members' bird photographs. Its at the Grand Army Plaza Great Library  conference room  --to the left after the main entrance.

See details here

Monday, February 15, 2016

snowflakes falling

When I got out finally into Prospect after a lazy morning but things to do anyway, it was snowing. It's hard to bird even though its a beautiful time to enjoy falling snow. Furthermore it's harder to see distant stuff and optics get covered . Nevertheless on this last day of the count, even an hour is good enough.

The bird of the day was one I didn't see.Kathy Toomey gets credit for that ,seeing the usual but erratic BLACK HEADED GULL in western Prospect Lake earlier. I went out for that bird but didn't see the rare gull, a trait this bird prefers now with short visits nowadays.

I did see loads of gulls all in one place ,a tight knit mass in the lake center. Nothing unusual but the same big three of Ringbill,Herring and several Greater Black backed .

There is one new bird I can claim.The species hasn't been reported much this winter, but I would take seeing a SWAMP SPARROW; it lingered with 7 WHITE THROATED  and one SONG SPARROW at West Island benches.

Great Backyard Bird Count Checklist – Prospect Park--Prospect Lake, New York – Mon Feb 15, 2016 – 14 species (+2 other taxa)

Blck headed gull usual place prospect lake west per Kathy

GBBC eNews: Halftime Report

Sunday, February 14, 2016

a cold stroll

How cold was it? Cold enough that when I took my cheap plastic frame sunglasses off after my exit from Bush Terminal Park, they snapped in half! A cold walk to escape the home after winds abated just to get out and enjoy some sun. And the decision did get me seeing birds.Much weren't around but one or two desirable species helped get the mind to forgetting frigid cold.

Today its a different route and different places.Although starting pretty late in the day, I hurried along to get much birding done before the  4 o'clock closures. First its a Greenwood Cemetery tour. From the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance to the Fourth ave exit,I only saw two species.Just robins the first but the second more interesting for its number at this time of year that Ebird flagged for high number of CEDAR WAXWINGS. I found the flock of 44 birds in the large sweetgum overlooking the Crescent water. Their yellow bellys were outstanding, a species I think underappreciated for their sleek beauty of subtle hues of brown grays,yellow and black eye lines. It may be a high number of Cedar Waxwings perhaps in a migratory pattern or they are in a nomadic movement, likely the latter in food search during a hard winter. A wonderful species to enjoy.

Next I hurried to Bush Terminal Park with little time to spare.Arriving there 3:25,I moved quickly. The usual variety of wigeons,gadwalls ,buffleheads and lesser scaup were noted.But one duck flushed from the end of the path at West cove is a good one: COMMON GOLDENEYE. It was a breeding hen with a yellow tipped bill.
I was glad to see that duck.When I turned around next, I watched the by now resident COMMON RAVEN fly above the edge of the ballfields, another quality winter bird.

A warming trend in the coming week, much to the appreciation of many glad to see the polar vortex shoo away.

Great Backyard Bird Count Checklist – Bush Terminal Piers Park, New York – Sun Feb 14, 2016 – 14 species

Great Backyard Bird Count Checklist – Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York – Sun Feb 14, 2016 – 2 species

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count Checklist – Prospect Park, New York – Sat Feb 13, 2016 – 24 species

Baby its cold out there!

Frigid temperatures impacted not only bird activity but also my double gloved hands. Even with that protection the bone chilling gusty winds had much effect birding.I braved the cold after a morning of home errands and pursued my daily streak of counting for the Great Backyard Bird Count.

There isn't much to say on my walk but note the feeders having the most say. First it was the RED TAILED HAWK,then those winter hardy AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES ravishing the thistle of gold.

As I approached the feeders ,one of the RED TAILED s flew over me from behind and buzzed the feeders, a low fly in acting like some accipiter:just ten feet over the feeders in an audacious maneuver! The RTHA then kept going and banked left over the Lullwater.Later I found the big hawk perched by Maryland Monument ,momentarily joined by a second RTHA before that bird flew southeast. For a polar vortex day, I would appreciate that scenery.

Thistle of gold. When I refilled the feeders, you cannot believe the birds delight,especially the GOLDFINCHES--imagine counting 22 of them on that thistle feeder ,smothering the feeder! With cold weather prospects far and few, the precious moments truly count.( and the seed !)

A frozen lake yield little despite more open water.The gusty winds kept water birds out of those center openings.

Stay warm

Friday, February 12, 2016

GBBC the first day Prospect

A late start for me - in fact noon- to catch up my winks after a hard work week. But blame also the frigid cold that keeps the covers on me longer. Nevertheless someone has to do a count to kick off the Great Backyard Count first day. For the short duration that even my fingers were very cold thru my double layered gloves, there were a few unexpected surprises that I was delighted in during my Prospect count.

First a stop at the lake and of course with frigid air , a frozen lake. Just the small section along the western shore remained open and in here for best bird was the hen AMERICAN WIGEON. Just six NORTHERN SHOVELERS left from the big influx in December, and that number paled with all the MALLARDS around them and add as well the 30 + COOTS.

Of course in a way the term great backyard sort of focuses on feeders. So a march to the Prospect feeders to find what's humming there. It was quite active and most outstanding were the AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. 24 GOLDFINCHES counted and most amusing was 17 of them on the main thistle feeder. Later they were joined by the colorful EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH which GBBC does have listed on the count form. Otherwise the usual assortment of birds with ten REDWINGED BLACKBIRDS coming in to raid the feeders.A single RED BELLIED WOODPECKER crashed the party.

Further into my count walk, the surprises come. Scene of the hilights took place around and in the Lily Pool area. After crossing the Lullwater bridge, I looked across the Boathouse pond and found a few birds drinking crucial water from the ice edge. With a single Robin, two CEDAR WAXWINGS sipped along; they took off and three more WAXWINGS joined in an upward flight. I later found the five in the Lily Pool viewed from the back  new platform. A great view with these WAXWINGS in vibrant color landing and alighting on the ice. I was glad to see this species, particularly during drab February. And then another surprise, a bird from my right of the platform ,lands near the WAXWINGS and its a HERMIT THRUSH. Good bird for now.

AMERICAN ROBIN , a hardy winter species prominently display themselves at east Nethermead. At least 24 rummaging thru the leaf clutter ,then several going unto the lawn near Binnen Pool.

Backtracking towards the East wood arch, a woodpecker flew over me towards the East wood building.The bird turned out to be a YELLOW BELLIED SAPSUCKER. I ventured for a closer look and a small bird flying over me got my attention; I searched for it along the path into the east wood building. That small bird I found becomes an unexpected RUBY CROWNED KINGLET , a scarce winter visitor perhaps getting a head spring start.

Cold fingers and cold toes doesnt become much of a nuisance with nice birds to overcome the frigid challenges. It will be brutal the next two days so be smart if you venture outside. Double layers ,heavy wool socks and covering up exposed skin is a must. Seek shelter and carry those hand warmers. Recognize symptoms of frostbite and be safe.

My list

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How Prospect Park Lost Its Owls: On the Demise of Eastern-Screech Owls in Prospect Park - Park Slope Stoop

Shared via Shareaholic

Before a big freeze

BLACK HEADEAD GULL continues to make excursions into Prospect Lake. A midafternoon trendsetter with brief visits, it was spotted by Kathy Toomey around 3.

Also spotted by Kathy were two ducks I reported the past few days: HOODED MERGANSER and the hen BUFFLEHEAD . As I was passing the west shore,I spotted the hen AMERICAN WIGEON . Single birds but some diversity on open water. Big arctic chill coming this weekend.

Date: February 10, 2016 at 8:36:32 PM EST
To: Kathleentoomey
Subject: eBird Report - Prospect Park, Feb 10, 2016
Prospect Park, Kings, New York, US
Feb 10, 2016 1:50 PM - 4:20 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     The Lake and the Feeders
29 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose  37
Mute Swan  6
American Wigeon  1
American Black Duck  4
Mallard  66
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid)  1
Northern Shoveler  5
Bufflehead  1
Hooded Merganser  1
Ruddy Duck  20
American Coot  35
Black-headed Gull  1     Continuing, close to wooden shelter that's just up from West Island
Ring-billed Gull  200
Herring Gull  10
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  5
Blue Jay  1
Black-capped Chickadee  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
White-throated Sparrow  12
Song Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  9
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  30

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (


This Friday begins the Great Backyard Bird Count. (GBBC),  a citizien science event in its own right, but a fun relaxing activity event. Data entered thru Ebird Cornell automatically enters into GBBC or likewise. From your backyard to an outdoor adventure, all sightings count regardless the time alotted.

HOME still here

The HOODED MERGANSER stuck around this morning seen along the western shoreline of Prospect Lake. Yesterday when I was heading Home ;) , I checked the west Island phragmite cove and found the HOODED there along the reeds before it took off for the Peninsula side.

A nice species as snow flurries fall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Upcoming Brooklyn Bird Club meetings

There's some really good topics coming up on the docket, worthy to attend and support the club's effort to entertain its family of birders and guests.

Check out the topics and schedules.First a members gallery on Feb 16th to get us ready for the spring...

Home to Buff

A drake HOODED MERGANSER (HOME) appeared this morning on Prospect Lake , staying within the confines of the Peninsula cove at the meadow side.There it dove several times along the phragmites and occasionally joined the RUDDY DUCK flock nearby.

Today's HOME appearance followed up yesterday's BUFFLEHEAD (BUFF) hen sighting in the same general area but more to the middle off the Peninsula thumb.

At least even as February is quiet for Prospect , a few nice sightings by uncommon ducks make it noteworthy birding.


Drake H OODED MERGANSER Prospect Lake along Peninsula mead shore towards thumb

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fwd: Canvasback Hen Photo

Sundays sighting photo'd by Marc Brawer

Sent from my MetroPCS 4G Wireless Phone

-------- Original message --------
From: Marc Brawer <>
Date:02/07/2016 7:48 PM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Canvasback Hen Photo

Canvasback hen from Prospect Park today

The Politics Of Invasive Species | Rodale's Organic Life

The right plants = more birds + diversity + critical habitat needs

Bush Terminal /Army Terminal peir posts from Ebird Yahoo

15819Bush Terminal Park and Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier Feb 7

Expand Messages
  • marisawohl
    Feb 7 4:50 PM
    A walk around Bush Terminal Park early this afternoon yielded expected winter waterfowl species: mallard, American wigeon, bufflehead, red breasted merganser, greater scaup, ruddy duck, gadwall, Canada geese, brant, ring billed gull, herring gull.  Other birders reported horned grebe and female goldeneye. I did not see the glaucous or black headed gulls recently spotted along this part of the Brooklyn waterfront.  Landbirds included peregrine falcon, fish crow, song sparrow and starling.

    At Brooklyn Army Terminal I saw the best bird of day: a RED NECKED GREBE off the end of the pier on the south side that swam towards the Owls Head water treatment plant.  The other addition was a house sparrow.


  • 15820Re: [ebirdsnyc] Bush Terminal Park and Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier Feb 7

    Expand Messages
    • Matthew Wills
      Feb 7 5:06 PM
      Following up on Marisa's post:

      I was at Bush Terminal this afternoon as well. The Common Goldeneye and Glaucous Gull were seen by several of us. The Glaucous was bathing near the off-shore rocks and pilings before it flew off towards the south about 3:30pm. Two Common Ravens were spotted, as well as a dead Common Loon on the rocks.

      Backyard & Beyond

      -----Original Message-----

  • 15820Re: [ebirdsnyc] Bush Terminal Park and Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier Feb 7

    Expand Messages
    • Matthew Wills
      Feb 7 5:06 PM
      Following up on Marisa's post:

      I was at Bush Terminal this afternoon as well. The Common Goldeneye and Glaucous Gull were seen by several of us. The Glaucous was bathing near the off-shore rocks and pilings before it flew off towards the south about 3:30pm. Two Common Ravens were spotted, as well as a dead Common Loon on the rocks.

      Backyard & Beyond

      -----Original Message-----

Two Black headed Gulls post

from NYS Birds listserve

« Newer  |  Older »
Subject: Kings County Black-headed Gull +
Date: Sun Feb 7 2016 21:19 pm
From: sean AT
I spent two hours gulling in Prospect Park this afternoon. The first-winter

Black-headed Gull showed itself at 2:15pm. Given Rob Bate's recent

discovery of an adult BHGU recently at Bush Terminal and the first-winter

BHGU coming in to the evening roost at Brooklyn Bridge Park we can safely

say there are at least two currently in Brooklyn.

This afternoon's bird lifted off soaring high and drifting SE at 2:47.

There is still a tremendous amount we don't know about the daily movement

of gulls in the NYC area.

Other good species for the date and location viewed from the lakeshore

included a beautiful female Canvasback, a lone Turkey Vulture soaring west

over Lookout Hill and a female American Wigeon.

Ebird checklist with photos can be viewed here;

Good birding,

Sean Sime

Brooklyn, NY
- See more at:

Just in case we ever get one around here.....

Super sunday

If you are thinking about the big game,yes along that line, but today's Super Sunday goes for birds too of the rare kind in a few of our local places. Here's a brief spell.

Starting with Prospect, a rare duck. Marc Brawer and Chris Laskowski spotted a hen CANVASBACK in the magical western section of Prospect Lake. First seen by the phragmites near Well Drive, it was observed moving along the west shore.When I followed up the tweet / text, I spotted in that general area from the rustic shelter with a few other birders. Getting closer, I didn't see it and I wondered where the heck it went. Moving along the shoreline, a duck flushed from my left and I be darned:  the Canvasback was just mere feet from me! A terrific view of the bird in front of me was super.

Meanwhile at Bush Terminal Park, the rare full continues. GLAUCOUS GULL  decides to stick around offering a number of birders good fortune seeing this very whitish bird.

Farther West at the Army Terminal pier 4 , not a full but a rare grebe. The pier seems to attract annually the RED NECKED GREBE ,with super vantage from the very long and wide pier.Marisa Would ,Kathy Toomey were some of the viewers.

Oh, that BLACK HEADED GULL still hangs around in Prospect Lake ,in magical western section as the Canvasback.

Super Sunday,yea.

KB note /PS> There is confirmed two BLACK-HEADED GULLs in north Kings. One is our Prospect bird that's assumed visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park, The other is an adult visiting mostly Bush Terminal Park. See Facebook Brooklyn Urban Birders group for the adult photo.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fwd: Bush Terminal Park

Sent from my MetroPCS 4G Wireless Phone

-------- Original message --------
From: Matthew Wills <>
Date:02/07/2016 4:43 PM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Bush Terminal Park

Hi, Peter,

Spent a little time in BTP this afternoon. Highlights: Glaucous Gull present by off-shore rocks, bathing, then flew south around 3:15pm. Female Common Goldeneye. Pair of Ravens. Dead Common Loon. Female Ruddy Duck wing on rocks IDed by Paul Sweet; possible Peregrine kill. 


Hen CANVASBACK close to prospect lake west shoree by red rescue ladder


Hen CANVASBACK on Prospect Lake by well drive picnic tables according to Marc Brawer ànd Chris Laskowski. 325 pm

Pere of fdny

2 Peregrine falcons perched top fireman radio tower south end bklyn botanic garden

Good gulls

Subject: Glaucous Gull and Black-headed Gull(s?) - Brooklyn
From: Rob Bate <>
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2016 07:38:55 -0500
X-Message-Number: 1
Yesterday afternoon a Glaucous Gull was seen resting on a piling at Bush
Terminal Park (43rd St & 1st Ave) in Brooklyn.  A Black-headed Gull was
resting with a flock of Ring-bill Gulls on the berm between the two
impoundment ponds there as well.  Bobbie Manian reported a Blackheaded Gull
by Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park at nearly the same time though we
couldn't confirm that these were two different gulls - poor photos are
being examined to see if we can distinguish two different BHGUs.
The Glaucous Gull and Black-headed Gull have been in the area for the last
few days either at BTP, BBP or 58th st (parking pier for the water taxi and
Rob Bate

Peregrine falcon calastrus path GWCemetery per Orrin

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snowy gems

A "invasion" of BLACKHEADED GULL even if only two maybe if not the same bird has been reported at two coastal locations. Meanwhile here at pretty Prospect Park, I didnt see any rarity but for the number of DOWNY WOODPECKERS concentrated in one spot did raise my cold attention.

On the BLACKHEADED GULLS, one each was reported at Bush terminal park and then less an hour later at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The tweets came in order from Rob Bate and Bobbi Manian. It would be interesting to see photos to confirm separate individuals. Perhaps one of the birds might be the long time Prospect visitor.

Also seen is the GLAUCOUS GULL at Bush Terminal Park, continuing this park great winter reputation.RBate again is the lucky observer.

Back here as I was busy clearing snow on my job, the feeders saw something I don't usually see. Although it involved the DOWNY WOODPECKER, how often one sees a lucky seven at one time on the feeders? Makes me wanna go to Atlantic City and roll dice!

Below is the photo of four of the Downys.  (2 suet, 2 bar)

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Brooklyn Bridge Park birding regular Heather Wolf reported  BLACKHEADED GULL at her park at Pier 4 ,wading in the water today.

This is the second rare gull to visit that park the past week or so other being Iceland Gull.

See Facebook group Brooklyn Urban Birders for the photo.

Bush Terminal

Birdtrax reports Sean Sime observing GLAUCOUS GULL  & COMMON RAVEN at Bush Terminal Park today.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Floyd Bennett Jean Bourque memorial dedication ceremony Feb 9 1230pm

Jean was a long time Brooklyn Bird Club member from the 1960's , over 40 years a member. Conservationist for the Floyd Bennett  and environs area, former Clapper Rail editor .



According to ebird birdtrax, the BLACK HEADED GULL continues to be seen at the Prospect Lake western sector... makes winter enjoyable seeing a rare one...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy GroundHog Day!

Greetings from the Groundhog...

This morning's sky

Mission accomplished! 

A successful and happy venture for me hitting the bull eyes with the sighting of the 5 "bare eyed" planets in the city morning sky. Winter skies the best as it is crisper and clearer to sky view . First western most Jupiter which I also saw 4 of its moons clearly, then next to the east Mars, then Saturn which to my great delight in my cheap birders scope i saw the rings.The moon was between Mars and Saturn. However at 520 am from the Prospect Long Meadow lawn I was wondering where the heck Venus was. Of course, it hadn't rose yet. 

IT wasn't until 6:10 am that Venus finally popped above the tree line; quickly I searched for Mercury the elusive tougher to find planet as it doesn't rise too high above the horizon; its at it highest peak now and sure enough I looked to Venus' left and a little lower, barely above the trees, there is Mercury ! I was surprised at how much larger than Mars it is ; of course its closer to planet Earth than the former.Also in view was the stars Antares the red super giant and alpha star of Scorpius constellation ( which I also saw the whole constellation) and Spica..

 A spectacular morning !