Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sparrowy Greenwood Cemetery

Committed to a promise to bird with my friend Mary with birding intentions at Ft Tilden, we opted to bird Greenwood Cemetery instead due to road closures from today's Brooklyn Half Marathon. It turned out fortuitously for us staying local. While the urge to see the Purple Gallinule was in the back of my mind, sparrows are my second love after warblers and Greenwood's wide open quiet spaces entices the sparrow.

If Prospect Park has its "Sparrowbowl, then Greenwood's Sylvan Water should be called the "Sparrowwaterbowl". All along the north shore, it was teeming with sparrows. Using the mausoleums as blinds, we picked up seven sparrow species. Among the usual, we found uncommon LINCOLNS and WHITE CROWNEDS in the mix. At one stop, we saw a weeping bush that had three WHITE CROWNEDS perched  with SONGS atop the bush. Then  a beautiful looking FIELD SPARROW posed eloquently at the left side for at least ten minutes before a SONG chased it.

We soon climbed up Sylvan's left slope and there we picked up two more sparrow species, EASTERN TOWHEE and DARK EYE JUNCO made it eight and nine. But more satisfying though was a handsome male BLACK THROATED BLUE WARBLER under the tree where HERMIT THRUSHES, GOLDEN CROWNED and RUBY CROWNED KINGLETS  also joined the fray.

We picked up more WHITE CROWNEDS along the way. In fact we saw eleven White crowneds on our GWC tour. I don't believed Ive seen that many in a single day Brooklyn location. ;one adult at the Kiamie Crypt ( Or the hawk watch near Lenny Bernstein's grave) with a few juveniles, a few at Meadow Avenue near the PP west Cemetery entrance; another at Dellwater. It added up, a delightful experience watching these gorgeous birds especially the dignified adult White crowned.

At Meadow Avenue, we picked up a single Savannah, achieving our tenth  sparrow species for the day. A eleventh was out of our grasp as a VESPER SPARROW was reported by Will Pollard west of the Valley Water after we left the cemetery.WE cant get them all!

Warblers took us by surprise for the number on this late day.Tops was late NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at Sylvan Water. Add in PALMS, PINE (FIRST FALL ),YELLOW RUMPED, BLACKPOLL and NORTHERN PARULA for the complete list.

Over Sylvan Water, the air show commenced. CHIMNEY SWIFTS, late birds, zipped thru the air. Then a triple threat of RED TAILED HAWKS swooped and glided around. AT one point, two of the Redtaileds took a swipe at a passing startled Great Blue Heron, first Ive witnessed this action on a Great Blue. Seeing this interaction by the hawks fulfills birding passion.

Speaking about the Redtaileds, we both saw an immature bird fly in and perched above us at Dellwater. It had a flicker prey and we watched it trying to pull the dead bird through the branches on the same limb with difficulty. Then it proceeded to rip apart the flicker.

Meanwhile, that Purple Gallinule in that other park beckons....