Saturday, February 9, 2019

Where's the windblock?

I love winter. It's in my genes as the season provides beauty,mystique,solitude and much quietude. But when it's windy, especially high winds,it's unforgivable. Whether it's me or the ducks,one smart strategy is get out of the winds' onslaught: seek wind block spots.

I took a ride to Bush Terminal Park. Because it's a great winter spot and I haven't been there awhile,I thought for a proximate location, it always offer nice birding. But as soon as I got out of my car,40 mile gusts slammed into me. Not good; as expected it was Jack Frost's naughtiness.I had to battle the frigid winds along the shore as several GADWALLS flew away.

In the second cove ,inside the rocky safe harbor,ducks sought wind block as well. Stationed on the leeward side of the rocky mound, AMERICAN WIGEONS,GADWALLS and plenty of the usual gull species rested. In the water close by a few good looking RED BREASTFED MERGANSERS provided nice looks from my wind block spot on the back side of the hill.

I continued on to the last cove at Bush. Unsurprisingly, the strong  winds continued unabated. But not before my retreat, i looked through my shaking scope Scaup , of both species numbering 8 all told. Riding the waves vastly outnumbering the Scaup,had to be about 130 BUFFLEHEADS. Their smart strategy was point their compact small bodies into the wind,as they bobbed up and down , occasionally diving. A wonderful winter scene with common species you can't appreciate enough.

Changing plans of heading to the Army Terminal and Bay Ridge pier,i opted for Greenwood Cemetery. I was curious about feeders there that i have yet to see. And feeders i did see at Crescent Water: at least ten of them !  It appears GWC officials want to not only attract birds but birders to come. I saw the usual titmice, goldfinches,chickadee, house finches and blue Jays. Most notably ,plenty of American Robins adding life to a dead winter locale. A note to add about the Robins in a second. But before i drove off, i noted two large blackbirds on a feeder. To my surprise,a pair of COMMON GRACKLES, holding off a stern looking BLUE JAY, obviously dismayed it had to deal with something bigger than itself.It appears the GRACKLES are a vernal omen! The groundhog may be right after all.

Getting back to the Robins, food is critical for these birds in midwinter.Adjacent to the Dell Water ( I'm hoping I got the names right), a mature bountiful berried Holly Tree was the main draw. In and out of this Holly tree sometimes hidden by its thick foliage, Robins foraged crazily. From a crypt's steps offering more me eye level seeing,I delighted watching a Robin gulped down the bright red Holly berries.

A last good bird before I left Greenwoods main gate at 5th Ave, was a duck that caught my gaze. A drake RING NECKED DUCK happened to be near the shore of Valley Water. A late word alerted me it flew to the Sylvan water to the south.

The life of winter; more enjoyable though without the high winds.