Monday, October 31, 2011

Sad Sunday

Looks can be deceiving. I expected to get to the park and find snow delicately decorating branches and leaves, but not too much snow.
I didn't expect a war zone. Branches snapped, not delicate branches, the main body work of the trees. Major trees uprooted. Trees split in half. Fences bent and benches smashed. This was heart-sickening.

I didn't search for migrating birds. There were birds working the ground, finding bugs and bits in and around the fallen limbs. There were hundreds of hermit thrushes.

Seed-eating juncos.

The phoebe didn't have to fly from a branch on high. The branch was on the ground.

I'll probably check out Riverside Park today.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A time to mourn

Central Park is devastated. I do not think there is a single tree that has not lost a limb or three or four, trees with half their bodies ripped away, whole old beloved trees toppled. Many paths are roped off, rightly so, impassable. There are still things falling as the wind hits. Areas of shrubbery flattened. The fallen limbs still are leaf-laden, berry-laden, alive one moment, dead the next. Mother Nature has a reason for everything, but today's scenes are gut-wrenching.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ants on the menu

The kinglet search was almost impossible,
so that led me to a different meadow where, much to my surprise, the flickers were ignoring me instead of flying off. The ants must have been abundant. The light was perfect, sun on straw. Flickers well camouflaged.

They ram-rod drill into the ground for ants.

Very well camouflaged.

Normally the flickers are skittish, don't allow a human this close. They knew I was there. Maybe they considered me a hawk deterent. Nothing was going to swoop down to grab them with a human "scarecrow" with camera in attendance.

A female flicker. No black markings on malar.

I see you too.

This was the first time ever having such a peaceful flicker meeting, the enchanting anting hour.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A straggler

This had all the makings of an ordinary day. When that happens it's fun to watch for food-eaters.
How many acorns? A vacuum cleaner jay.

The robins were plucking berries at this one spot when in swooped one waxwing, only one. Grab and dash.

The yellow rump. Delicious juniper berries.

Wow! A straggler. The magnolia warbler gorging on bugs.

The magnolia was a total surprise.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Still hunting

Trying to find a field of kinglets, any kinglets. Instead a redbelly swoops down to keep me company, maybe 3' away, maybe waiting for a handout, but I didn't have anything.

Finally a kinglet. Flitting around, hard to get.

And then there were two ruby crowns facing off right in my face. Impossible to shoot. But I have the image in my heart, two flaring redheads in my face for about two seconds.

Wait! Wait! Don't leave so soon.

Oh lordy, vanishing flitting kinglets, no fields of kinglets.

Meanwhile in a quiet corner male towhee dining right on the path.

In another corner, gorgeous wood thrush.

Still looking for kinglets.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Still more low down

Found on bench, a lostling. I can't stand findings lostlings. Maternal instincts on high alert, so I sat down on bench and waited. No owners. After half an hour lostling went into my backpack. Adopted. His name is now Benchley.
And since I'm off on a tangent the Metropolitan Opera is doing a new production of Wagner's SIEGFRIED. There is a forest bird in this opera, act 2. Using very clever "3D" technology, this operatic bird is a tanager. The bird's role is to tell Siegfried about Brunhilde asleep on a rock surrounded by fire. The bird guides him there. (End of cultural intrusion.)

More kinglet grub hunting.

Nice top.

Must be good food to bring out two thrashers.