I took so many pictures yesterday, including flowers and landscapes, I’ve decided to just concentrate on some of my “birding” pictures. Right now, on the East Coast of the U.S., in the mid-Atlantic states, we are having what is known as “the warbler migration.” The wood-warblers, family Parulidae, are small song birds many of whom winter in the Caribbean, southern Florida and eastern Mexico. Central Park, as it happens, is a great place to look for birds. There is a lake in the park, and immediately to the north of the lake is a wooded area known as “the Ramble.” This is the prime place to go to look for warblers. I’m new to this, and I only saw a few species, and got photos of fewer.
Remember That Duck?
I went to the park again. Under a tree, eating some seeds were two ducks. One was the oddly colored duck that I saw a few weeks ago.
A typical male Mallard was with her.
I may be jumping to conclusions, but in my mind the other duck is the same male I saw before and the dark duck is a female.
I also got some nice pictures of a pair of geese, one on a nest and another standing at a distance.
A Strange Duck
I went for a walk in the park today with my camera. The weather was beautiful and I’d been meaning to get out. Over the next few weeks, we should be having the warbler migration. In fact, I saw a Yellow-rumped warbler today. Hopefully, within a few days I’ll be able to put up some of the pictures. I got lots of them. Mainly birds, but some turtles and squirrels as well. I saw a flicker, which always makes me happy for some reason.
For now, however, I wanted to put up a picture of a bird I can’t identify.
Obviously, it’s a duck of some sort, but what type of duck. It just so happens he or she was swimming alongside a male Mallard.
Their profiles look very similar. I couldn’t help wondering if this could possibly be a melanistic Mallard. Has anyone heard of such a thing?
The Black Squirrels of New York
The weather was very mild today, and I decided to take advantage of it to go out and photograph some of the city’s famous black squirrels. I first saw them in Union Square Park when I was a teenager.
If you don’t know about them, they are just normal Gray Squirrels that happen to be a darker color than is typical. It’s an example of melanism. It’s inherited and, since many parks in New York are comparatively isolated by block of concrete, populations of black squirrels will tend to be more common in certain parks than others. A year or two ago, I was walking with my mother near Tompkins Square Park when we saw a black squirrel. I was originally going to head there, but the L train stop on First Avenue is right next to Stuyvesant Town, adjacent to a related development called Peter Cooper Village where black squirrels have been seen. So, I decided to take a detour through Stuyvesant Town first.
I didn’t get far into the development before I saw a black squirrel rummaging through some leaves. I approached quietly and cautiously. It wasn’t necessary. As soon as the squirrel saw me, he came bounding up to me. I should have figured. It’s New York City and the squirrels are little hustlers. Fortunately, I had come provisioned with some hazelnuts in the shell. I’ve always found these to be a favorite of squirrels.
A gray squirrel nearby saw our exchange and came running over. He got a nut, too. It didn’t feel right to only give nuts to the black squirrels.
I walked around the building to an open space near the center of the development. It seems that a good third of the squirrels are black. It was no problem finding them.
Some of the black squirrels are darker than others. I noticed that quite a few of them had lighter, brown bellies.
Fourth of July Photos
Action Shots: Squirrels and Robins
Can You Spot the Bird?
My sister injured her back, so yesterday I went to visit. I brought my camera with me because, as I said to my sister, “If I don’t bring it the animals are sure to do something cute.” So, I sat outside for a time taking photos. I got one picture that made me think about all those pictures you see showing “nature’s wonderful camouflage.” So, go below the fold and see if you can find the bird…
New Bird: American White Pelican
There was some excitement for us today. We went to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and saw some American White Pelicans. They are not common in this area, so I’m glad my sister was there or I would have thought I was terribly mistaken. The volunteer at the visitor’s center confirmed that the Pelicans have been seen there in recent years. He said a few days ago several people reported seeing a flock of thirty to forty, which seems to be exactly what we saw today.
Another first for me was a muskrat. I’ve seen their lodges before, but this is the first I’ve seen one the animals.
Finally, Blackwater has a lot of Great Blue Herons. We saw several on both visits, but they’re so beautiful, I thought I’d post a picture anyway.
We didn’t see as many different types of birds as we saw last time, although we heard many we didn’t see. Also, we still haven’t seen one of the rare squirrels.