Friday, May 16, 2008

Birding 101 - Central Park West

First and Foremost I want to confess to you that I am not a true blue born in the flesh bonafide
BIRDER! If I learned anything on this trip this is it! Let me explain why.
We woke up the first morning at 4:30 to catch the train at 5:40 to Penn Station. You can see it was barely light out. But on we trudged not knowing exactly where to go but having within our
backpack and sweaty little hand the directions to take the subway C and get off at 103rd St. Central Park West.
We arrived at Penn Station at 5:55 and it was first light by then. Now all we had to do was figure out how to swipe our 'metro card' and get on the the right subway that would take us to the 103rd St. entrance to Central Park where the birders meet at 7:30.

Unbelievably the first morning went pretty smooth and we arrived
early to find lots of birders waiting for us. This was Saturday Morning
and Star was our 'star' leader this day. We would bird in the North
Woods today

On Sunday the bird walk was led by 'Birding Bob' and we met
at the turtle pond in front of Belvedere Castle. Today we will
Bird in the Ramble between the Castle and Boathouse.
Take a look at these two pictures. Birders are a easily
identified group...hats, binoculars, backpacks, some carry
bird guides but very few carry cameras.

And they are always looking towards the sky, leaning back in
unison catching a glance at a specimen not otherwise seen.
My back hurts and this kicks in my vertigo, Nah! I'm not a birder.

And if you listen closely you will hear phrases like "first branch
at the top, straight out to the right at 3:0clock.
Nah! I'm not a birder.

Then as if that wasn't enough to convince me ...they do this
little thing called 'pishing' where they blow air through
the teeth and use their fingers to make it come out in
little puffs. Pish, pish, pish, pish.... Nah! I'm not a birder.
Reminded me of one of my little boys when trying to
feed them applesauce and they did that raspberry
and spit it out!!

But all joking aside, the pishing does bring out the birds so
you can see them or get the picture. I was amazed about that.
There is actually a book by Pete Dunne, The Art of Pishing.

A True -blue birder will climb up on the tallest rock
and not be afraid of falling to see the rare find.

And then we have the true blue photographers...I found out
I am not one of them either. To get the picture close
up and personal you need a lens like the one in the picture

Or a cheaper version by Canon like this pretty girl has.

Yea! Man! That's what I call a camera and lens.

Putting all that aside lets get serious and I will show you what
I DID get with my little camera and more than inadequate
birding skills.

Male Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Female Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Green Heron (first for me)

Red Winged Blackbird

Indigo Bunting

Two Male Baltimore Orioles playing and singing in the top of a tree.
Took a lot of shots of these.

Double Breasted Cormorant. First day saw it at the Harlem Meer.

Second day it posed for a long time at the Boathouse.
Got lots of nice shots this day. Click to see it's blue eye.

Oven Bird... this was a challenge as it blends so well
with all the leaves. (first for me)

Ok let me just stop here for a moment...The Warblers!! They
are quite beautiful, but they are quickest, flittiest, hard to
see or capture birds I have ever seen. I missed alot of them
and was ready to give up long before the tru-blue Birders
were ready to go home. But I did get a few !
If I mis-identify feel free to correct me. My 1st try with
these little flitters!

Northern Parula Warbler

Common Yellow-throated

Black Throated Blue

Female Balck & White

Male Black & White

During the Saturday walk with Star someone came by and excitedly
announced the 'Dickcissel' was spotted but it was too far to go.
Fortunately on our walk with Birding Bob the next day
we were able to get a few decent shots of this little bird foraging
around on the ground.

He's quite a pretty bird.

It seemed he was gathering nesting material.
Dickcissel- a rare find! (first for me)

After we left the birding group on Saturday this was the
catch of the day. A Black Crown Night Heron was fishing
on the rail in the Harlem Meer. He commenced to put on
quite a show for us and we got a lot of pictures.

He would jump from rock to rock

Fly short distances.. almost like watch me watch me
I can perform

He sure was beautiful and not afraid at all.

Oops Not a bird. But we did see a sleeping Raccoon.

It seemed to be covering it's eyes to block out the light of day.
Or is that my imagination.
At the end of a very very long two days I was happy with
my pictures, being the ameteur birder and photgrapher
that I now know I am.....
At the Loeb Boathouse there is a book that my friend just
had to see. It was a fascination of hers. Birders go there
after a walk and write all the birds seen that day.
Here it is for your enjoyment.

If you click you can read some of the entries.
For all the pictures of birds from Central Park go to
Picasa Album Birding Central Park

Stay tuned to Window on Nature for the second
most popular activity in Central Park....coming soon!


The Birdlady said...

Well, I think you did a great job! And I enjoyed so much seeing the photos of the birders, as well as the birds...and the daring raccoon: oh is he cute!

Marsha said...

What a wonderful post! I enjoyed it very much since I also am not a official "birdwatcher" :-) I loved all your shots and think you did very well without the thousands of dollars of equipment shown in the photos. That little racoon looks like he is using his tail for a pillow and is covering his eyes :-)

The Birdlady said...

Now how are we going to keep you down on the farm, now that you've seen.....etc! That was some trip! It has been fun sharing it.

Bird Girl said...

Oh you poor thing...I almost felt sorry for you after reading this post! It must be awful not to be a true blue birder among the fanatics (hehe) That was funny! You did a great job chasing warblers and we can only be thankful that we weren't lugging huge lenses like some in those pictures you got! Great post!

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