Monday, February 21, 2011

Van Courtlandt Bird Walk Report 2-19-2011...

Digiscoped Hooded Merganser.
On Saturday, our group met at the usual time 8:00 a.m. at the Ranger Station in Van Courtlandt Park, Bronx NY.  We hiked the trail around Van Courtlandt Lake, spent some time scanning the parade ground fields and visited the restoration area behind the Van Courtlandt Museum.

As noted in previous reports, I again emphasize that the trails remain iced over in many areas, which makes walking in some areas very treacherous (I almost went down a few times).  One would have thought that with the recent high temperatures the snow might have melted in many areas.  Instead, the areas we usually traverse seemed even more icy with the packed snow.  Maybe it is due to budget issues, but I am surprised that the Parks Department have not spread sand on the iced up areas, especially the bridges.  I fear someone is going to take a nasty tumble in those areas.

We managed 35 species for the day with our highlights being Rusty Blackbirds Euphagus carolinus, Hooded Mergansers Lophodytes cucullatus, Wood Ducks Aix sponsa, Green Winged Teals Anas crecca and Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias.  Other good birds we picked up included, Tree Sparrows (Spizella arborea), Fox Sparrows (Passerella iliaca), and American Coot (Fulica americana. Our best bird of the day and new for the year at the park were a total of 8 Killdeers Charadrius vociferus on the parade grounds - no doubt, early migrants.  Hopefully, with warmer weather on the way, we will see more migrants moving in.

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