Monday, November 21, 2011

Van Courtlandt Bird Walk Report 11-19-2011...

I got to Van Courtlandt Park before our walk to scout out the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), that we had last week.  I wanted to ensure that if it was still around we had a shot at seeing it again.  Sure enough, the bird was in the North West corner of the parade grounds in the fenced in area.  Once our group assembled, we keyed in on the GWFG enjoying close up views.  After we had our fill of the  Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), we then headed towards the VC Lake.  We moved quickly with a purpose; there was a cross country event taking place, so we were trying to get ahead of all the running before the birds were flushed.   Near the marsh, we had quite a number of wet spots good for Snipe, but did not find any; I am willing to bet that all the cross country running through the trails does not help at all.  I wish that some of these trails were off limits to running as it would be less disturbance for the wildlife.  We took one of the back trails around the marsh working our way towards the lake; the rattle then flight of a Belted Kingfisher alerted us to its presence and a flock of flyover American Goldfinches were all the action we had on that trail.

Once at the lake, we scanned for waterfowl and picked up Northern Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks and Pied-billed Grebe.  We then backtracked around the marsh area taking another trail that would bring us near the golf course.  We picked up a Male Hooded Merganser as it took off from near the shore and shouted out to another birding group (Brooklyn Bird Club), to get on it - they did.  Continuing on we picked up American Coot and Green-winged Teal tucked up against the phragmites.  Both birds were well hidden and it was not easy to see them but putting the spotting scope on the birds, I was able to get most folks on the two.  We continued on making our way back out towards the parade grounds, picking up Winter Wren, and some other dickie birds.  Once at the parade grounds we looked carefully for the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), but the Canada Geese flock had gotten smaller and the GWFG was no longer on the field.  This was too bad as one of our attendees who missed it by arriving late the previous week missed it again because of arriving late - got to get to the walks earlier Lenny.  From the parade grounds, I took our group to the restoration area where we picked up many birds working the wet grounds.  Our best bird from that area was a Field Sparrow, a first of the season for the group.  In the end we managed 37 species. See below for a complete list.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
American Coot (Fulica americana)
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

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