Monday, March 17, 2014

Inwood Hill Park - Snowdrops & birds - Mar 17, 2014

Spring may only be three days away, put it was still a fairly chilly morning in the park with temperatures below freezing in the morning and a very cold northwest wind. Nevertheless, I decided to go up The Clove trail, mainly to see if the Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) were out yet. I had looked last week and not seen them. Though we had fairly mild weather on Saturday, and the snow and ice were gone from much of the park, there were still extensive icy stretches in The Clove.

The Clove path                                                                                                                                            © Joseph Diostanzo

In previous years I had always found Snowdrops in the vicinity of the glacial potholes near the upper end of The Clove.

Glacial potholes                                                                                © Joseph DiCostanzo

It is possible I missed them last week because I was concentrating on my footing on the still, at that time, extensive ice patches, but there was no missing them today. There were quite a few patches of Snowdrops in bloom on the west side of the trail, above and below the potholes.

Snowdrops                                                                                                                                               © Joseph DiCostanzo

I continued along the ridge top, but things were fairly quiet with very few birds in evidence. The cold, gray morning certainly didn't seem to be producing much bird song. The ship canal east of the Henry Hudson Bridge, as well as the shallow bay north of the soccer fields, however, did continue the winter's duck show. There was a male Canvasback on the north side of the canal as well as the three female Greater Scaup that have been around most days over the last month or so. Also in the canal, as it has been for most days since Mar 6, was the male White-winged Scoter. In the shallow bay were two female Red-breasted Mergansers. If you look carefully, you can just see the top of the head of the Red-tailed Hawk on its nest to the south. Finally, there was a very cooperative Downy Woodpecker working the bushes in the fenced in area on the north side of the soccer fields.

Downy Woodpecker (male)                                                                                                                   © Joseph DiCostanzo

I can hardly wait for warmer weather and more birds!

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