Saturday, April 19, 2014

Inwood Hill Park - Apr 19 - Prairie Warbler, Savannah Sparrow and others

A really beautiful morning in the park. Went in from 8:30 - 11:00, then home to go to the Farmer's Market with Ann and then another short afternoon walk. On the way in at 8:30, one of the first birds was a Great Blue Heron flying north over the ridge as seen from the soccer fields. Heading up the Clove there was a bright yellow Palm Warbler near the Indian Caves. Five days ago (Apr 14) I came across the first blooms of Cowslip/Marsh Marigold [UPDATE: probably actually Lesser Celendine] I had seen this spring. Today they seemed to be everywhere, with seemingly even more out in the afternoon than in the morning.

Lesser Celendine ?                                                                        © Joseph DiCostanzo

Eastern Phoebes and Carolina Wrens called from various places in the Clove. The ridge was fairly quiet except for four species of woodpeckers: Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied and Northern Flicker. As I came down the road from the Henry Hudson Bridge, just above the soccer fields I heard a Prairie Warbler sing and then spotted it off the road below me. Others have seen Prairies this spring, but this was my first of the year. It has always been one of my favorites and its distinctive rising song I think was the first warbler song I have learned when I was a beginning birder.

Prairie Warbler (male)                                                                                                              © Joseph DiCostanzo

Crossing the soccer field there was a group of five Brown-headed Cowbirds (males and females) and a sparrow flew up and over to the top of the fence around the small wet area at the north side of the field. Checking it in my binoculars I saw it was my first Savannah Sparrow of the year - two year birds in just a few minutes as I was heading out.

Savannah Sparrow                                                                               © Joseph DiCostanzo

When Ann and I came back in after lunch, unfortunately we could not refind the Prairie Warbler, but we did see a Palm Warbler up on the ridge. On the ridge we saw two Mourning Cloak butterflies and coming back down the Clove we enjoyed a very cooperative male Spring Azure. (I believe it was a male based on the bright blue upper wings which you cannot see in the photo.)

Spring Azure                                                                                                 © Joseph DiCostanzo

Finally, crossing the soccer fields, I did not see the Savannah Sparrow, but there were a couple of singing Chipping Sparrows.

Chipping Sparrow                                                                                      © Joseph DiCostanzo

I can't wait to see what tomorrow morning may bring. It is the time of year when every day is a surprise.

[UPDATE: The Prairie Warbler and Savannah Sparrow were my 76th and 77th species for Inwood for the year.]

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