Saturday, April 5, 2014

Inwood Hill Park - Apr 5 - mixed signals

It rained overnight, but started clearing around sun-up. It was still cool with temperatures in the mid to upper 40s, but with a stiff WNW wind. There were definite signs of spring, but also lingering traces of winter. The biggest winter holdover were the five White-winged Scoters on the Hudson River west of the railroad bridge over Spuyten Duyvil. It will be exactly one month tomorrow since I first saw a male White-winged fly past my apartment window. Other traces of winter was a lone Dark-eyed Junco on the north side of the soccer fields and numbers of White-throated Sparrows in the woods. A lot of the White-throats are singing now and their numbers actually may not peak in the park for another week or two as others who wintered further south pass through on their way to more northern breeding grounds.

In contrast, there were finally unmistakable signs of spring. A Red Maple just in from 218th Street and Indian Road is now in bloom.

Red Maple                                                         © Joseph DiCostanzo

And the buds on some bushes and vines in the woods are swelling and bursting open.

                                                                                  © Joseph DiCostanzo

But the most obvious sign that April and spring are finally here was the blooming of the daffodils. Most have not opened their flowers yet, but in a few warm, sheltered spots that catch the morning sun, the flowers are out.

daffodils and fly                                                      © Joseph Dicostanzo
I can't end without mentioning some more birds. There was an Eastern Phoebe near the upper end of the Clove trail. One of the nicest sightings was along the ridge. I saw a medium-sized woodpecker fly to the right side of a tree trunk ahead of me and another woodpecker of about the same size fly in to land on the left side of the same tree. My thought was Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, particularly since they seem to often move in pairs or small groups. But, when I raised my binoculars I found I was looking at a male Hairy Woodpecker on the right and a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on the left. Naturally, they did not stick around to have their picture taken. Though the woodpeckers were uncooperative, I can't end without a bird picture so here are two Mourning Doves from the Clove.

Mourning Doves                                                                  © Joseph DiCostanzo

[AFTERNOON UPDATE: In the afternoon when Ann and I walked around the soccer field, there was a female Red-breasted Merganser in the shallow bay - another holdover from the winter.

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