Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 6 - Inwood Hill Park - Semis, Semis, and hornets.

I spent nearly all of June and ore than half of July doing field work on Great Gull Island, so this is my first post back in NYC, even tough I have been back for a couple of weeks.

I have been watching the mudflats next to Muscota Marsh at the north end of Inwood Hill Park in recent days waiting for the southbound shorebirds to appear. Last summer the area was very productive with groups of Semipalmated Sandpipers and a few Semipalmated Plovers regular and even some nice surprises such as a Pectoral Sandpiper that lingered for more than a week and a one day White-rumped Sandpiper. So far this year, the flats have been quiet. This morning I had a little time available so I checked the larger flats north of the soccer fields. I was rewarded with a scattered feeding group of Semipalmated Plovers (5) and Semipalmated Sandpipers (7-8). Also on and around the flats were two Great Blue Herons, a Great Egret and a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron. I did not have time to get up into the woods so I do not know if there were any passerine migrants around. I did hear some American Goldfinches calling as they flew over.

On a non-avian note there was a large hornet nest hanging in a tree - I believe it is a Bald-faced Hornet (Vespula maculata) nest. Large numbers of people pass under it on a daily basis, I am sure with most being unaware of it. It is high enough in the tree that it is unlikely to be accidentally disturbed so it should not prove troublesome to anyone. It was fun to see such a marvel of biological engineering.

Bald-faced Hornet (?) nest - 08/06/2015