Tuesday, April 14, 2020

April 14 - Inwood HP - Birds and Wildflowers

It was a beautiful day to spend some time in Inwood Hill Park. I had several goals when I set out. Of course one was to continue to add birds to my spring (since April 1st) bird list. Another was to look for some of the spring wildflowers that are coming in to bloom right now. My first goal was finding Yellow Trout Lily. I know where they come up in numbers every spring and the other day Danny Karlson texted me they were in bloom. It didn't take me long to find some, right where I expected them to be. Every year Ann insists they are not Trout Lilies, but Dog-toothed Violets since that is the name she grew up with in Ohio. Whatever you call them, they are lovely.
Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)
Nearby, I noticed some lovely small purplish-blue flowers I was not familiar with. I photographed them and sent them along to my WhatsApp group of Central Park AMNH birders asking if anyone knew as ID. In the meantime, I ran into Danny and he said his sister had identified them as Scilla. Later Evelyn Huang of my group texted me that she thought they were Early Snow Glories. A little research at home later confirmed them as Glory-of-the-snow, an introduced Old World wildflower.
Glory-of-the-snow (Scilla forbesii) 
I continued onto the Ridge where the birding was fairly quiet as it has been the last few days. I stopped at the Overlook where I finally picked up a new bird for the month: a lone female Red-breasted Merganser flying over the Hudson. A number of Turkey Vultures were taking advantage of the thermals over the Palisades across the river. Near the Overlook I ran into a birder I had not seen in the park before. Her name was Gloria and she had come up from downtown. While we chatted (from an acceptable social distance!) she spotted an adult Bald Eagle flying low over the trees above. The eagle then headed west over the Hudson. Another new bird for the spring.

As i continued birding the ridge, birds stayed relatively scarce, but I found a number of wildflowers in bloom. One was Greater Celandine. Lesser Celandine has been in bloom in profusion throughout the park for weeks.
Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
Garlic Mustard is of course starting to bloom in many places now.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
In one of the small pine groves on the ridge I discovered a tree had been blown down in yesterday's heavy wind and rain.

As I started back down off the ridge I noticed some Cut-leaved Toothwort in bloom.
Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)
When I stood up from photographing the toothworts I noticed a little bird flitting in the branches about eye level. Finally, my first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the year! I knew other birders had been seeing them for over a week and Danny had told me he had seen a few earlier in the day. It was my last new spring bird of the day. In all I recorded 28 species on my walk. The merganser, eagle, and gnatcatcher get me to 49 for April in Inwood. My full day list is below.

Canada Goose
Red-breasted Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Ann - they're called dog toothed violets in Illinois, where I grew up, too!


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