Sunday, November 1, 2020

October 31 - Halloween in Inwood Hill Park

A beautiful, but cold day in the park. It was the first subfreezing temperatures of the fall - though just barely. It was 31 F when I started out at 7:30 am. I met up with Danny Karlson, Diane Schenker, and Elizabeth White-Pultz at Muscota Marsh. Nathan O'Reilly was also with us for a bit in the morning, though Nathan headed directly up onto the ridge while the rest of us headed over to the ballfields along the river after we headed towards the Henry Hudson Bridge. We had hoped for some Evening Grosbeaks given the overnight northwest winds which continued into the daylight hours. Alas, though we heard reports of grosbeaks from around the NYC area, we did not encounter any. A highlight of the walk was an immature Bald Eagle that sat unperturbed in a tree along the Hudson River for probably more than half an hour.
Bald Eagle (immaure) - 10/31/2020

In addition to the immature we also saw three adult Bald Eagles: one over Muscota Marsh when we started and two more over the Hudson later. On the river there was a lone Brant which took off when the immature eagle finally left his perch and flew over where the Brant was resting on the water.
Brant - 10/31/2020

This single Brant was in marked contrast to last Sunday when on a similar cool day with northerly winds, hundreds of Brant flew over in various size flocks. We did have one flock of Canada Geese fly over in one of their classic "v" shaped migrating flocks, so different from the "untidy" flocks of Brant that caused hunters to call them "wavies".
Canada Geese - 10/31/2020

Another highlight of the walk was an adult Cooper's Hawk perched in a low tree up on the ridge near the "whaleback" rock. It was identifiable as an adult by its reddish underparts. It seemed fairly large, so was probably a female.

I picked up two new birds for this fall season: a small flock of Bufflehead on the river (first spotted by Nathan) and two Winter Wrens up on the ridge. The Winter Wrens were my first ones this year. Other people had seen the species this fall, but I had missed them until now.

My total list of 53 species for the day is below.

Brant  1
Canada Goose  30
Mallard  20
Bufflehead  6
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  80
Mourning Dove  6
Ring-billed Gull  20
Herring Gull  2
Great Black-backed Gull  1
Common Loon  1
Double-crested Cormorant  7
Great Blue Heron  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  4
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
American Kestrel  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Phoebe  2
Blue-headed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  12
American Crow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  12    
Tufted Titmouse  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Brown Creeper  1
Winter Wren  2
Carolina Wren  5
European Starling  4
Northern Mockingbird  2
Hermit Thrush  2
American Robin  4
House Sparrow  40
House Finch  4
Pine Siskin  1     
American Goldfinch  4
Chipping Sparrow  10
Dark-eyed Junco  50
White-throated Sparrow  10
Song Sparrow  5
Swamp Sparrow  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  30
Common Grackle  15
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Northern Cardinal  3

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