Raptor and Waterfowl Walk

November 27, 2011

9:00 AM

Southern Zone, Pelham Bay Park

Southern Zone

Our group of birders, left to right, first row: Cathy, Andrea, Celia, Pete, Oliver.

Second row: Billy, Al and Jane. Not shown, Jack.

    Imagine seeing three species of raptors up close, soaring overhead and landing nearby. That was our experience on Saturday. After meeting in the parking lot, we ventured out toward the landfill. A conversation about Indian Rock somehow ensued, so we decided to visit it before going for the birds. We meandered a while, having a vague recollection of its exact location. I knew it was somewhere behind the ball field. Pete scouted ahead and found the rock. This rock was said to be an important meeting place for Native Americans. (I have linked a fascinating article from the early 1900’s here about the rock Pelham Bay Park from the NYT, originally sent by Jorge Santiago. pb.pdf)

    On the way down to the water and landfill, Cathy found a Yellow-rumped Warbler. This fellow was enjoying the warm weather and should have migrated for tropical climes a month ago. I guess the warm weather kept another species around, as a lingering Blue-grey Gnatcatcher was flitting around in a nearby tree.

  In the water were Horned Grebes, Scaup, Mallards, Brant and Bufflehead. They were fun to watch through the scope. More fun were raptor antics. Northern Harriers and a Red-tailed hawk chased each other. An American Kestrel and a Northern Mockingbird faced off and the Kestrel had no intention of being harassed and flew off. These two birds traded places a couple of times.

   The action kept going but some of us wanted to get home. The warm weather, the social atmosphere and the great birds made for a fun day.

Andrea and Oliver were watching a Red-belied Woodpecker in a nearby tree.

The Kestrel was being harassed by a Mockingbird and flew to a nearby light pole.

Cathy and Celia checking out the ducks and grebe through the fence.

Jack, Andrea, Billy and Pete finding a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree, sunning himself.

Here’s where the action gets more interesting. The raptors become quite visible. We eventually got much closer. That’s Oliver, Jane, Celia and Andrea.

He eventually left his perch and was flying along with the Northern Harriers.

Species Account

Northern Harrier (3)

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

Lesser Scaup (200)

Horned Grebe (6)

Brant (30)

Bufflehead (40

Mallard (6)

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher

Red-belied Woodpecker (2)

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Carolina Wren

Song Sparrow (12)

European Starling (30)

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