Friday, February 6, 2015

Post #7 - Central park, patch birding, one of my birding dreams......

I am currently holed up at my family's NYC apartment. Sonia is actually away for an extended period of time right now so for now it's just me, the snow and ice, and book writing. I apologize if posts are not as forthcoming as normal. I am doing so much writing at the moment that I often lose steam by the time I get around to the blog. Again, you can always sign up for email notification when new posts go up (top, right hand side under banner photo). 

That being said, I have fallen into a nice routine this week. Most mornings I go for an extended walk in Central Park before settling down to write for the rest of the day. The morning activity helps me to focus when I actually start writing. I am actually carless at the moment, so my birding options are a bit limited. Central park is certainly my main destination. Just about everything is frozen over at the moment. A nuclei of landbirds hangs around the well-maintained feeders in the ramble, while another of waterbirds, mainly geese and gulls, resides on the almost completely frozen reservoir. 

A snow-covered path through the wooded Ramble

Central Park Reservior (Mt Sinai Med Center on right)

It likely goes without saying that species diversity is very low right now. I think I have tallied ~30 species or so. The most exciting bird was certainly the Common redpoll that appeared at the feeders on Tuesday. A seasonally aberrant chipping sparrow has also been in the area, as have numerous Fox Sparrows. Otherwise it is the normal feeder birds: woodpeckers, titmice, chickadee, grackles etc. Today, a huge female Cooper's hawk made several stealthy passes through the feeders looking for breakfast. I am hoping to get a shot of her in action at some point. Fox sparrow is also high on my wish list. Stay tuned on that front. 

I will say that after a year where I birded different areas each day, there is something totally relaxing and even comforting about walking through Central Park each day - even when birds are a bit thin. It would be really cool to spend 2 hours in there every day for a whole year to see how things slowly changed over the seasons. I think I would take great satisfaction in knowing a single place so well that I could detect even small shifts in what the birds did each day. I think this is the essence of patch birding. I am not sure I'll be here long enough to see the whole year through, but for right now its enough. 

I hope an some point that Sonia and I will own at least a small piece of property. Then I'll finally have my own little patch that I can watch for at least a short time each and every day. My pipe dream is to have a yard with a feeder array that attracts some huge rarity (Fieldfare, Brambling)  during Super Bowl week. Everyone could come over and watch the game while we wait for the bird. Maybe one day.......

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