Saturday, November 22, 2014

New York City: The High Line

Again, just a little behind in my posting.  In mid-September I visited NYC for a conference and, along with Central Park - a must place to visit, I walked the High Line, starting at W. 30th St. between 10th and 11th avenues and ending at Gansevoort St. just south of W. 12th between 9th and 10th avenues for my first ever visit.  

Below is a photo essay of this iconic and beautiful NYC outdoor escape. The photos included here were from my Friday morning visit and you might think that no one goes here.  Oh no!  As the morning wore on the High Line became more and more crowded.  After sitting in the conference hall all day Saturday, I went back again in the evening because I wanted to walk and stretch my legs.  The High Line was thronged.  Many European tourists seemed especially attracted to the High Line.  



There is a building boom going on all around the High Line, but the construction did not deter from my visit.  Rather it was more of a reminder of where I was and that nothing stays the same in NYC.


I have Leadplant (Amorpha canescens) above in my own garden at home.  I hope mine grows as well as this one.



Of course, I was looking for birds.  I was a little surprised not to find many.  The plantings are lush and are mostly native species.  But the High Line is narrow and the walking trail is in the center so the plantings are mostly narrow strips along each side of the trail.  Not surprising that Passer domesticus would be present and busy eating seeds from one of the grasses.       




The only migrant bird I found was a common yellowthroat in a nice thick clump of plants but he offered absolutely no opportunity for a photo.


Many areas of the High Line have water views and a few gulls and cormorants were perched on these old pylons.











As it turned out, during the time I was visiting, robins were the most plentiful bird.


Bumblebees were nectoring on early autumn aster and goldenrod blooms.



How many bumblebees can you count on this goldenrod?

I completely recommend a visit to the High Line.  Such a unique and beautiful place.  Go on a weekday morning and take a cup of coffee with you.  Find a bench.  Relax and enjoy. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Central Park in mid-September

Just a little behind with my postings!

I went to NYC for a conference in mid-September.  The conference hotel is in Times Square in the mid-40s and Central Park is about a 25-30 minute crowded uptown walk from there.  Arriving in the park it is then about another 25-30 minute walk to the Ramble.  Being an infrequent visitor to such a huge park, I always need to adjust my route to make sure I stay on the correct trajectory for the Ramble.  It's easy to get side-tracked when visiting such a fun and interesting place. 

This year the resident birds were abundant.  I saw a couple of other birders and a few photographers, but if migrant birds were present they made themselves scarce.  

      

American robins were plentiful including this wary drinker.


Northern cardinals were also abundant and still feeding young.



I hope this escapee cockatiel (?) was enjoying its freedom.  


Tailless common grackle


Dreadful photo of a northern waterthrush.  Other migrants included a female-type rose-breasted grosbeak and ruby-throated hummingbirds nectoring on jewelweed.




In broad daylight I saw several of these guys, about as large as good-size hamsters, scurrying around.


These cute youngsters attracted a large crowd on the bridge over their drainpipe burrow.  The sound of a roller-bladder over the bridge slats hustled them back into hiding. 


As always, a sign on the opposite side of the bridge!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hungary: A few warblers


River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis) - overall hard to see.


Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)


Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus


Cuckoo silhouette.  Where ever you see or hear a great reed warbler you will see or hear a cuckoo.


Above and below - Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides).  A real skulker singing deep in the reed beds. 



Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina) above and below.  The only yellow-throated European warbler.



Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) vocalizing.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hungary: Other good birds that should not be overlooked

Not the greatest photos, but definitely good birds taken in various areas around Hungary.   


Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)


Purple Heron 


Turtle Doves (Streptopelia turtur) taken through the front window of the car.  We saw these a few times, but overall their numbers are way down secondary to shooting.


Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)


Yellow Wagtail; this bird knows where its bread is buttered.


Terrible photo of the beautiful, graceful Montegue's Harrier (Circus pygargus).


Baby Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)


Adult Penduline Tit


Adult Penduline Tit


Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)


Yellowhammer


Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)


Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)



Reed Bunting.  Love this bird.


Nuthatch (Sitta europaea).  Very similar, but not quite as cute as our Red-breasted Nuthatch.


Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)


White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) nest on chimney.  In the days before utility poles, this was the traditional white stork nest location.


Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)