Observing birds and changes
New York
May 1, 2016

Abuzz in so many ways is the best manner by which I might describe the weekend's grand outing into the park. As it may have been obvious by now, I had taken some time off from regularly photographing wildlife through the last year. What I did accomplish was a myriad of other projects spanning the most random of topics, and I'll post about those in the coming months as time permits. As I attempt to ease regular wildlife photography into the daily schedule, it'll have to be shared with the processing time required for the year-supply of backlogged photographs. Having this many photographs to review is still a great problem to have, but I am curious as to how ever well those photographs turned out.

Returning to the relevance at hand, the park is dynamic as ever, and I couldn't help but consider what has changed since my last full day immersion into a landscape I once frequented multiple times every day. Among the diversity of new birding faces and shiny new sets of photographic equipment bobbing around the wooded paths, I recognized quite a number of old acquaintances, all of whom, I'm happy to report, are doing as well as before or even better. The environment is also strangely different than I recall, mostly small changes, but it seems to affect where the birds would hang out on their long journey. A few missing trees, an additional bunch of new flowers, freshly woodchipped paths and a finally-fixed drainage problem are just the first physical alterations that could come to mind. Lastly, of course, the variety and frequency of migrating birds through the park is notably different, with some previous rarities becoming more prevalent, some rarities completely unnoted, and some common migrants hardly making any appearance. This, of course, does not necessarily pertain to this park in specific.

The birds, about which you must be wondering, for half a day's worth of birding, were of great satisfaction. I started really early, and similarly, ended early around lunchtime. Here's a bird list to appease your appetite:

American goldfinchpalm warbler
black-and-white warblerred-bellied woodpecker
black-capped chickadeered-winged blackbird
blue-winged warblerruby-crowned kinglet
blue jaysong sparrow
chipping sparrowveery
common gracklewhite-throated sparrow
eastern towheewood thrush
hermit thrushyellow-bellied sapsucker
indigo buntingyellow-rumped warbler
Nashville warbleryellow-throated warbler
northern parula

Getting back into the game required a quick refresher on the season's offerings, i.e. scanning the guide book, as well as familiar and fun old techniques, e.g. looking vertically up for an extended duration as passersby wonder when you lost your mind, gazing into backlit objects and pretending the human eye perceives more dynamic range for the allowance of an ID, looking for the smallest blob of yellow feathers in the tallest tree of yellow-green leaves and convincing yourself that the leaf is really special.

Of all these birds, the most notable was a yellow-throated warbler, as it was a first for myself (I recall a previous sighting last year, but I was unable to check it out for myself). The second was a female yellow-rumped warbler in breeding plumage that ventured in close while foraging.