Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Birding with a Threenager


Three going on thirteen, right? Just as I needed to adapt my birding to a newborn, then a toddler, I am now dealing with a whole new animal: the threenager.

The mental leaps she has gone through in the last year are mind-boggling. I used to think of her as the velociraptor in Jurassic Park learning to open the door; now she’s a pretty much a cunning tactician, negotiating, playing emotions, employing every trick she knows and learning new strategies as she goes.

She’s not just getting smarter. Now she remembers things, like how the playground is right over there. She now also has the confidence and leg strength to run off and make it to the playground on her own.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Birding the Southern Zone of Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay Park is New York City’s largest city park and an excellent birding destination. Located in the northeast corner of the Bronx, it contains a wide variety of habitats and borders Long Island Sound. Much of the birding attention in Pelham Bay Park goes to Hunter Island, Twin Islands, Turtle Cove, and more recently, the pools of freshwater at the Orchard Beach parking lot. However, there are a ton of other great spots, including the Southern Zone.

Pelham Bay Park's Southern Zone:
a great NYC birding destination

The Southern Zone is actually the most accessible part of Pelham Bay Park’s 2,700+ acres. Multiple buses, including the BX12, and the 6 train allow visitors to exit transit and walk over the street via pedestrian bridge to enter the park. Although the bus to Orchard Beach runs only in the summer, the Southern Zone is accessible by all transit year round.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Birding with a five-day old

Despite having had one kid already, the first few days with a new one I felt like I forgot how to do everything. How do I hold a newborn? How do I get through the night when needing to wake up every few hours? How do I keep this little human alive?



After returning from the hospital and then taking the baby by subway to the first check-up, I felt buoyed by reports of good health for the little one. Naturally, then, I took the baby birding.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Birds by the Sea

Black Skimmers, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean

We went to the beach on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens between Arverne By The Sea and Edgemere this past weekend. I hoped to see a few flyby birds while we splashed in the waves. We were happy to find that a big chunk of beach was blocked off for breeding coastal birds. This area allows hundreds of birds of multiple species to nest and raise their young. Birds flew by, fished, and even came in close enough for easy pictures!

Piping Plovers need beaches!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Are all yellow-rumped warblers Yellow-rumped Warblers?

So many yellow-rumped warblers!

A Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle, the common subspecies
in Eastern North America), colloquially called "butterbutts" 

Yes, Yellow-rumped Warblers are abundant migrants during spring migration where I live. However, the "butterbutts," as many call Yellow-rumped Warblers, are not alone in being yellow-rumped.

Butterbutt? Nope, but it does have a yellow rump... read on.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Marvelous May Migrants at NYBG

Prairie Warbler, NYBG, 5/3/2018
It's spring migration! I get to see birds that I have not seen since 2017 and hear their songs, many of which I have not heard live since spring 2017. I have been looking and listening mainly at New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), especially in its forest along the Bronx River. Spring migration won't last long, however, and in just a few weeks, I probably will not see these birds again until at least August. Enjoy them while they are here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Birding with baby and toddler- Get them involved!

Perspective of a toddler? She snapped this one!

I was sitting on a small bridge on a trail, watching shorebirds in a marsh. She seemed to be enjoying brushing her hands on the wildflowers along the edge and stamping back and forth along the bridge itself. An adult Bald Eagle flew over and I stood up to snap a few quick pics. The bird started to circle. It was probably one of my better chances to get a good photo of an eagle in flight. But I looked down at my daughter, now tugging on my pant leg. She wanted the camera, because it has buttons and a screen, and it is a fun toy. I put the camera down and picked her up instead. I pointed to the eagle, and we watched it as circled directly overhead twice more, then rode a wind to the south. I did not get the photograph, but we shared a moment that has more meaning than megapixels.