1 December 2019
I went back to Morningside Park again today, before the nasty weather set in. It was the same area I had visited Thursday morning. Once again, I saw a mockingbird squabbling with some bluejays; it may have been the same three birds. I also saw a red-bellied woodpecker again; today, it was far more cooperative than it was on Thanksgiving morning and I got some nice shots.
2 December 2019
In honor of the first snow of the season, here are some pictures from March 2018 and 2019.
7 December 2019
I found myself with unexpected free time when I more or less had to be near Central Park anyway, so of course I went in… Walking in the Loch, along the stream, I spotted this great blue heron across the stream. I was astonished—I'd never seen one there, and if I were to guess I'd say that there aren't any fish in that location, but I figure the heron knows better than I do.
8 December 2019
Today, I went on a bald eagle walk run by the New York City Parks Department. It was a pleasant walk through the woods, though initially very disappointing when it came to birds—any birds. We reached the end of the route and turned around. It was a rather large group, about 30 people, so about half headed back to the starting point along the road, while the rest retraced our steps through the woods. We were about 5 minutes away from the parking lot when one of the birders spotted the eagle. It stayed put for quite a while—my own pictures spanned about 10 minutes—before flying south. But it didn't fly very far and we were able to locate it again. That's the last picture—backlit, many branches in the way, and at longer range. As one birder said, though, on a normal bird walk we'd be thrilled with that good a sighting. Today, it almost didn't count.
One of the delights of birding is the opportunity to point out interesting birds to random passersby who would not otherwise have noticed them. (It was great, a few weeks ago, when I got to show a little kid a hawk eating a rat.) Today was especially sweet—a woman who was walking her dog told us of the hawks and owls she had seen in the park. She continued on her way, but luckily came back in time to see the eagle, a bird she'd never seen before.
12 December 2019
Sometimes, I photograph big, spectacular birds, like bald eagles, great blue herons, or red-tailed hawks. Other times, I take pictures of more common and modest subjects, such as this posing squirrel, a bluejay, and especially a white-throated sparrow enjoying a bath in very cold water.
20 December 2019
I had an appointment on the East Side of Manhattan today, so my route home took me through Central Park—and not just through the Park, but almost precisely through the Ramble, one of the best birding sites in it. And from the Ramble, I could walk up to W 98th street, where a juvenile red-bellied woodpecker has been hanging out. Naturally, I brought my camera…
21 December 2019
I went on another NYC Parks Department bald eagle walk. We did see see a couple of eagles, though they were pretty far out over the Hudson. After the walk, a couple of other folks and I went back into Inwood Hill Park looking for an owl that had been seen there; alas, we couldn't find it today.
When I got home, I looked up at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and spotted one of their red-tailed hawks. I also photographed some cardinals in the snow in Morningside Park.
24 December 2019
I went for a walk today in Morningside and Riverside Parks. It was a great excursion: a great blue heron in Morningside Park that came so close that I had to zoom out, and two different kinds of hawks, one in each park. The hawk in Morningside Park was quite content with its perch; two of the photos are more than an hour apart.
25 December 2019
I should have been working, but it was too nice a day, so I went for a long walk with my camera. This picture took the prize for the day.
The next picture was taken in Morningside Park; the rest are from Central Park.
28 December 2019
Since the “real” media does year-end roundups, I figured I could as well. These are my 30 favorite bird photos of this year. (I supposed I could wait three more days and try for some more—but if I manage any more shots I love, I'll simply post an update…)
These are my favorites because—well, because I like them. Most (though not all) are, I think, very good or excellent photographically. There are some rare birds included, but also soem very common ones. Often, it's just the pose that I like.
Oh, and why 30? Because narrowing it down to some other multiple of five was too hard.
Enjoy! (And for those new to this blog: there are always high-resolution versions of each of the pictures—just click through. Your browser's “View image” function is helpful if you want to see the largest version.)