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Pine Siskin

I have a few Central Park species that I should have caught up with by now. One is the Pine Siskin, which I saw today, so I can finally cross it off my list!  About ten were at the Evodia field feeders early this afternoon.

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The Oven

The oven is a cove on the Lake of Central Park.  It attracts a good number of birds during each season, including the winter.

Today, there were a number of birds, including a Red-tailed Hawk, a Hermit Thrush, numerous Northern Cardinals, numerous Tufted Titmice, and a Cooper's Hawk that has been roosting in the same location nearby since at least early January.

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American Tree Sparrow

I had gone out in search of two birds that I didn't have on my Central Park list, the White-winged Crossbill and the Pine Siskin, but ended up with completely different bird for my list, the American Tree Sparrow  this afternoon.

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Drinking Red-tailed Hawk

I'm back in New York and finally had a chance to visit Central Park today.  Here are a few pictures of a young Red-tailed hawk taking a drink of water at one of the few ice free areas of the Lake today.

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Reef Bay Trail, St. John VI

A large portion of St. John is a national park.  The Reef Bay Trail in the park has been rated one of the ten best trails in the Caribbean.  It's a great deal of fun when you go on a guided Park Ranger tour.  The Park Service arranges for transportation to the top of the trail, provides a guide to the bottom of the trail and arranges for a boat to pick you up at the bottom!  No walking back uphill!

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Our transportation to the trail head.

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Our Park Ranger guide.

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Spider webs were everywhere on the way down.

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This plant can be used as a "Brillo pad".

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Lots of creepy crawly insects to avoid.

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Ruins from the days of the plantations.

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A few mushrooms.  Termites take care of most of the decaying materials, so there weren't that many mushrooms.

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Termites

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Waterfalls which had Petroglyphs below them.

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The Petroglyphs were where bats appear at night to drink.  It is believed that the islanders believed that the bats were angel like visitors.

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Mongooses were introduced to the Island to control rats.  However they are day hunters and ended up just being a second pest.

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The Park Service has to control their population, along with other introduced mammals such as donkeys, goats and deer.

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The Reef Bay Sugar Mill.

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After slavery was abolished, steam power was introduced without much success.

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Land Crabs

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Bats, the only native mammal on the island.

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At the bottom of the trail is a Salt Pond...

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and a nice beach area.

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If you bring a bathing suit, you can swim at the nice beach.

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The boat that takes you back to the Park Visitor's Center.


Brown Pelicans

St. John has a large population of Brown Pelicans, who fish close to the beaches.  They're fun to watch dive bombing for fish.

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Magnificent Frigatebird

I spent an extended Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.   While there I did some birding.  A new life bird for me was the Magnificent Frigatebird.  The males are all black, the females have a white chest, and the immature birds have a white head and chest.

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Central Park Hawks After The Snow

On Sunday, I spent the late afternoon looking for Long-eared Owls without success.  But I did run into a few hawks.

On the Beresford Apartments, was Pale Male in the oval window, and Lola soaking up the sun on a south facing ledge.

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This young hawk was in the Ramble making its way between the official and the not so official bird feeders looking for customers to eat.

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This Sharp-shinned Hawk, with prey in talons, was being chased by a Red-tailed Hawk near 69th Street and the West Drive.  The Sharp-shinned Hawk evaded the Red-tail and got away with its prey.  Everything happened too fast for me to capture the action, but it reminded me that winter is the time to see lots of raptors in New York City.

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Long-eared Owl in a Snow Storm

A Long-eared Owl ended up being found in a very unlikely place in Central Park on Saturday, during a snow storm.  The bird was in a small tree at the edge of the Reservoir.  A kind Central Park birder, who's name is unfortunately just on the tip of my tongue, walked 10 blocks in the storm to show me the bird! Thank you.

This season has had a number of Long-eared Owls, who only seem to be staying for a day or two.  Let's hope one or two of them end up staying a little while longer this winter.

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White Ibis Worm Wrestling

While down in the Everglades, I had a nice view of two White Ibises eating for about half an hour.  I never realized what a hard time an Ibis would have eating a long worm.  It was a struggle, as the worm did all it could not to be dinner.

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Croton-on-Hudson, Second Try

I finally made it to over 200 life birds today, with the 200th being a Bald Eagle and the 201st being a Common Merganser.  The pictures weren't that good today, but I'm having fun expanding my range outside of Central Park.

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Red-Shouldered Hawks in the Everglades

Red-Shouldered Hawks are rare visitors to Central Park, so it was a pleasure to see them in the Everglades over my Christmas/New Year's break while visiting Florida.

The first four photographs are of a juvenile bird, then some of two adults.  The last two are of an attack on an egret by a Red-shouldered Hawk at the Shark Valley Visitor's Center.  (I was the only one among about 30 visitors who noticed the attack.  I guess people being unaware of nature isn't only limited to the city!)

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Wild Turkey in the New Year

Central Park's Wild Turkey is doing just fine.  Wild Turkeys have done well in other Manhattan parks, including Morningside Park and Battery Park, so there is no reason to worry about this bird.  Yes, there are risks for the bird, but are they any greater than the risks in suburban or rural area of New York state?

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The uppertail coverts seem much more pronounced than in the late fall.

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