Archive for November, 2012

After the Storm

My November BirdWalk was scheduled just days after Super Storm Sandy (or was it a hurricane) blasted through the region. As you might expect despite, or because of, water damage, downed trees, power outages, blocked roads, lack of heat, gas shortage and other storm related events, the turnout was limited.

I had spent recent days cooped up inside, not venturing far from home so my awareness of conditions was limited. My first real insight came when I turned off the Bronx River Parkway and into the parking area at Crestwood Lake. Barricades across the road. Downed and drooping overhead wires. Yellow police tape blocking the entrance to the path.

The birds must have been aware also because not many of them showed up. Enough, though, to make the walk enjoyable. I had two memorable sightings.
The first was a close-up view (maybe 10 ft away) of Green-winged Teal in morning light. The coloring was vivid. 





My second highlight was Hooded Mergansers, not as colorful as the teal. Attired mostly in basic black and white. But with the classic elegance of Fred Astaire in top hat and tails. However, mergansers are not as graceful as Fred. In fact, they can seem clumsy especially when they decide to fly from the water surface. Unlike dabbling ducks which just spring into the air and fly away, mergansers have to run across the water surface for 20-30 yards with their flat feet slapping at the water until they gain enough forward momentum to become airborne. The sound and sight is comical. Still I like them. I still recall the first one I saw at Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca and how I was amazed that a vision in black and white could look so colorful.

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