Monday, February 19, 2018

Birders Shouldn't Overlook Tiny Parks

 It was a pleasant Sunday morning with a light coating of freshly fallen snow decorating the landscape. I decided to visit a handful of the tiniest parks in town. 

My first stop was Ravine Park. It consists of a short trail that follows along side a tiny brook. It is well protected by a steep hill making it a very comfortable place to visit on a windy day. I could visualize sitting here on a warm summer day sipping iced tea as chickadees came down from the trees to pick sunflower seeds from my wide-brimmed straw hat. Birds seem to take a liking to shallow brooks like this one as I can imagine that most birds prefer to avoid drowning.I saw a handful of finches,sparrows, wrens and woodpeckers here.

I don't particularly enjoy count huge numbers of birds. There are some places I just decide that there are too many to count but it only took me 15 minutes or so to make a list of all the birds here. There are huge parks with that you can spend hours hiking around taking in the scenery to the point of exhaustion. But it only took me 20 minutes to slowly walk around and take in all that natural beauty of this tiny park.
 I found this Goldfinch at the miniature Middletown nature gardens. one of the advantages of coming here is that there is always food for birds to eat. They seem to be more tolerant of human presence here because people are always walking there dogs here.Birds seem to be easier to observe right after it snows too. their behavior seems to change as they seem to be to be too preoccupied eating to pay much attention to people.
 I also stopped at Butternut Hollow which has a little pond located next to an apartment complex.My first thought was there was probably just the usual Mallards and Canada Geese here.
 Upon closer look I was pleasantly surprised to see their were a couple of hooded Mergansers mixed in.
I took one more careful look and was shocked to find 3 Northern Pintail swimming around in this little urban pond! It's always better to check than to assume you know what's in that little pond you're passing by!
 My last stop was at a puny little city park called the Frank S. Merszalek park. It had a small open ball field thinly bordered by deciduous trees and brush. I almost kept driving because I thought, surely there is nothing special to see here. Then I took a closer look and saw some old industrial buildings with a waterfall behind it. That type of scenery appeals to my nostalgic side. I decided to walk the property which would take me no longer that 10 minutes anyway.
I walked to the back corner where there was an old broken foundation bordered by a chain link fence. I did a little pish pish sound and up pops a Gray Catbird! I see plenty of these during the year but in the summer, not in the middle of winter! 

It was a pleasant morning of birding for me requiring very little time and effort. It made me think that we shouldn't judge a park just by it's size or popularity. I know that birds certainly don't!


Michelle said...

Lovely photos and the Goldfinch is my favorite.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog - I read every entry. Like you, I take a local approach to birding, and like you, I like the little nooks and crannies and the surprises that are often found therein that most people would miss because the pass right by. Near where I live there is a dead-end street with a little wetland and not much else, and I like to just BE there and wait to see what comes by.

What a treat for you to have seen the mergansers and pintails! That's the prize you get for stopping to play "duck, duck, goose" :-)

Larry said...

Anonymous:thanks for the comments which were better than most of the posts I write.