Winter birds

Last week, saw a loon fishing in the river. (What kind? Who knows? I have a little trouble differentiating one loon from another. May come from living in NYC.) This icy frigid morning, a female bufflehead; and then a long line of black dots flying north out in the middle of the river, just above the surface. At first I thought they were cormorants, they were flying so low, but beyond them was another group, and another behind them. I realized these were the Brant geese, who come down in huge flocks to the mouth of the river. These flocks break into smaller groups that deposit themselves in their winter feeding grounds, which is what was going on this morning. So the Brants and buffleheads are here at last, and the occasional wintering loon will come and go. I’ll have to go out to Dead Horse Bay to see the scaup. When I do, I’ll post photos.

Meanwhile, signs have gone up in the neighborhood urging people to leave berries on their fire escapes for out poor Crouch’s Kingbird, who is way, way out of his range up here — got caught in a storm or some such. The birding paparazzi have been running around the neighborhood for weeks, trying to catch sight of him to add to their life lists. I don’t keep a list, but I did see him, zipping back and forth between two trees, grabbing bugs. It’s too cold for bugs anymore — he’s been here some nearly two months — but they also eat berries, and I hear the robins and cardinals have been showing him how to deal with the tiny fruits of the callery pears. If people actually do leave him berries on their fire escapes, the guy might make it after all.

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