Thursday, 12 April 2012

Water birds of New York

Most of the photos below were taken in Central Park, with the exception of the Brent Geese which were on the East River near Brooklyn Bridge.

Perhaps the star bird of the holiday for me, there were about 8 Buffleheads on Central Park Reservoir.

Hooded Merganser, a new bird for me. This is a female.

There were lots of Double-crested Cormorants, many with very obvious crests.

Quite a rarity in the UK these days, a Ruddy Duck in a place where it is still welcome. Ruddy Ducks have of course been culled to almost extinction in the UK for the sin of being an alien species, yet if we're going to talk about aliens, what shall we say about the two commonest species in Central Park, Starlings and House Sparrows, neither of which should be there, and both of which probably compete with native American species, at least for breeding sites?

Common Loon (Great northern Diver) on Central Park reservoir. Not a great photo, but a bird I was very pleased to see. Although it's the same species, I've always wanted to see a loon rather than a diver, and on this holiday I managed to see both Common and Red-throated Loon.

American Coot

Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the East River at Brooklyn Bridge. Confusingly, the Americans call this species Black Brant, but they are actually Pale-bellied Brent. What UK birders call Black Brant (e.g. the bird I saw in Norfolk in February) is the race / species of Brent which occurs on the Pacific coast of North America and in eastern Siberia. Like most birds in New York, they were amazingly approachable. I don't remember ever getting this close to Brent Geese in the UK. There were also a couple of 1st winter Buffleheads on the river here.

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