I hope we see something! I thought to myself as we began our walk to the India Street Pier to look at water fowl. Not just pigeons and those little brown birds.
An early and warm winter morning on the East River put everyone in a “this is a great way to start the day” mood. Peter’s scope, and his wealth of bird knowledge, helped us discover what normally appear to be “just ducks” or “just geese” are a diverse world of birds we never knew hung out in Brooklyn.
Just off the pier we saw: Black Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, Gadwalls, Double Crested Cormorants, Mallards, Ring Bill Gulls, Herring Gulls, Black Back Gulls, Red Breasted Merganser and Brants.
These are all species that either live here or pass through the area. Peter explained that birds use the East River as guide for their migrations and stop in calm areas, like the Bushwick Inlet Park, for rest and relaxation, which is where we saw a Scaup.
After learning about water fowl, we headed toward McCarren Park. We had already seen so many species on the water but deep down, my hope was that we spot at least one hawk. I talk up all the Greenpoint hawks and I was getting nervous as we got closer to the park.
But, as we turned the corner, there they were, the courting pair of red tailed hawks. I’d never seen the two together and it was like we timed the spectacle. They were flying and squawking above the Automotive HS, giving us a grand welcome.
Then a Northern Mockingbird was running around the field, behavior not common for this type of bird. “Sometimes it’s not just the bird that is interesting, it is the behavior,” Peter said.
Next we passed through Lentol Gardens, which is a great birding area because of all the holly trees. There we saw a white throated sparrow, not to be confused with English Sparrows, those little brown birds we see everywhere. We also spotted a Blue Jay, a Cardinal, Starlings and Mourning Doves.
Last stop was McGolrick Park, where I hoped we would see a woodpecker. I had seen a Downy Woodpecker there a few weeks back. But we only saw the perfectly spaced out drill holes in the tree bark. “Every day is different,” Peter assured me.
By then we were pretty birded out, and ended the tour perfectly with a big fat Polish meal at Northside Baking Company. Thanks again to Peter, for donating his time and expertise to introduce Greenpointers to our bird neighbors.
Join the Brooklyn Bird Club and check upcoming Brooklyn Birding Trips.