Old Friends

Originally published 2013

There are so many gorgeous sights to see in Central Park, especially in the summer. While the warblers have gone north for a while, leaving me less frustrated than I was when they were here, there are still wonderful birds and animals hanging out in the hot weather. See the previous posting links below to see these friends in the winter and spring. Now we get serious about the summer. I post almost daily on Facebook (feel free to friend me and let me know you saw my pictures on this site), but here are some of my favorites. The mallards and wood ducks have been molting, which apparently our dear friend Woody is not too amused by.

There are now two wood ducks at the Pond (the water across from the Plaza). Not Woody (the one that isn't Woody — my not-so-original shorthand name for him) began to molt first. I at first thought Woody was just refusing to molt, given how stunning his feathers are. But soon I saw him begin the process. He became a very, very cranky little wood duck.

After the Fourth of July, both wood ducks had pretty much lost most of the old feathers and are now looking very similar. I can tell them apart more by behavior than looks. Woody squawks and squeaks and snaps at the mallards. Not Woody is a bit more intimidated by them. Both ducks love peanuts, and both wait for me at the south end of the Pond to bring them a bag full of treats. The mallards soon come rushing over.

The photograph to the left shows Woody at the beginning of his molt.

Woody is now returning to his Prince of the Pond look. We await his return to full plumage.

The egret at the Pond has provided hours of joy as I have watched him stalk the fish and just hang out and preen. My files include some glorious shots, but here are some more of my favorites.

In April, I saw my first duckling, but it did not appear again, and I fear that it didn't survive. But now there is a family of a mama mallard and her seven ducklings that live at the Pond, and it has been a joy to watch them grow up. Mama has done a fantastic job of keeping her ducklings safe and teaching them how to find food.

It is exciting to see new birds, and it was especially exciting to spot a green heron at Bank Rock Bay in early June. It was the only day I saw the heron, and I spent a few hours taking pictures. These are my two favorites.

The black-crowned night heron, which right now is more blue-crowned, has been a constant joy this spring and summer. There is at least one at the Lake, and four at the Pond. The shot on the left is the Lake heron. I am not sure whether the shot on the right is the Lake heron or one of the Pond herons.

Of course, the mallards, smaller birds and raccoons have provided hours and hours of pleasure as I've watched and photographed them. I am especially fond of the catbirds, with their red rear ends. The cormorants have been fun, and the fish and tadpoles interesting subjects. These shots are some of my favorites.

On June 29, I was walking in the Ramble when a couple stopped me and asked if I'd seen any park rangers. Apparently someone had dropped some rabbits into the bird feeder area. I couldn't believe someone had been so cruel, but sure enough, when I reached that area, I saw the white rabbit below. I felt so helpless, since it was after hours and I have learned it is difficult to find park employees to rescue animals after hours or on weekends.

I never saw the rabbit again after this day.

But the raccoons are doing well. Seeing them makes me happy.