After birding Jamaica Bay with Mike on Saturday I had no choice but to walk through Forest Park on my way home after getting off the bus.  Such a tough task but I guess there are worse experiences possible.  The birds were active and I added several new birds to my Forest Park list, now totaling twenty-nine species.  That number should soon go up as I plan on exploring parts of the western section of the park soon, including a pond whose existence I was unaware of until a fellow birder clued me in to its location.  Anyway, this is just a quick post to share a couple of the sightings I had on Saturday on my walk home…

The highlight was definitely, as usual, the birds around the waterhole.  This little kettle pool with heavy undergrowth all around it and in it attracts birds like Britney Spears attracts paparazzi.  Watching two Rusty Blackbirds, the first I’ve seen in Forest Park, forage along the edge of it was worth the walk in and of themselves, but when I got to see a Common Grackle next to a Rusty Blackbird I was amazed at how the rusty was dwarfed.  If I had a picture I’d share it but I don’t, so instead I’ll show you another bird that was new for Forest Park for me, a Fox Sparrow.

Fox Sparrow at Forest Park, Queens, NY

And, no, that is not snow in the background but litter.  Sigh.

Also at the waterhole I was surprised to see my usual sitting rock had been co opted for use as a platform feeder.  I didn’t mind as I just sat on a nearby log and watched the birds come in to feed.  I was amazed at the diversity of birds eating the seed: everything from Red-bellied Woodpeckers to Black-capped Chickadees to this Blue Jay.

Blue Jay at Forest Park, Queens, NY

But I was really surprised when a Hermit Thrush jumped up on the log in front of me, in almost the exact spot the Carolina Wren had, and posed for a brief second.

Hermit Thrush at Forest Park, Queens, NY

And I was even more surprised when the same Hermit Thrush made its way over to the rock-as-platform-feeder and proceeded to scarf down seed.  I had never seen a Hermit Thrush eating seeds before but I guess it makes sense for this oft-wintering thrush.  It did get me perhaps the oddest trio of birds in one shot that I’ve managed to get yet.

Forest Park feeder medley

Hermit Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco and Downy Woodpecker

Forest Park, my home away from home…

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.