I had some spare time this week after being released a couple of hours early from jury duty and used that time well, birding Kissena Corridor Park in central Queens, which has been a hot spot for a variety of good birds this fall. While I didn’t discover any rarities during my birding I did spend quite a bit of time watching several species of birds feeding on hawthorn berries. Hawthorn, sometimes called thornapple, is the common name of the genus of shrubs and trees called Crataegus. The berries of hawthorn, often bright red, are used in a variety of dishes around the world. And, of course, birds love them!
I had a great time watching European Starlings trying to grab and eat berries in the brisk and gusty wind that was blowing the branches – and the fruit – every which way. It didn’t look easy but the berries must be delicious and nutritious because the birds wouldn’t give up! Once I got home and looked at the shots I got I was pleased, both because the images were pretty good (at least, I think so) and because they really captured how gorgeous starlings, an often underappreciated bird in the United States (to say the least), can be. In several of the shots that I got you can see the bird’s nictating membrane, the translucent eye covering that birds use to protect their eyes. It only made sense with the way the wind was blowing and how many twigs were around each fruit that the birds would want to keep their eyes from getting poked.
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Have you ever seen “The Village”?
No, Robert, I have not. Are there starlings eating hawthorn in it?
Beautifully captured… simply awesome
Your photos just had some M. Night Shyamalan qualities to them. He uses small red objects in many of his movies to indicate something special or spooky. In “The Village”, the “red” was much more overt. It’d be a good flick for you to watch over the Halloween weekend.
I might have to check it out…
I enjoyed “The Village”, definitely worth watching. Change “might have to” to “will”.
Although, having your “Big Year” review in mind, …
Kissena Corridor Park has been something of a hotspot this year, but unfortunately I have not been getting there recently.
Kissena Park is very good for birding. It is the closest park to my home, and I have spent many days birding there. People who go to the park regularly started to recognize me and ask how the birding was going. Until recently Kissena Park didn’t get a lot of attention. I like to think that all of the lists I submitted on ebird put the park on the birding map 😉
The pictures are great. They make something as commonplace as starlings something special.