I went to Brightwood Park before 7 AM Sunday and found a few wood ducks settled in the bushes. The ducks did not appear to mind me taking their photographs, and I hope this is a sign of trust building.
While I was paying my full attention to the wood ducks, I heard a noise from my side. It was a rusty blackbird, seemingly trying to get my attention. The fellow appeared to be a little narcissistic. When it saw itself in the water, its eyesight was locked to the image. For a good 5 minutes or so, the bird would not leave the spot. It was like a replay of the fairy tale of the young prince, which I read in my childhood.
Blue jays have totally different characters. They have much healthier self-esteem, singing, dancing, and enjoying themselves whenever and wherever they can, alone or in groups.
A few geese were swimming in the large pond. Two of them approached me as if they were asking: "Did you bring coffee and bagel for us?" Others were having a good time eating and drinking from the pond, occasionally swimming or flying around.
Among the birds I observed last year, the blue jays were the dominant species.. They were highly territorial and forced the owls to terminate the lease on the famous tree hole. This year another species is taking over and are much milder and friendly: northern flickers. You can hear their sound like machine gun firing or like old Shanghai grandmas lecturing young children with no pause or break.
This morning I first saw a northern flicker standing by a hole on a tree. The bird looked around carefully and made sure no one (except me) was spying, and quickly entered the hole which apparently was its home.
I then headed toward the park entrance to finish my morning walk. All of a sudden I heard several birds making strange noises. It turned out to be a group of northern flickers partying on trees between the trail and Prospect Street. They seemed to have a lot of fun. Some of them were performing and spread their tails like outfits of gypsy dancers. Some others were playing hide-and-seek as if in an opera. A few would pair up and sing intervals. I did notice that some of them were dozing off, perhaps they got up too early because of peer pressure of going to the party.
For a while I saw northern flickers extending their wings and tails while they flew. But I was too slow to catch the pretty yellow color for picture-taking. This morning it seemed that my prayers were answered more than what I asked for. In addition to seeing the bird's beautiful color display of the feathers, there were multiple birds gathering on a stage right in front of me, opposite to the nature of these timid birds. They danced and sang new songs. What a special treat and a Sunday blessing!
I am a frequent visitor of Brightwood Park and enjoy sharing my discoveries.
Brightwood Park is on the North end of Prospect Street. Go past Franklin School and look for the entrance on the left.