This afternoon, I went through the park south for the Northern Pintail that I missed on my last few attempts. Along the way, I added a Northern Flicker (#45) near the MET, and a Cooper's Hawk (#46) at Maintenance Meadow. I then got to the pond. On my first scan, I didn't see the Northern Pintail, but I saw it (#47) shortly after. While looking at the ducks in the Pond, I spotted two sparrows foraging right at the side of the path. The first was a Song Sparrow, but the second was a Swamp Sparrow (#48)! I know I will see this bird in the spring, but I wasn't sure if I could find a wintering one. A great day, and hopefully I'm on track to break my record of 56 birds set last month. Here is an overview of what I saw last year in January but not this January (yet), and vice versa.
What I saw this year but not last year
What I saw last year but not this year
Gadwall (likely to see)
Great Horned Owl
American Kestrel (likely to see)
Peregrine Falcon (likely to see)
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Today I went into the park with targets in mind. These were the continuing Northern Pintail at the Pond and a Red-Headed Woodpecker found yesterday just west of 5th avenue and 68th street. I first went for the woodpecker, and I got brief looks at the immature bird (#41) before it disappeared into a hole in a tree. I then went for the pintail, and I saw all the ducks at the pond but the pintail. Along with the American Black Ducks, Green-Winged Teal, and American Coot, I added a male Wood Duck to my year list. I then went back up to the woodpecker spot, where I got a few more looks. After that, I headed to the bird feeders, where I added a trio of Brown-Headed Cowbirds (#43). I then headed up to the Reservoir, adding two Red-Breasted Nuthatches along the way. When I got there, I scanned the waterfowl as usual. But when I put my binoculars down, I saw three large birds soaring in the distance heading south towards me. These were Turkey Vultures (#44)! Later that day, I found out the same situation happened as on January 1st, the Northern Pintail was hiding from me! Guess I have to chase it another day!
Saturday, January 7, 2017
I went skiing today in Mount Vernon, New Jersey. But before I got there, I added two new year birds this morning on the way there. The first was a flyover Double-Crested Cormorant over a gas station at 96th street and 1st avenue, and the second was a flock of up to 100 Brant in the East River around 110th street.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Today I went by the Reservoir and Ramble on yet another sweep of the park to get year birds. Today I added two new ones, which were a single Northern Shoveler (where'd they all go?) at the Reservoir and a Fox Sparrow at the feeders. My total is now at 38 species, and this number will hopefully rise to 45 or 50 within the next several days.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Today I had limited time, which I spent at the Reservoir and Turtle Pond. The Reservoir had the usual ducks other than my unseen Gadwalls and Northern Shovelers, but I did see a Pied-Billed Grebe (#35) there. Turtle Pond is often another good place for shovelers, but there were none there today, but a Brown Creeper (#36) was a consolation prize. Both of these additions are regular winterers that I was pretty sure I would see by the end of the month, if not within the first week.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
In my effort to bird as much as possible, I decided to go briefly to the Pinetum and Reservoir today despite the rain. I first went to the Pinetum, where my main target was Red-Breasted Nuthatch, where they have been seen recently. There were hardly any birds around, but somehow I was able to spot a tiny bird flying between the pine trees. A quick look through my binoculars confirmed my suspicion that it was a Red-Breasted Nuthatch (#34). I felt that I had a good chance of getting this species this month, but if I didn't get it now, there was a much lower chance that I would get it in the fall, so it would be better to get it this winter. I'm off to a bit of a slow start compared to other ebirders (only #16!), but hopefully I can play catchup in the next week, as there are still many common and regular species I haven't seen (Northern Shoveler, Double-Crested Cormorant, etc.). Stay tuned!
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Today started out with a scan from my building's roof, which yielded my first birds of the year, which were Ring-Billed Gulls, American Crow, Rock Pigeons, and Herring Gull. I then went to the front garden where I added House Sparrows, starlings, and American Robin. At the park, I had a decent list of 33 species, including all previously mentioned. At the Pond, a lingering Northern Pintail must've been hiding (it was seen today), but the lingering male Green-Winged Teal provided great looks. Not a bad way to start the new year off!