Wednesday, June 7, 2017

May Highlights

Highlights from May

May 16th: The winds overnight were forecast to bring very little migration, but during that morning, the trees were dripping with warblers. During the time I birded in the morning and the afternoon, I saw 23 warbler species, a new record!

I saw a Mourning Warbler feeding on late termite hatchout in a tree on May 28th with others. Also added Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher that day

Very cooperative Kentucky Warbler at Washington Square Park

Very cooperative Blue Grosbeak at Battery Park

2 Summer Tanagers in Central Park

Managed to get Purple Finch singing in the spring on the first of May.

Not highlights

Missed Spotted Sandpiper quite a few times, even one by seconds! Also do not have Willow Flycatcher.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

First Few Weeks of May Highlights

Here is my list of highlights from last last few weeks in taxonomic order:

Eastern Whip-Poor-Will: Seen on 5/7 at the Hallet Sanctuary. Lifer!

Common Nighthawk: Seen on 5/8 at Summit Rock and 5/9 in the Ramble. Both sleeping.

Least Sandpiper: A flock of them were seen on Governors Islamd on 5/7

Red-Headed Woodpecker: One at feeders in beginning of May

White-Eyed Vireo: Heard-only at Belvedere Castle

Yellow-Throated Vireo: One during the month

Worm-Eating Warbler: About 4 seen

Louisiana Waterthrush: 1 on 5/16 at Laupot Bridge

Tennessee Warbler: 1 seen at Turtle Pond early in the month

KENTUCKY WARBLER: Washington Sqaure Park on 5/12. Lifer!

Hooded Warbler: few

Bay-Breasted Warbler: Several

Blackburnian Warbler: Several

White-Crowned Sparrow: Maintenance Meadow beginning of May.

SUMMER TANAGER: female on Sunday at Maintenance Meadows, excellent views of male at Azalea Pond today (5/17)

BLUE GROSBEAK: Battery Park 5/9. Lifer!

Orchard Oriole: 2

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Transitioning to May

On Thursday, April 27th, a new wave of migrants finally started to arrive. In Mugger's Woods I added House Wren and Black-Throated Blue and Green Warblers. At Tupelo Meadow, I added Veery, and at Evodia Field, I added a beautiful Scarlet Tanager. The next day, I added a pair of Solitary Sandpipers hanging around several large puddles at the Compost Heap (this is at the north end), several newly-arrived Grey Catbirds, and a Great Crested Flycatcher and Baltimore Oriole at Evodia Field. On April 29th, I added a whopping 15 species to the year list. These included 9 warbler species, including Hooded Warbler (FOY for park) at Strawberry Fields and Evodia Field, Tennessee Warbler at the Upper Lobe (and likely Bethesda Terrace), a few Blackpoll Warblers (early but here for some reason), and a Cape May and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER around Tanner's Spring. Other nice species were Yellow-Throated Vireo at Humming Tombstone and White-Crowned Sparrow at Tanner's Spring. The next day, an extremely rare LEAST BITTERN appeared high up in a tree above the Gill, and I got manageable views of this elusive heron.

May Arrives!

On May 1 (Monday), I headed to the Pool for a Lincoln's Sparrow. It took a minute to find it, but it provided great views. As I was walking to the Ravine entrance, I heard a weird song that sounded like a mix between a Warbling Vireo and a House Finch. I was able to locate the singer, which was a Purple Finch, a new year bird for me! In the North Woods, I was able to locate a reported Hooded Warbler, and FINALLY added Winter Wren (a little late) in the Loch. I then went to the Ramble, where I found a beautiful Orchard Oriole at Evodia Field. On Tuesday, I was able to add Tree Swallow at the Reservoir and two male Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks at the feeders. On Wednesday, I added Northern Rough-Winged Swallow at the Reservoir, a few Magnolia Warblers, and a Red-Eyed Vireo at Maintenance Meadow. Now at 135 species for the year, I'm looking forward to Sunday, which seems like it will be an amazing day. Coincidentally, the first day of the second week of May last year was also great, producing one of the most amazing birding days in Central Park that anyone can remember. Will lightning strike twice?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April Migrants + RARITIES!!!

Since my last post a week ago, birding has felt really strange. The park has been less active, with less migrants being added than this time last year, but rarities make up most of that. My first year addition from this new wave of migrants was on Thursday, April 20th, when I went to the Point hoping for a Yellow Warbler that had been seen that morning. I heard the bird (#90) sing, but it took me a while to actually find it. The next day, it became pretty quiet like the rest of time through today. I did however, spot a previously reported Belted Kingfisher (#91) at the Point.

Now to get to the first rarity: Wild Turkey. On Thursday evening, a turkey was spotted in the Loch by one person and wasn't refound. Then on Friday evening, it was spotted roosting in the Ramble. Then on Saturday it was seen near the Boathouse and later near Falconer's Hill. That's when I decided to look for it. Since it seemed to be moving south, I searched the entire southern third of the park to no avail...until I went back to Falconer's Hill. The Wild Turkey (#92) was right there in the open! It's times like this that birding makes you go in circles, but this time it paid off. Also, I went to the Upper Lobe and saw a previously reported Northern Parula (#93) in a mixed flock.

On Sunday, I added a Green Heron (#94) in the Oven after missing it the past few days, and then searched for an Orange-Crowned Warbler that has been sighted all around the western half of the Ramble. Right when I was about to give up, it was reported near Bow Bridge. When I got there, it (#95) was surprisingly up in a tree, not the typical understory habitat you expect to find one in!

On Monday, a fellow birder named Kai told me about a few birds he saw, including a singing Warbling Vireo by the MET museum. I went over there, saw nothing, and was about to give up when I heard a familiar sound. I followed it and located the vireo (#97) in a cherry tree. Then, I went to Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island to search for a pair of recently reported Purple Sandpipers, a very rare species in the county. During my first scan on the rocks they were typically on, I did not see any sandpipers. After a bit of scanning the river, I decided to do a second "mercy" scan, and surpisingly, I picked up two shorebirds feeding on the rocks. Purple Sandpipers (#98)!

On Tuesday, I went for a brief chase for a White-Eyed Vireo and Blue-Winged Warbler at Sparrow Rock. There was almost nothing in the park, so I tried for these two uncommon, but expected species. I went there, but only found the Blue-Winged Warbler, which offered great looks just above my head. The next day, I decided to go Sparrow Rock for the vireo, as well as the Rustic Shelter for a BARRED OWL (last one was in 2013) that was reported. I ran into Kai just after I entered the park who said he just had a Laughing Gull on the Reservoir, which wasn't that hard to pick out (#99). I then went to Sparrow Rock, I found Kai looking at a pair of male Indigo Buntings (#100)! Unfourtunately, there appeared to be no vireo, and I went down to the Ramble for the owl. The Barred Owl (#101) was awake and provided great views. I had only seen this species in the park in 2013, where one hung out at the Pinetum for months.

I have finally breached the 100 species mark! I am not far off from last year, being only a day late. Despite the seemingly silent period of what was a time of plenty last year, I am still confident that I can make up lost migration with the coming month.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cleaning Up the Missed Migrants

I have continued to pick up more migrants since Thursday. The first new birds were on Saturday. I heard of a report of a Field Sparrow in a meadow near the upper lobe. Even though this report was hours old, I was still able to find the bird (#82). I soon received a report of a mixed flock in the Swampy Pin Oak that included a Blue-Headed Vireo. I found this bird (#83) without too much effort. On Sunday, I went up to the Loch to try to find a Northern Waterthrush. It took a while, but eventually, I located this slightly early migrant (#84). To top it off, I had a heard-only Hairy Woodpecker (#85) there as well. On Monday, I thought I would end up with no new birds, but at the Pinetum, I had a surprise flyover of an Osprey (#86). On Tuesday, I had a new sense of determination. Despite no reports that day, I decided to go to the Loch in search of Louisiana Waterthrush, which I saw (#87). I then went to the Grassy Knoll for Savannah Sparrows, where I had found just 1 Chipping Sparrow a few days before. Instead, I found a few Chipping Sparrows and 4 Savannah Sparrows (#88)! Just when I thought I was done, a Barn Swallow flew over at the Reservoir to raise my year list to 89 species. With virtually all bases covered, all I have to do is wait for the next wave of migrants to show up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CATTLE EGRET + Mid-April Migrants

On Friday, I went looking for new migrants. I had no luck, until I stumbled across a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (#76) at The Point. I will certainly see hundreds of these birds this year. Just as I was about to exit the park, I thought I heard something that sounded like a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher by the Pilgrim Statue, and I found one (#77) hanging around the cherry trees there. This was about a week later than my first one last year, but this is the typical arrival time of these tiny insectivores. On Tuesday, a CATTLE EGRET was found on a residental lawn in Chelsea, which is the last place you would expect this first county record on land to be. Nevertheless, I took the C train over there and got great looks at this bird (#78) foraging on the lawn. Today I went looking for migrants after the good winds the night before. My first new migrant was a Yellow-Rumped Warbler (#79) at The Point, surprisingly a female. I saw several more today, all of which were males. After finding many of the usual migrants, I went up to The Loch to search for a reported Prairie Warbler, which is a bit early. When I arrived there, there were several birders looking at a large warbler flock featuring several Pine, Palm, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. It took a while, but eventually I got great looks at the Prairie Warbler (#80). I still have not seen Louisiana Waterthrush, but likely will soon. My next year additions will likely be Savannah Sparrow, Black-and-White Warbler, and Blue-Headed Vireo, since reports of them are starting to come in.

Friday, April 7, 2017

First April Year Additions

On Saturday, I went out birding in the park. While migrants were basically the same as the week prior, I did add a Hermit Thrush (#72) to my year list at Tupelo Meadow, my first April addition, and one that I somehow missed in winter despite finding it multiple times in that season last year. Meanwhile, reports of Chipping Sparrows and Palm Warblers began to trickle in, and I was determined to find them for myself. On Monday I did just that, and found a pair of Chipping Sparrows (#73) with a junco flock at the Pinetum (along with a third at the Pinetum), and a Palm Warbler (#74) at Tupelo Meadow. On Wednesday, nothing really changed in terms of migrants, other than a few isolated reports of Louisiana Waterthrush and Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (I will likely get both in the next week or so), but a Great Egret (#75) had finally made claim to Turtle Pond, and greeted a visiting pair of Ring-Necked Ducks. The egret typically arrives here at the end of March or the first few days of April, while the ducks are rare, but I saw a pair in February on the Reservoir and a male there in March.

The migrants I have been seeing include many phoebes and Golden-Crowned Kinglets, along with smaller numbers of Pine and Palm Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, and Hermit Thrushes.