Monday, September 15, 2014

Just a Quick Announcement

I will constantly be updating my 2014 year list every time I add a new bird. So check back regularly! That is all.

Bad Migration Situation

Migration has been so slow this fall!

During a time when it is normal to get over a dozen warbler species in a few hours, most people are getting half that or even less. When someone would see a Black-and-White Warbler or American Redstart and shrug it off, they now cherish it. It seems like the only exception to this '2014 migration rule' is the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, which seems to be coming in good numbers and is almost certain in Central Park's Upper Lobe. Until yesterday, my best birds of the season for Central Park were Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Yellow Warbler, and not many others. On Sunday however, birds seemed to be showing themselves a bit more than usual. At The Oven, I saw a Magnolia Warbler followed by a glimpse of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher and then a flyover by a Scarlet Tanager. As I was leaving The Oven, I flushed a House Wren.

 After that, I saw mostly nothing (apart from a grosbeak in the upper lobe) until I got to Maintenance Field. Several birders there told me that there had been many sightings of Bald Eagles and Ospreys migrating overhead. As if on cue, we spotted a Bald Eagle high up in the sky, followed a few minutes later by a Red-Tailed Hawk and an Osprey flying together. I guess maybe I was wrong about grosbeaks being the only migrants in normal quantity. I also had a quick glimpse at a Prairie Warbler in flight there.

 I then went to Turtle Pond with a couple of other birders in search of a Canada Warbler (cherished due to lack of warblers) there. When we got there, we saw a few Gadwalls on the pond and I spotted 2 small birds in the tree above us. One was the Canada and we thought the other one was a Magnolia. As if it was furious that it was identified wrong, the second bird came down from the tree and landed in a smaller tree 10 feet from us so that we could see the Magnolia was actually a Northern Parula, which was much scarcer than most warblers this year. This day was better than most. 30 species was a good score considering it would normally be 50!

Species List: 30

Falcon or Accipter sp.
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
White-Breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Thrush sp.
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
House Finch
House Sparrow

One Birder's Day at Jamaica Bay

During the last week of August, I decided to try to visit Jamaica Bay. I went into the visitor's center and then went onto the East Pond Trail. At the start I saw a family group of kingbirds (new breeding species?) and an empidonax-type flycatcher. When I got to the pond I saw no sign of any shorebirds there, just some swans and a few Mallards and Black Ducks. I decided to try my luck at the west pond at the breach caused by Hurricane Sandy.

It was apparent that there were a lot more birds there. The breach entrance was lined with oystercatchers and a probable Willet was mixed in with them. Several small flocks of Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers were on the mudflats, along with a large flock of starlings that tried to mimic their feeding and flying formations there too. Also there were some terns and skimmers hanging out there as well. The highlight was a Little Blue Heron very far away on a distant mudflat. I also saw several Great Egrets there, and mockingbirds seemed to have took over the Osprey nest(I didn't see any Osprey that day). At the visitor's center I finished the day off with an Eastern Towhee in the center's birdbath. It was a good day

No bird list since all notable birds were previously mentioned besides an unidentified 'ground' warbler

P.S. I got bitten all over by the mosquitoes!

Friday, September 5, 2014

NYC Rarity Round Up (Part 1)

Hey guys! This post contains short summaries of all my rarity chases/ unexpected finds. They could be extremely hard to find birds like Cerulean Warbler, state rarities such as Painted Bunting, or ABA rarities such as Barnacle Goose. Without further ado, here is part one of  my Rarity Round Up!

 Barnacle Goose
December 23 2012
Van Cortland Park, Bronx

This bird was the third Barnacle Goose of the season and had been here for about a month. I made a trip up there to find it, most of it trying to find the ball fields where the geese were. Fortunately, the goose was in a flock of less than 50 birds not far from us. I saw birders there, but they left as I got there and I had to look for a minute before I found it being pushed around by the larger subspecies of Canada Geese. A wild goose chase I won't forget.

Red-Necked Grebe
March 23 2014
Central Park Reservoir, New York

This bird was the second of three of the spring (and second in 30 years!) in Central Park. I traveled around the entire reservoir scanning around the countless waterfowl for it. Then I ran into a guy at the south end who was looking at the bird sleeping and gave me a look. I would have missed it if it wasn't for him, due to it looking like a goose from a distance.

Western/Clark's Grebe
July 2011
East River, New York

One day during my first month of middle (summer) school on Roosevelt Island, one of my class mates spotted an odd bird in the water and wanted me to take a look. I thought it might be a cormorant as I was walking to the window, but I was astonished that I didn't know what this black and white bird was. I looked it up later to find out I was looking at a rarity, but the bird was probably gone.

 Storm-Petrel sp.
April 15 2012
1 mile off Coney Island, Kings

Although common just offshore in summer, this bird was seen much earlier than that. As we were headed back to Jamaica Bay on a seal-watching trip in New York Harbor I spotted a small, brown bird feeding near the boat with a white rump. The bird was seen within sight of Coney Island. When I described what I saw to some birders of the boat, they agreed that it was probably a storm-petrel.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
May 11 2014
Azalea Pond, Central Park, New York

Ran into a group of birdwatchers from the walk I was on looking at the bird in a tree. Very rare in the park and presumably fallout from the storm the previous day. It was one of the star birds of the day.

Glossy Ibis
April 12 2014
Shakespeare Garden, Central Park, New York
On a bird walk when we saw an ibis soaring overhead. Common in Jamaica Bay, but flyovers in Central Park are rare.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!