Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pre-May Birding

Today I went to Central Park to see what new birds have moved in. I started at Turtle Pond, where there were many Yellow-Rumped Warblers, as well as a few Palms and a Pine. I then traveled through the Ramble to the feeders, where I found a male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak on one of the feeders. It was there for a few minutes before it took. I found a Brown Thrasher at the Swampy Pin Oak and then went to The Point. There, people were looking at a Blue-Winged Warbler, drawing most of the attention away from the Black and White Warblers and the Louisiana Waterthrush that were also there. We watch the Blue-Winged for almost 10 minutes before it flew off across the lake. I did a bit more searching through the Ramble and found a Blue-Headed Vireo feeding near the ground at the Gill, along with more Yellow-Rumped Warblers. I then went back to the feeders where I found a bunch of people looking at 2 Baltimore Orioles high up in some trees. 3 new year birds for today. Many other migrants were seen today, but I will probably get nearly all of them in May.

New year birds:
91. Rose-Breasted Grosebeak
92. Blue-Winged Warbler
93. Baltimore Oriole

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Prothonotary Warbler -YES!!!

On Monday, a rehabbed Prothonotary Warbler was released at Tanner's Spring in Central Park after striking a building nearby. It was found later that afternoon at Turtle Pond. It was seen there the next day. I went to try to find the bird myself on Tuesday afternoon. When I got there, I searched all around, but could not find the bird among the many Yellow-Rumped and Palm Warblers, as well as a few Pine Warblers. I thought I might have heard it, but it was probably just a Yellow-Rumped Warbler song that stood out, or maybe even the singing of a Yellow Warbler (they have been seen here). As I was heading home, through the Ramble, someone told me that the bird was seen at The Point. I rushed over there, and there it was, standing out like a jewel. It often came within a few feet of me and others. The official American Birding Association rules states that once a released bird is behaving normally and has moved a considerable distance away from the release site, it can be counted. A sweet new addition to the year list.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Some New Stuff Trickling In

Today I started my traversing through the Ramble by going to The Point. There were many Palm and Yellow-Rumped Warblers there, with a few Black-and-Whites too. I then found one of the walk leaders watching a Louisiana Waterthrush. After that, I ran into some people looking at a Northern Waterthrush. I then went to the feeders, where there were 2 female Purple Finches. I then went to Turtle Pond to meet up with our group. Then, we went through Shakespeare Garden to the Belvedere Walk (that's what I call it) at the south side of Turtle Pond. There, we saw Yellow Rumps, Palms, and our first Yellow Warbler of the season, as well as 2 Blue-Headed Vireos and a Tree Swallow. Then, at Maintenance Meadow, we found 3 Savannah Sparrows, which usually show up at places like Turtle Pond.We then went to the feeders, where we saw the Purple Finches, a Pine Siskin, and a Coopers Hawk. I also saw a distant Chimney Swift there. After that, we headed to The Point, where we refound both of the waterthrushes and found a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, as well as finding a Winter Wren in the Oven.  At the lake, we saw a coot, 2 shovelers, more swifts, and a Barn Swallow. We then refound the Yellow Warbler at Maintenance Meadow and went to Turtle Pond. Most of the same stuff was there from before, with a few more Pine Warblers and a Northern Parula being new. After that, we went to lunch. After lunch, I tried to see if I could find stuff in Strawberry Fields. No luck, but I did find a Great Egret in the Upper Lobe and a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher near Hernshead. 7 new species for the year today, raising my total to 89.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Migrant Roundup #1

I'm doing a new series of weekly posts called Migrant Roundup. They will talk about what migrants have come through the area over the past week. I'm planning to have this running until early June, and then start it up again around early August. Anyway, here's the first migrant roundup.

Migrants currently moving through are some Pine and Yellow-Rumped Warblers in lesser numbers than previous weeks, but still findable. Palm Warblers are the most common warbler around by far. Black-and-White Warblers are starting to come through in numbers. Both waterthrushes and wrens are coming through in similar numbers. Meanwhile, a few Northern Parulas are starting to come through. The phoebes seemed to have moved out. Gnatcatchers and Purple Finches are still coming through.The Blue-Headed Vireos are coming in now. Most waterfowl are moving out. Tuesday had a fallout that produced many firsts this season, including Indigo Buntings, Rose-Breasted Grosebeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, Yellow Warblers, and Northern Parulas. Nearly all of those are gone now. Overall, the next few days wont be that different, with bad winds and no storms.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wren a Rarity Shows Up

Today I heard about a Marsh Wren that showed up yesterday at the Pond in Central Park. Marsh Wren is a rare. but regular migrant through the park. They are also very elusive, hiding in the reeds. Anyway, I heard that the bird was refound this morning. This afternoon, I went to the site where the bird was being seen. I met up with a woman who said she saw the bird 15 minutes before I got there. We waited. Another guy showed up. We spotted a Hermit Thrush along the shore, and then the others saw a bit of movement. Could it be the wren? More waiting. Not long after, the Marsh Wren finally showed. Life bird for me! Immidiately after I spotted the wren, I spotted another small bird in the reeds. A Northern Parula! New year bird! After that, the wren went into the reeds and we didn't really see it again.

Species List:

Wood Duck
Canada Goose
Red-Tailed Hawk
Blue Jay
MARSH WREN (Year bird #81)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Black-and-White Warbler
Palm Warbler
Northern Parula (Year bird #82)
White-Throated Sparrow (heard)
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

80 Species Mark Reached!

Yesterday I finally could add Brant to my year list. I spotted some waterfowl near the Roosevelt Island shore from the hospital, and when I put my binoculars on them, it was clear they were Brant. I'm nearly certain that I have seen Brant already, but now I am sure I have. I then went to Cal Schwartz Park late in the afternoon to see what was there. After a bit, I thought to myself "There's nothing here,". And that's when the towhee showed up. Followed by a Hermit Thrush. And then 2 Fish Crows flew overhead calling. I wasn't anticipating this bird, mainly because it prefers coastal habitats and is usually seen flying over elsewhere. After these birds, nothing else new showed up. Brant and Fish Crow raise my year list to 80(+1).

Species seen/heard on 4/22
Gull sp.
Red-Tailed Hawk
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (heard)
Fish Crow
American Crow (heard)
American Robin
Hermit Thrush
Tufted Titmouse (heard)
Eastern Towhee
White-Throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Migration is Progressing

Before the bird walk I went on today, I did a little birding. At the Point, there were many Palm warblers as well as a few Yellow-Rumped Warblers. At the feeders, there were 2 female Purple Finches, a differnt pair from the males that were here this week. When the walk started, we first went to the Point, where the Palm Warblers were gone, but the Yellow Rumps were still there. We tried to call in a Blue-Headed Vireo, which we succeeded in doing. Shortly after that while searching for Palm Warblers, I spotted a swallow flying on the right side of the Point. I quickly identified it as a Tree Swallow, and when we called it in, it gave us great views. Later, we saw 3 Blue-Grey Gnatcatchers at different times, each identified by call. As we watched on of them, we also spotted a Black-and-White Warbler. With 5 new species for the year, this was a pretty good day!

75. Yellow-Rumped Warbler
76. Blue-Headed Vireo
77. Tree Swallow
78. Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher
79. Black-and-White Warbler

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chuckie in the Bag!!!

Yesterday morning, I heard about a Chuck-will's-widow sighted in Bryant Park. This nightjar it a very hard to spot bird, and is a rare migrant for the area. Since its nocturnal, it usually stays in the same place throughout the day, often moving away at night. I didn't want to miss the chance of seeing one. So after school yesterday, I set out to find the bird. Once I got there, it didn't take long to find the bird. It just looked like a little lump on a branch. I also went to see a lingering American Woodcock that has been around. I found it and it was out in the open and really easy to approach. It was very cool to watch it feed right out in the open. Most woodcocks have migrated through here, but this one seems to be doing fine. With the woodcock and Chuck in hand, it was definitely a good stop to make!

Year bird #73: CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Nothing New, But More of Everything

On today's birdwalk, we started out with a few phoebes, a Northern Rough-Winged Swallow, a Hermit Thrush, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, and 2 Palm Warblers at the Turtle Pond dock. We then went to the Polish statue on the other side of Turtle Pond, after hearing reports of a flock of about 7 Pine Warblers there. We could already see quite a few birders there from where we were. When we got there, there were at least 9 Pine Warblers flycatching really close to us, along with a Palm Warbler. After that, when we went to the Ramble, we found 2 Swamp Sparrows, scattered Chipping Sparrows, more Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, as well as several Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. a few Brown Creepers, and an Eastern Towhee before going to lunch. By the way, we revisited the warblers again on the walk. After lunch I saw mostly the same stuff and went to revisit the warbler flock yet again. This time, large groups of visitors and sunbathers were everywhere. Somehow, the warblers still kept their cool and about all of them were still in the same area. The Palm Warbler was very aggressive toward the House Sparrows, even though they are considerably larger than it. I also spotted 2 Red-Tailed Hawks and a flyover Northern Rough-Winged Swallow. Afterwards I ran into two other birders and decided to chase the continuing Common Loon  at the Reservoir(yes, its still here) with them. After a brief Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and a pair of Swamp Sparrows in some shrubs, we were off. It took a lot of walking, but eventually we reached the northern pumphouse and saw the loon. What  a way to end a day!

New additions: 1
#72: Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The April Norm?

Today after going to the Upper West Side, I thought a little afternoon birding would be fun. At the Reservoir, there were some Black Ducks and Northern Shovelers, along with the continuing Common Loon. As I headed towards the Ramble, I stopped by Turtle Pond. There were a few Eastern Phoebes there, as well as some more shovelers and a few Double-Crested Cormorants. I started hearing some tsip calls and realized that I was surrounded by a small flock of Palm Warblers! They seemed fairly tolerant of me, and as I searched the flock, I also found a Pine Warbler and a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. After that, I went to the Ramble. I saw Chipping Sparrows and a Golden-Crowned Kinglet at the feeders, and a Hermit Thrush at Maintenance Meadow. I then decided to make some runs along the gill. I found a Swamp Sparrow and another Hermit Thrush. Then, I ran into a guy who found a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet for me. Year Bird #71! Afterwards, I went back to the feeders and found a male Pine Warbler feeding on a suet cake. I've heard of these birds, along with kinglets, taking advantage of feeders, but usually only when there is no food around. It's strange to see this happen in April, since it was only in the mid 40s, but I guess it was just taking advantage of it. Today wasn't that good, but I did get a new addition to the list, even though I will probably see it this weekend.

#71: Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Knocking Out The Early Migrants

Before the birdwalk today, I walked around the Ramble for a bit. I saw a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Swamp Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Pied-Billed Grebe (told where it was by someone), and Northern Flicker. At the start of the walk, there were several Eastern Phoebes and a Great Egret at Turtle Pond. As we were leaving, my friend Ryan spotted a large flock of birds on the great lawn. It mainly consisted of juncos, but it also held a Chipping Sparrow (not seen), a few Golden-Crowned Kinglets, 2 Pine Warblers, and 3-4 Palm Warblers. We followed the Palms back to the dock after a bit, and we found Wood Ducks that flew in. After this, we went into the Ramble. There we got good looks at a Field Sparrow. I also spotted an American Kestrel there. When we were at the Point, a few birders told me that there was a Rusty Blackbird seen at the Gill. After going to the point, we headed there, and sure enough, the bird was singing and very visible. We then went to lunch. After lunch, I went to search for a Common Loon on the Reservoir that I had missed yesterday. When I got there, I ran into another birder, and after a few minutes, we spotted the loon, which was in full breeding plumage. 8 new year birds really made my day today!

# 63. Pied-Billed Grebe
# 64. Swamp Sparrow
# 65. Pine Warbler
# 66. Palm Warbler
# 67. Field Sparrow
# 68. American Kestrel

Saturday, April 4, 2015

First April Birding

Today I showed my father's friend some of the birds in Central Park. We mostly saw the usual stuff, with only a few Eastern Phoebes and Hermit Thrushes. There were also many flickers today everywhere we went. I also saw a Great Egret and a young Cooper's Hawk at Turtle Pond. We then went to the reservoir, where there were lots of Double-Crested Cormorants and a few Wood Ducks. I couldn't find the Common Loon that was reported there today. When I went back to the feeders I saw my first Brown-Headed Cowbird and Golden-Crowned Kinglet of the year. I still wish I could have seen some warblers today

Year Birds:3
#60. Double-Crested Cormorant
#61. Brown-Headed Cowbird
#62, Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bird of the Week #20

This week's Bird of the Week is Eastern Phoebe!

Eastern Phoebes are slightly larger than House Sparrows. They have a light-olivish belly and a gray back and a blackish head. They are tyrant flycatchers, and like most of them, they catch insects from the air. Unlike many, which do it from high perches, Eastern Phoebes prefer low perches not far of the ground. They then often swoop down to catch an insect and sometimes land on the ground. These birds live in open woodlands where there are low branches and many insects,

They breed in the nothern harlf of the U.S. east of the Rockies, and also in southern Canada. They winter in the southeast, but are year round over much of their range there. In New York City, they can be seen from March through April and from late September through early November, In Central Park, they can be found most easily at any sort of exposed clearing with low perches, often at eye level.