Monday, June 22, 2015

Governor's Island Birds

On Friday, I ended my last day of school at noon. I then ate lunch and went to meet my friend, Ryan at the ferry terminal. We were going to look for birds that can be found at Governor's Island, but not in Manhattan. When we got there, we ran into another birder on the island. He told us of a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron nest on the island and offered to show it to us. At the same time, we started seeing Fish Crows, a species we may have seen up to 30 of today. When we got to the nest, we saw two adult herons and got amazing looks at them. We then went to search for a Killdeer he saw earlier at a place he called the nesting field, because of the Herring and Great Black-Backed Gulls that nest there. As we headed to the spot, we spotted a Common Tern, Peregrine Falcon, a pair of American Black Ducks fly by, and a Red-Winged Blackbird attacking a Fish Crow. When we got there, it took a bit of scanning, but eventually we found the Killdeer very camouflaged. After that, we went to the Yankee Pier tern colony to check out the nesting Common Terns. We were able to see 15-20 birds from our viewing platform, as well as the American Black Ducks, which flew down to the water. 22 species and 3 new year birds bring my total to 137 species seen this year. Which means I have officially beaten last years total of 135!

My new aditions:

135. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
136. Common Tern
137. Killdeer

Species seen/heard:

American Black Duck
Double-Crested Cormorant
Peregrine Falcon
Herring Gull
Great Black-Backed Gull
Common Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker (heard)
Chimney Swift
Barn Swallow (many)
Cedar Waxwing (heard)
European Starling
Fish Crow
American Robin
Song Sparrow (heard)
Common Grackle
Red-Winged Blackbird
House Sparrow

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ravin' for Ravens!

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts. There just aren't many birds of interest around during the summer doldrums (early June-late July). One of these few birds is the Common Raven. This large corvid has only recently began to (re)colonize the city. Earlier this month, a pair was confirmed to have fledged 3 young in the Chelsea neighborliness of Manhattan. But there haven't been any sightings within the last few days. I went there yesterday to try and find the ravens. I went to a spot my friend told me about, which is at 23rd street and 9th avenue. I alternated, spending time at the spot and wandering nearby. After a while, I grew anxious. Then, as I was wandering nearby, I saw a corvid fly across 24th street. I rushed to 23rd after not seeing the bird on the building at 24th. I knew the bird couldn't have flown away that quickly, so it must have been out of view on the building. After several minutes of waiting, I saw two birds flying just above the building. One bird was a crow, but the other was much bigger. A raven! The crow was trying to chase the raven away, trying to get it out of the neighborhood. I heard the raven call once, soon after which the crow chased the raven out of sight, perched on the building and then flew away. Common Raven boosts my year list to 134.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June Target List

In May I added 40 new species to my year list, bringing my total to 133 species. I saw 98 species in that month. I only need 2 birds to break my record of 135. And there is still nearly 7 months left. Maybe my new goal should be 150? I've been ahead of last year the whole year (except for Jan. 1 and neck and neck a brief period in April), so why not? Anyway, here is my target list for June. Nearly all of the possibilities have come through, so there's hardly anything to chase.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (first half migrants?)
Black-Billed Cuckoo (first half migrants?)
Laughing Gull (in the river)
Common Tern (in the bay)
Willow/Alder Flycatcher (first half migrants?)

Any coastal birds that somehow made it inland

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2015 Spring Migration has Ended

On Sunday in Central Park, nearly all of the migrants had left the area. The only warblers to be found were a few Blackpoll Warblers and American Redstarts. The most (and only) numerous migrants were the Cedar Waxwings, which also nest in the park. Speaking of which, I saw quite a few nesting birds on the walk that day. In one Willow Tree at Turtle Pond, there were the nests of Common Grackle (2), Eastern Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole, and a very hidden Orchard Oriole nest (I saw no Orchard Orioles). A few potential nesters were around, such as Great Crested Flycatchers. We saw 2 together by The Gill, and they followed us to the rock behind the Summer House. Meanwhile, the Warbling Vireo pair at Maintenance Meadow is tending to the nest a lot, swapping places sometimes, which means they probably have eggs. I think this day officially marks the end of migration season and the begining of nesting season. As for the warblers, I'll see many again this August. Still, today was productive for the year, as Great Crested Flycatcher was a new addition which I had missed at least once this year. The last time I saw one of these birds in the city was of a family in the Bronx in July 2012, although I did see one at camp last summer trying to blend in with Eastern Kingbirds. Good Birding!