Saturday, November 28, 2015


On Wednesday, November 18, a couple of birders in The Ramble found an empidonax flycatcher species in the Oven. It was a bright yellowish bird, so they assumed it was probably a very late Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher. Late empids are not unheard of in the east, as is for nearly every neotropical migrant. On Friday the 20th, the bird was seen again by some other birders, and they got better looks. They realized that the bird could very well be a 'Western' Flycatcher. This species is actually 2, which are Pacific-Slope and Cordilleran Flycatchers. This complex has only been seen an handful of times in the Northeast, and only once in New York. The prospect of this being another one sent dozens of local birders to set their alarms early the next morning to head out to find the bird. On Saturday morning, the bird was refound, and this time, people were able to keep track of the bird a lot of the time. When I got there at 10:15 am, there were already about 25 people there. Over the next hour I got good looks at the bird. It was bright and yellow, but looked like it had more yellow on it than a Yellow-Bellied. Additionally, the wingbars and eyering looked paler than they would for a Yellow-Bellied. On Monday, I got word that a birder got recordings of the bird's call the previous day. I listened to them, and they were a match. So that's that. I now have what is easily the rarest bird for my New York County year list, and my rarest bird for Central Park, New York's 2nd state record of PACIFIC-SLOPE/CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Late Warbler and Some Other Stuff

I went into the park on Sunday entering at the Reservoir and 90th street. My first target was a Ring-Necked Duck that has been seen there for a week. It didn't take more than a few minutes to find the bird, which was feeding extremely close to shore. With that out of the way, I checked out what else was there. There were several species of ducks at the southern side of the Reservoir, along with a Pied-Billed Grebe. Next, I went to the Pinetum, where I found a few slightly late Chipping Sparrows. I then went into the Upper Lobe. There were many goldfinches and White-Throated Sparrows there. As I sifted through them in hopes of finding something interesting, I spotted a small, streaky bird foraging along a tree branch. I immediately recognized it as a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER! Why this bird was here so late is a mystery, but there always seem to be late warblers of a variety of species in November. I then went to the Gill, where Rusty Blackbirds and Purple Finches have been seen. It didn't take long to find a Rusty Blackbird. There were actually 3 of them, all hanging out together. After looking for Purple Finches for awhile, I eventually found a female bird drinking from the stream. After that, I saw another female Purple Finch at the feeders. A great day of birding today!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Great Horned Owl

This evening, I went to see a Great Horned Owl that has been roosting at the Swampy Pin Oak. It was first seen the day before and was still there that day. When I got there just before sunset, there were already 15 people looking at the owl. We sat tight and waited for the bird to fly out, which it did just after 5:15. Year bird #156!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Early November Diversity

I went into the park this morning. Diversity was expected at this time of year to be low, with a few things to be found. After one unsuccessful attempt 20 minutes earlier, I tried again to find the Red-Headed Woodpecker at the Oven. I couldn't hear it, so I looked up, and immidiately saw the woodpecker! Then, I heard a report of a young White-Crowned Sparrow at Locust Grove. I went there and found it pretty easily. I then headed up to the Pinetum, where I found a few Yellow-Rumped Warblers. Just as I was about to leave it, I saw a large, black bird in the distance. A Turkey Vulture! I headed out from the Pinetum to the Reservoir, where there were many ducks, including my first Buffleheads of the season (12 of them!). Today showed that diversity can even show this late in the year.


Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Hermit Thrush
Chipping Sparrow (Maintenance Field)
White-Crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-Throated Sparrow
Dark-Eyed Junco
American Goldfinch (2 at Maintenance Field)
Red-Tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Ruddy Duck
Northern Shoveler

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Red-Headed in The Oven

Last Monday, I decided to take a second shot at the reported immature Red-Headed Woodpecker at the Oven. After briefly surveying the Reservoir and the Pinetum, I headed towards the Ramble. But first, I went to Maintenance Meadow to search for a late male Wilson's Warbler. After 5 minutes of searching, I ran into another birder, and started telling her about the late bird, when I saw a flash of yellow in the grass. The warbler! I quickly moved to a better angle and got a good look at the bird. Next, I went to the Oven to find the woodpecker. When I got there, someone told me to listen for the bird, and I instantly heard the queer-queer alarm call of the bird. It didn't take long to spot, and it offered really high, but still good looks. Based on the behavior of the bird, including making roost holes and storing acorns, many birders think that this bird will stay for at least several weeks, perhaps all winter. A nice year bird to raise the total to 155.

Species List:

Palm Warbler
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
Gray Catbird (Maintenance Meadow)
Winter Wren
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-Throated Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Field Sparrow (Locust Grove)
Dark-Eyed Junco
American Goldfinch (Shakespeare Garden)
Ruddy Duck
American Black Duck (Turtle Pond)
Northern Shoveler

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Few Late Warblers

Last Saturday, I went into the park as usual, and found lower numbers of the expected species, such as kinglets and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. A surprise at the Azalea Pond waterfall was a late male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER actively feeding in the low trees. I started heading north, but then heard a report of a Red-Headed Woodpecker from the Oven, not yet on my year list. I rushed to the site, passing the warbler again, and looked. There seemed to be many woodpeckers of multiple species in the area, but no Red-Headed was seen or heard. I then checked on the warbler for a third time. It was still there, but then I noticed another bird with it. A female Black-Throated Blue Warbler! As I was typing out a report, I spotted something brown drinking from the stream that was not one of the numerous Hermit Thrushes. An OVENBIRD! Other than that, I saw nothing much of interest, and left the park with about 40 species seen.