Monday, February 29, 2016

Neighborhood Raven

I was walking down York Avenue near my apartment on Saturday when I spotted a COMMON RAVEN (Year Bird #60) on one of the buildings. It was large, had a point at the end of its tail, and flew in a soaring and diving motion, all characteristics of this species. I expected to see this species at some point during the year, but honestly had no idea how, where, or when I would see it. It really is just luck if it's not near a nest.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Good Birds Come in Pairs

On Friday, I went out for a quick sweep of the Reservoir and the Ramble. At the Reservoir, I found a male RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, along with the continuing female bird. In the Ramble, there wasn't much, but at the feeders I was treated to a pair of Fox Sparrows and a pair of male Red-Winged Blackbirds (Year Bird #59). Good Birding!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 54: First Migrant of the Year!!!

On Sunday, I went into the park casually looking for birds, always on the lookout for something new. First I hung around the feeders for a bit, picking up a nice assortment of regular birds, including a Fox Sparrow and Brown Creeper. I then sat down to take a break there for a minute, when I spotted something flying out of the corner of my eye. Even though I couldn't raise my binoculars before it was gone, the long bill and chunky tan body were indistinguishable. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK (Year Bird #58)! I had always considered the very small chance that I could find one of these very skulky birds so early in the season, but it seemed very remote. This showed how you should stay alert to even the most remote of possibilites. Anyway, I did not see much out of the ordinary other than that and a continuing Red-Breasted Merganser at the Reservoir. I just can't wait for spring to come next month with all the migrants!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cackling Goose?!

Last week, an odd looking goose was spotted at Central Park's Reservoir. After much debate, it was concluded that it was probably a Cackling Goose, with the small possibility of it being a hybrid. On Wednesday, I went to search for the bird, starting at the southwest corner of the Reservoir. When I got there, there was a large flock of dozens of Canada Geese there. I looked through them, but couldn't find the goose that looked slightly smaller than the others. Just as I was about to look for the bird elsewhere, I remembered that it was reported in this exact spot that morning. I took one last look, and spotted a goose that looked smaller than the others! It was about 1/3 smaller than the other geese and a bit darker too. Some other birders then arrived and I showed them the goose. They confirmed my suspicions that this is the mystery bird. After much pondering, I have decided that it's decently safe to count the bird as a mostly pure to pure CACKLING GOOSE until further evidence comes to light (UPDATE 2/24: the bird is still shrouded in so much mystery, and chances of it being Cackling are slim, so I am removing it from the list). Yesterday, I failed to find it, but did add a female Red-Breasted Merganser (Year bird #78) to my year list. It seems that the day I will go below one bird per day is fast approaching. At the current total, that day is February 27th, but hopefully I can break it again in April or May.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Birds Seen Around My Building

Here is the list of birds seen from around my building. So far I have 22 species, with a seemingly random bag of birds that includes species such as nesting Mallards, Black-and-White Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and Winter Wren among other things.

Mallard (pair with ducklings in the fountain)
Brent (flock in East River seen from window)
Herring Gull (window)
Ring-Billed Gull (window)
Great Black-Backed Gull (window)
Great Egret (At Roosevelt Island seen from window)
Red-Tailed Hawk (seen from window)
American Kestrel (seen from window)
Peregrine Falcon (seen from window)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove (seen from window)
European Starling
Blue Jay
American Crow (seen from window)
Winter Wren (in garden)
American Robin
Black-and-White Warbler (in front of building)
Eastern Towhee (in garden)
White-Throated Sparrow (in garden)
Northern Cardinal (in garden)
American Goldfinch (in garden)
House Sparrow

Some other species nearby:
Northern Mockingbird
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Chipping Sparrow