Sunday, July 31, 2016

Targets for the Rest of the Year

I am starting to think about the fall migrant season, and there are several species that are mainly fall migrants, as well as a few I have missed.

Osprey: Possibly seen in March, a common fall migrant. Will probably see if I hawkwatch.

Bald Eagle: Possibly seen in May, a regular fall migrant. Good chance of seeing if I hawkwatch.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk: Very common fall migrants, will probably get.

Other Raptors: Possible with hawkwatching

Merlin: Regular fall migrant, unsure if I will see it.

Killdeer: Possibly seen at Governor's Island, but unsure. This place and Randall's have them, but I need to spot them first!

Solitary Sandpiper: Summer migrant, but a bit hard to find.

Black-Billed Cuckoo: Missed in spring, could get in fall.

Owls: One could show up November/December?

Red-Headed Woodpecker: Rare migrant, but they usually are able to be tracked down.

Empid identities: Hard, but birds may call more in fall, so I have a shot.

Philadelphia Vireo: Near-exclusive fall migrant. Hopefully will see.

Marsh Wren: Rare fall migrant, wanderer could show up.

Connecticut Warbler: Exclusive fall migrant. Hopefully will see.

Yellow-Breasted Chat: Rare, secretive migrant. Hopefully will see.

Rare Sparrows (Grasshopper, Vesper, etc.): One or more species usually appear in fall. Hopefully will see.

Pine Siskin: Hopefully will track a flock of them down!

First Fall Migrants + A Nemisis Bird Surrenders

On the last day of July, I went to the park hoping to find my first warblers of the season. I heard there were several sightings of warblers over the last month, and now they finally start to have regular appearances with the arrival of the first migrants. For a while I did not see anything other than a possible Brown Thrasher. Then, I went to the Humming Tombstone, where I heard the song of a Carolina Wren (Year Bird #147)! They are usually in the park, although for some reason there have been hardly any sightings this year. I also ran into another birder there, who said she saw a few warblers at Turtle Pond and she was looking at some vireos in the trees above us. I saw the vireos, but I also spotted a smaller bird just to the left of them. A Black-and-White Warbler! This is one of the first migrants, still a bit on the early side. The woman also told me that there were a few American Redstarts around, and I found 1 of them. We then went to the Upper Lobe, where we found a Northern Waterthrush. A second pass of it a little bit later revealed a Wood Thrush and Carolina Wren. Actually, there were 2 Carolina Wrens that were calling a lot and giving good views. Hoping that fall brings many more surprises ahead!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Governor's Island 2016

On Thursday, me and Ryan went to Governors Island to look for its specialties. I needed Common Tern for the list, and he needed Fish Crow. Both are pretty easy to get on the island, as many of both species nest there. My first bird on the island was a Laughing Gull, not the most common bird, but still regular here. We then headed over to see the pair of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons that was nesting. We had a general direction, but we didn't know exactly where to find one (one is seen on most occasions). But I spotted the first one as is flew briefly (and subsequently was mobbed by a kestrel), and Ryan spotted the second one on the nest. By this point, we had already seen several Fish Crows, including a fledgling on the ground. We headed to the gull nesting field to look for Killdeer. There were strangely few gulls there (including a trio of Laughing Gulls in the water), but what was stranger is that light refracted of a Herring Gull in the field in such a way, that it made it appear sky blue! Only when it flew away did we realize it wasn't covered in anything, as another gull elsewhere was reported to have fell into curry and turned orange a few weeks before. We saw no Killdeer, but we did see my first Common Terns (#146) of the year, many in fact, going to and from the colony fishing. At Hammock Grove, we saw many Red-Winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows, along with some Barn and one or two Tree Swallows. We then went to the tern colony at Yankee Pier, where we saw the terns feeding their young. An OK day with 23 species seen.

Double-Crested Cormorant
Laughing Gull
Ring-Billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-Backed Gull (just 1)
Common Tern (many)
Rock Pigeon
Chimney Swift
Northern Flicker (heard-only)
Eastern Kingbird (near nesting field)
Fish Crow (many)
Tree Swallow (1)
Barn Swallow (many, including 5 fledglings)
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird (mimicking several species)
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (at least 3)
Song Sparrow
Red-Winged Blackbird
Common Grackle (just 1)
House Sparrow