Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April Migrants + RARITIES!!!

Since my last post a week ago, birding has felt really strange. The park has been less active, with less migrants being added than this time last year, but rarities make up most of that. My first year addition from this new wave of migrants was on Thursday, April 20th, when I went to the Point hoping for a Yellow Warbler that had been seen that morning. I heard the bird (#90) sing, but it took me a while to actually find it. The next day, it became pretty quiet like the rest of time through today. I did however, spot a previously reported Belted Kingfisher (#91) at the Point.

Now to get to the first rarity: Wild Turkey. On Thursday evening, a turkey was spotted in the Loch by one person and wasn't refound. Then on Friday evening, it was spotted roosting in the Ramble. Then on Saturday it was seen near the Boathouse and later near Falconer's Hill. That's when I decided to look for it. Since it seemed to be moving south, I searched the entire southern third of the park to no avail...until I went back to Falconer's Hill. The Wild Turkey (#92) was right there in the open! It's times like this that birding makes you go in circles, but this time it paid off. Also, I went to the Upper Lobe and saw a previously reported Northern Parula (#93) in a mixed flock.

On Sunday, I added a Green Heron (#94) in the Oven after missing it the past few days, and then searched for an Orange-Crowned Warbler that has been sighted all around the western half of the Ramble. Right when I was about to give up, it was reported near Bow Bridge. When I got there, it (#95) was surprisingly up in a tree, not the typical understory habitat you expect to find one in!

On Monday, a fellow birder named Kai told me about a few birds he saw, including a singing Warbling Vireo by the MET museum. I went over there, saw nothing, and was about to give up when I heard a familiar sound. I followed it and located the vireo (#97) in a cherry tree. Then, I went to Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island to search for a pair of recently reported Purple Sandpipers, a very rare species in the county. During my first scan on the rocks they were typically on, I did not see any sandpipers. After a bit of scanning the river, I decided to do a second "mercy" scan, and surpisingly, I picked up two shorebirds feeding on the rocks. Purple Sandpipers (#98)!

On Tuesday, I went for a brief chase for a White-Eyed Vireo and Blue-Winged Warbler at Sparrow Rock. There was almost nothing in the park, so I tried for these two uncommon, but expected species. I went there, but only found the Blue-Winged Warbler, which offered great looks just above my head. The next day, I decided to go Sparrow Rock for the vireo, as well as the Rustic Shelter for a BARRED OWL (last one was in 2013) that was reported. I ran into Kai just after I entered the park who said he just had a Laughing Gull on the Reservoir, which wasn't that hard to pick out (#99). I then went to Sparrow Rock, I found Kai looking at a pair of male Indigo Buntings (#100)! Unfourtunately, there appeared to be no vireo, and I went down to the Ramble for the owl. The Barred Owl (#101) was awake and provided great views. I had only seen this species in the park in 2013, where one hung out at the Pinetum for months.

I have finally breached the 100 species mark! I am not far off from last year, being only a day late. Despite the seemingly silent period of what was a time of plenty last year, I am still confident that I can make up lost migration with the coming month.

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