Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Bone-chilling Afternoon

             Fox Sparrow in Central Park -- photo by LLOYD SPITALNIK - 3/7/09

"We few, we happy few…", is how King Henry V began his speech to the English army in  Shakespeare's play. But when our brave reporter Pat Pollock quoted the King to describe her visit to The Ramble today, she obviously couldn't use the word "happy". It was too cold. Here's her report of Central Park's bird life on a day when the temperature went down to the low 20's:

2/26/15, Thursday

Pat Pollock:

We few, we very few showed up on this bone-chilling afternoon and very few birds also showed up:

Redpoll & Brown Thrasher
2 Fox Sparrows
beautiful Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (m)
Downy Woodpecker (m)
Lots of Grackles
perched Red-tailed Hawk
lots of Goldfinches
beautiful (m) House Finch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Black-capped Chickadee

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tom's Central Park Report

Male Common Redpoll - photo by LLOYD SPITALNIK 4-2-11

Monday, 23 February, 2015

At Central Park (Manhattan, N.Y. City) a single male Common Redpoll continues to visit the feeders in the Ramble, this a.m. seen as I walked up at 7:15 a.m., while some other mornings I have not seen it until a while later in the a.m. but always making at least one appearance before 9, this past week. An assortment of other more-regular species included a Carolina Wren, a wintering Chipping Sparrow (very fluffed out & sitting still in a small shrub next to the feeder array, but then joining all the other hungry birds to feed), American Tree Sparrow (down by the lakeshore, where there was also a great deal of small bird activity), several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (including at Strawberry Fields, & the Pinetum area, as well as by the Ramble's feeders);  down at The Pond in the park's SE corner, a drake Wood Duck continues among the many Mallards & a few Americam Black Ducks, plus a single American Coot; a female Wood Duck remains at the reservoir's miniscule path of open water (at the south end) & also along the icy bank there, among relatively scant Mallards & Canada Geese, plus a couple of Coot. At least 1 more Coot plus a very few Northern Shovelers were in the barely-open patch of water at the west side of the Lake, a bit south of the Ladies Pavillion / Hernshead.

At least today, and perhaps all this chilly week ahead, many paths, & even sections of the main Park Drives, are extremely icy-slippery in spots, and extreme caution will be needed to maintain balance & prevent a fall. I saw at least a dozen other people, many of them young & athletic, nearly do so, and I (no longer young or athletic ;-) nearly slipped any number of times. There are crews out trying to put sand, & scrape where possible but the work is very, very difficult, and the icy patches are sure to continue until there is a much longer-lasting warm-up.

Good birding,

Tom Fiore

Friday, January 23, 2015

A new Hawk Story by MURRAY HEAD

We're back! Computer problems have kept this blog in the dark in recent days. But all is well at last. Thanks for hanging in there, faithful readers. Your reward: a story from Murray Head, sent in on January 18, 2015
NOTE: Click on pictures to enlarge. [Be sure you do…]

The Red-tails Winter Playground - A Short Story

Hi Marie,

It seems the Sheep Meadow has become very popular with a quartet of young Red-tail Hawks. I encountered one of these handsome fellows whilst he was surveying the possibilities.

He noticed something over there...

and off he flew!

Landed on a branch and focused his attention.

He carefully stepped down for a closer look.

The Big Picture

He seemed to know that there was someone there

But where?

The squirrel played Hide-n-Seek with him for a while... smiled, and disappeared.

And so the Hawk winged his way back to the field to to play/fight with another.

All in all, it was a pretty fine afternoon at the Sheep Meadow, with nothing but hawks, squirrels and sunshine.

Murray Head


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ten Years ago at the Meer

                         Gadwall At The Meer 11-27-05
on Thursday, 1/15/15
Pat Pollock reports:

8 Hooded Mergansers SE
3-Ring-necked Ducks
3 Buffleheads N end
5 American Coots
3 Gadwalls
No. Shovelers
Ruddy Ducks
Mallard Hybrid - all black w/white bib, shape of bill like Mallords but dark - yesterday there were 2
also yesterday (NE) (f) Wood Duck

90th St. inside park  Mockingbird

Friday, December 05, 2014


PAT POLLOCK calls some Central Park ducks on the Reservoir "old reliables." She should include herself in that category. [Emphasis on the "reliable," not the "old"]  In these wintry times she seems to be the only birdwatcher sending in reports, which come via ebirdsnyc. Many thanks, Pat!

Bufflehead taking off -- photo 2006 by CAL VORNBERGER

Friday, 12/5/14

The old reliables are still there (let's hope til CBC on 12/14/14):  2 Ringed-neck Ducks still in SE corner of Res.'
counted 14 Hooded Mergansers, mostly along eastside, several American Coots, 10 Buffleheads and lots of Ruddies & No. Shovelers
checked Canada Geese for small one - negative; checked for Lesser Scaup of yesterday without success.  The workers are moving further along westside, so even harder to take in ducks congregating @ north end.

Pinetum area:  Red-tailed Hawks, 3 Titmice, No. Flicker