Saturday, October 15, 2005

Donna reports on early morning grackles

Donna Browne writes:

Hi Marie,

I took some notes the other morning at the Grackle Flyout -- the flock's departure from the roost trees around the fountain. These notes are incomplete. Too much happening at once -- I just couldn't get it all. I'll condense the bits, but thought you might find it interesting, since you've been watching the other end -- the birds flying in to roost at sunset.

Grackle/Starling Flyout

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Sunrise 7:04 AM
Temperature 53F
Heavy rain, gusting wind (All directions are NYC east, west,north, and south.)

I arrived at 6:42AM and the first bird I saw move went from one of the center Lindens to the far west one at 6:47. This turned out to be a staging tree as did the the street Black Locust on the east end of the line of Lindens. [Also a staging tree at the evening Fly-in. MW]

6:51 to 6:54 -- 10 birds moved to the Locust and 6 to the east Linden. 6:55 - lots of vocalizations started in the trees and 10 birds headed north, then 8 to the Locust, then 20
towards thenorth and more to the staging Locust and 14 to the Linden.

6:59-7:00, 100 birds to Locust and the twittering in the trees was VERY loud. 20 birds to the very top ofthe Locust. Then 40 to the Linden and 80 off the Locust.

7:05 to 7:27 [approx] - hundreds of birds were on the move from the Linden and Locust to points north. I'm not completely sure how it was working but there were secondary staging trees (after they left the east Linden and the west Locust) in the tree group behind Sherman [gilded statue of the civil war hero at north end of the Grand Army Plaza] and the trees just inside the west corner of the park. I don't know if all stopped there as some seemed to be going further into the park.

Towards the end of the rush, when I got enough rain off my binoculars to semi-see through them, I saw that the top of the middle tree of the Sherman group seemed to be full of Starlings only. As I said, these notes are very incomplete, but it might help when placing people for the next time.

Donna Browne

PS We'll be checking the fly-out again at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.