Thursday, March 16, 2006


Every year between March 10 and March 15 I scour the park for the earliest of the regular spring migrants, the Eastern Phoebe. It arrives like clockwork during that narrow window of time. In 1998 Anne Malcolm and I actually sighted the first Central Park phoebe of the season. It was hawking for insects at the Azalea Pond. But that was the year Tom Fiore wasn't around, having been taken captive by guerrillas in Colombia. [As readers of my book know, he escaped].

Since then I usually hear about the first Phoebe sighting from one or another of the Big Guns. Lloyd Spitalnik, for instance. He's the one who called me on Tuesday and asked slyly: Well Marie, did you get your Phoebe? Of course I hadn't. But yesterday morning the Early Birders spotted the tail-bobbing flycatcher at the Tupelo Meadow. The season is off and running. [Or perhaps I should say off and bobbing.]. Below, the list of all the other birds we saw on our early morning walk yesterday.

DATE: Wednesday, 15 March 2006
LOCATION: Central Park
OBSERVERS: Early Birders

Black-crowned Night Heron [Hernshead]
Canada Goose
Wood Duck [Lake]
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Flicker [many]
Eastern Phoebe [Tupelo Meadow]
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird [Strawberry Fields]
European Starling
Fox Sparrow [several]
Song Sparrow [many]
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle [many many]
House Finch
American Goldfinch [many, at feeders]
House Sparrow

PS: Check out the following link for a great photo of an Eastern Phoebe by Cal Vornberger, and while you're there, check out his whole great site.