Saturday, June 09, 2007

Nesting info

Two gratifying responses to yesterday's posting about nesters in Central Park:

Bathing Baltimore Oriole - photo by Beth Bergman who writes in response to my query about Baltimore Orioles:

I've been seeing orioles a lot. There's a mulberry tree west 69th street, feeding frenzy for everyone including male and female orioles, and yesterday, in the Ramble, path near woodthrush nest, oriole flew down to bathe in a puddle. There must be a nest nearby, because I've seen both male and female orioles.

From Ben Cacace about Barn Swallows

Last year I monitored two Barn Swallow nests with multiple broods. One was under the South Gate House and another was under the short building east of the North Gate House.

This year both nest sites are currently being tended to by pairs of Barn Swallows.

[Ben's website is]

And, exciting news, also from Ben -- yesterday at 9:04 pm a Black Skimmer was seen over Turtle Pond.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Post-migration bird life in CP

Red-bellied Woodpecker, an active nester
[this year has successfully avoided being ousted by starlings!]
Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik -

DATE: Thursday, 7 June 2007
LOCATION: Central Park
OBSERVERS: Irene Payne, Paula Schutte, Jack Meyer

Double-crested Cormorant
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Lake shore, Turtle Pond.)
Canada Goose
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift (Several over Turtle Pond.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Ramble.)
Eastern Kingbird (Turtle Pond, at least 2.)
Warbling Vireo (West shore of lake.)
Blue Jay
Tree Swallow (Turtle Pond.)
Barn Swallow (Turtle Pond, a few.)
House Wren (Heard only, singing in Shakespeare Garden.)
Wood Thrush (Ramble.)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (Shakespeare Garden, Turtle Pond.)
Common Yellowthroat (Hernshead.)
Song Sparrow (Bow Bridge, Strawberry Fields.)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

A look at Jack Meyer's list of bird sightings yesterday, 6/7/07, gives an excellent idea of who is nesting in Central Park.

One bird is conspicuously missing -- the Baltimore Oriole. Most years they are a regular presence in the park's daily soundscape, and three or more pairs build their beautiful nests in the park. The bird did, however, appear on the NYC Bird Report yesterday, and so the orioles must have been unusually quiet during Jack's early morning walk , that's all. Another usual nester not on Jack's list, the Mockingbird is also probably around somewhere, though it's often hard to find once nesting has begun.

I've put in larger type those birds on the list that DON'T nest in CP. Both swallow species are question marks--they probably do nest in the park--fledglings have been seen in the park being fed by parents, but nests have never been found.

The remainder of the birds on the list nest in the park. Note I didn't say " nest successfully." That's why the red-tailed hawk is included among the nesters. [Well, Pale Male & Lola's nest is across the street from the park--but still considered ours.]


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Incredible new redtail nest discovered

Check out Bruce Yolton's site for an amazing hawk story!

One of the Queens webcam fledglings -- photo by J. Kollbrunner
Jeff Kollbrunner, who makes the Queens webcam available on his website at Http:// writes:


Our red-tailed youngsters have fledged the nest and are doing well. I am continuing to post news updates and images from the field on their progress. The first fledged on May 31st and the second June 5th. I have included two photographs of the fledglings taken June 5th. The photo of the youngster on the ground is in front of a parked car, it has now learned that the ground is not the best place to stay.

I also wanted to let you know that I will have a photo exhibit of this hawk family that will open at Queens College in the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library Rotunda on June 11 and run through August 31st. "The Urban Red-Tailed Hawk" will present a collection of images captured over the last four years with an up-close perspective. There is additional information on my website regarding the exhibit, admission is free.
Best, Jeff

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Caterpillar update

May 11. 2007

June 3, 2007
Click on photos to enlarge

Remember that little caterpillar I found last May? It turned out to be a Forest-Tent Caterpillar, a definite destroyer of trees and shrubs. I knew I couldn't put it back in Central Park but somehow I didn't want to kill it either. So I've put it in a jar and have it on my desk. Every day I get it a few fresh leaves at Union Square Park, mostly elm leaves -- the squirrels seem to leave a lot of them on the ground for me to harvest. It's a voracious feeder. In fact it has burst out of its old skin twice, in order to grow. Each new stage is called an instar--most caterpillar have 5 or 6 of them.

I find caterpillar-watching fascinating -- and you might want to do it too. A perfect pet, [if you don't crave an emotionally gratifying response.] Here are some other caterpillar facts I've now been able to see for my own self:

The creature has a head and a sort of tail [called an anal plate, I see in Wagner's Field Guide.] The rest of its body is divided into eight segments. The first three make up the caterpillar's thorax and they have six legs coming out from them with claws at the end --the true legs. These will be the future moth's legs. Then comes the abdomen, divided into eight segments. Coming out of segments 3, 4, 5, 6, are eight fat, stubby, little legs that have little hooks on them [crochets] that allow the caterpillar to cling to whatever surface it's climbing or feeding on.

Question: What in the world am I going to do with it, eventually???

PS Any writers procrastinating around here?