Saturday, June 21, 2008

News and photos

News: On June 20, while researching an area for the ongoing Central Park bird census, Alice Deutsch came upon a fledgling chipping sparrow. This is accepted evidence that the species is nesting in the area, and thus it is the first confirmed Chipping Sparrow nesting in Central Park. The chipping sparrow is not noted as a nester in the Birds of Central Park checklist.

Photo by Ardith Bondi

This photo of a beautiful grackle [what an eye!] was taken by Eleanor Tauber at the Gill.

Note: There's a section about a Grackle night roost near the Plaza Hotel in Central Park in the Dark. It's in the Birds Asleep chapter.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

North Woods screech owl summary & book news

These owls were discovered in the North Woods early last January. After much searching, in February a cavity was discovered. A small group of owlers watched the male flying out of the cavity every night. But where was the female? Was she sitting on eggs, we wondered. We soon found out. And after that it was one discovery after another.

All photos below were taken by BRUCE YOLTON

On January 31 Bruce finally got a photo of one of the North Woods owls. But where was the nest hole?

In early February we finally discovered the cavity

March 1, 2008 -- the male just before fly-out

Mid-March: after weeks of seeing only the male at fly-out, the female appears for a quick rest-stop visit

3/30/08 Mom with a feather. Is this a a sign of a nestling in there?

April 9, 2008 - a nestling faintly seen at left of cavity opening

4/13/08 Yes, that's a kid in there

4/16/08 A nestling looking out

4/17/08 A nestling clearly seen, bravely inspecting the world

4/21/08 - Two baby owls out today, one more to go

4/22/08 Last fledgling climbing out of the cavity.["They climb like monkeys," says Len Soucy.

4/23/08 -All three kids have fledged

April 23, 2008 -- flapping practice

Owl baby -- June 11, 2008 - almost all grown up

The three teenager owls, photographed on June 17, 2008 [day before yesterday].

Note: All photos above were taken from Bruce Yolton's blog, where you can find many more great owl pictures to fill in the gap. Again, here is the URL of his website: The whole owl story is there, with many great photos.It also has news about hawks and other critters. Have a look!

Book News

A book review will appear in the NY Times book review section on 6/22 -- this coming Sunday.It will be available on the website by Saturday, 6/21, as well as a podcast interview with me by the Book Review's editor Sam Tanenhaus. The interview can also be heard tomorrow - Friday--on WQXR FM at 6:05.

On Friday, 6/27, an article by Anne Raver about Central Park in the Dark , and some of the people I write about in the book, will appear in the Weekend section of the NYTimes.