Sunday, May 24, 2009

The end is near

Mourning Warbler - [fall] 9-13-07
Photo by David Speiser

Yesterday Rick Cech, author of Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer's Guide, and long-time Central Park birder, reported the sighting of a Mourning Warbler at the Evodia Field. The last week of May is just about the right time for this small, elusive bird to show up.

The Mourning Warbler is always one of the last species to appear in the park during the spring migration. Sadly, Central Park birders are facing the reality that the exciting season is coming to an end. Most of the huge cohort of birds making the annual journey from southern wintering grounds to northern breeding grounds are now on territory. A few straggler will be showing up during the next couple of weeks and then ...the show will be over

Now the annual influx of migratory birdwatchers from all over the U.S. and the world, who funnel into the park during April and May, crowding the Ramble's narrow paths crying "Did you get the Blackburnian Warbler?" and the like, is also coming to an end. A not altogether unwelcome peace is about to descend on Central Park and its regular birdwatching community.

Some of the avian migrants end their incredible journeys in Central Park itself. Among them are usually a few Baltimore Orioles, Song Sparrows Warbling Vireos, Wood Thrushes; also quite a few Gray Catbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds [we hope];and an inordinate number of American Robins. Finding and observing their nests along with those of the year-round bird residents -- Blue Jays, Cardinals, and an occasional Titmouse and White-breasted Nuthatch, will provide much of the fun for Central Park birdwatchers during the next few months.

Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik - 5/23/08