Saturday, April 18, 2009

Consolation prize

As consolation for the Fifth Avenue hawkwatchers --[it doesn't look like the nest at 927 Fifth Ave. will succeed this year--the fifth failure in a row], website readers Mary Lenahan and Paula Florio have sent along a link to an exciting urban ledge nest . This one is at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where three chicks hatched last Thursday and Friday.

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Charles Kennedy's book

The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon: Haiku of Charles F. Kennedy

"Amateur naturalist, photographer, and poet, Charles Kennedy rose to celebrity status among New Yorkers who lined Fifth Avenue to wonder at the Red-tailed Hawk known as Pale Male. When he died in October of 2004, Charles left a substantial body of unpublished photographs, photo-essay books, and haiku poetry focused on the natural world of Central Park in New York City. This book collects Charles's nighttime haiku. It also includes several of his Central Park photos as well as selected essays, which give the reader context for the haiku. In her 2008 book, Central Park in the Dark, Marie Winn details the nighttime adventures of a devoted group of (mostly) amateur naturalists. Charles was a leader, instigator, and much-loved member of that group. In keeping with Ms. Winn's theme, we present this first collection of his work."

[from the Introduction to The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon by Charles's nephew Steve Kennedy, who edited the collection in collaboration with author and poet Dan Guenther.]

To order:

Barnes and Noble (softcover)

Amazon (softcover)

Xlibris (hardcover and softcover)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Our closely observed star warbler

The Yellow-throated warbler is still in residence at the Model-boat Pond -- today was the 6th day. Photographer Murray Head is one of the bird's most ardent fans. Here is his report and a dramatic sequence of photos:

While others speculate... Boy or Girl? ...I thought your readers might also be interested in some of the activities of this fine feathered friendly bird.

He (lack of buffiness in the flanks) was almost always jumping about and creeping and probing... snatching insects tither and yon. Flying usually when it wanted to work another tree.

So much fun to watch.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Is she a he? Is he a she?

Photo of Yellow-throated Warbler by Bruce Yolton, taken on 4/12/09.
Many other photos of the bird on Bruce's blog at

This morning regular birder Rhoda Lee Bauch wrote a note on e-birds:

I was in the Park briefly this morning--primarily to hear the
Yellow-throated Warbler. [It] is still at the Model Boat Pond. At 9 a.m.
it was feeding in a cherry tree near the Hans Christian Andersen
statue. Even though the warm sun enveloped it, no song. I'm beginning
to suspect that he is a she.

Phil Jeffrey, the generous birder who is in charge of e-birds [the e-mail listserv that provides a great service to the NYC birding community] wrote a reply:

I'm fairly sure it's a first spring male. This is based on the lack
of any buffiness in the flanks, since this appears to be one of the
features to distinguish the male from female in the books I have
consulted. I'm not sure of gender-specific arrival dates in central
and southern NJ, however.

The first spring part is indicated by the limited extent of black on
the crown, but especially by the fact that an inner tail feather
(retrix) is rather worn and somewhat pointed - one would expect adults
to have fresh flight feathers at this point in the molt cycle and have
broader, less pointed tail feathers. There's also wear evident on
other tail feathers and more limited wear on the primaries.

For those less interested in the niceties of bird sexing who would like a delightful glimpse of Central Park's riches during the early spring migration season, here's the last paragraph of Rhoda's e-bird report:

The rest of my brief walk (out at 10:15 a.m.) produced no new birds but
2 Pine Warblers were at the Southeast part of Turtle Pond--one singing.

And the busiest area was the Gill where standing in one spot I enjoyed
a Brown Creeper, 2 Winter Wrens, a Fox Sparrow, a Song Sparrow and
several Tufted Timouse.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My record as a prophet

Photo taken on 4/14/09 by David Speiser

On April 6 I posted my first Spring Migration report for 2009 and allowed myself to do a little predicting. I wrote:

Coming up within the next few days, maybe even today [based on my records of previous years]: the Blue-gray gnatcatcher and the Palm Warbler.

The gnatcatcher was reported the next day.

Then one day later Jonathan Greene, who had seen a Palm Warbler at Prospect Park on April 7, wrote in to tell me:

We saw the Palm last night at Turtle Pond, so they're here!

And yesterday a Palm Warbler posed for its 2009 portrait by David Speiser [see above], so now it's official.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pale Male and Lola Q & A

Photo by Bruce Yolton
April 12, 2009

Mai Stewart wrote today:
Hi Marie,
Any inkling of egg hatching yet? What's everyone's best thinking about what's going on?
It's been very sad, and frustrating, not having Donna's, or anyone's, regular reports!

My answer:

Bruce Yolton's blog had a nice little report of the 927 nest today
If the eggs are going to hatch it could be anytime starting today. If nothing happens by Friday it probably means another disappointing season.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

First star of the season

There will be other spectacular birds during the 2009 spring migration, but this one is the first. It was photographed a few hours ago near the Hans Christian Andersen statue at the Model-boat Pond by DAVID SPEISER

If you hurry to the park you may still see it -- it's been there for a few days!