Saturday, October 03, 2009

Bank Rock Bridge re-opened and re-named

Photo by Marianne Girards

Marianne Girards, a long-time Central Park birder and one of the regular Shakespeare Garden entomology investigators [under the tutelage of Nick Wagerik] just sent in the photo above, taken on Oct 1. It shows the newly restored Bank Rock Bridge. After several years of construction, the beautiful new bridge reopened in mid-September.

According to the Central Park Conservancy it is now to be called Oak Bridge. In the history below, [from the website of the Jan Hrd Pokorny, the architect in charge of the restoration,] you'll see that the name Oak Bridge is actually the span's original name. Nevertheless I have a strong feeling that most of the Central Park nature gang will always call it Bank Rock Bridge.

Below, a photo of the "nondescript bridge" [see history below] in its previous unadorned state:


Designed by Calvert Vaux, Oak Bridge was constructed in 1860 across a narrow arm of the Central Park Lake at its northernmost tip to provide a connection from the path along the West Drive into the Ramble. Also referred to as Bank Rock Bridge, it was one of the larger and more elegant of the Park’s wooden bridges, constructed of carved white oak with panels of decorative cast iron set in the railings and a deck of yellow pine.

With the exception of its stone abutments, the original bridge did not survive long. Deterioration of the woodwork, which had been replaced in 1872, continued to be a problem through the early decades of the twentieth century, requiring reconstruction and repair on several occasions. It was replaced in the early 1930s by a nondescript bridge of ordinary wood planks and iron pipe railing.

In an effort to restore the historic architectural character of this part of Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy hired Jan Hrd Pokorny Associates to investigate the possibilities for reconstructing a replica of Oak Bridge based on the original drawing and historic photographs. JHPA performed exhaustive research into the types of materials that would allow a faithful reconstruction while also lasting much longer than the original wooden bridge.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Second post for Friday

Blackpoll warbler and Northern flicker

Photos taken Oct 1, 2009 by David Speiser

Yesterday was obviously a great day for fall migration birdwatching. I'm posting Eve Levine's report from eBirds, just in case today's a repeat and some of you want to head for the park:

Wood Duck (1f, Turtle Pond. 1m, Lake.)
Double-crested Cormorant
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove (many)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1,Upper Lobe.1 Maint. Field.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (many)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (still many)
Eastern Wood Pewee (1, Locust Grove. 1, Falconer's Hill.)
Eastern Phoebe (several)
Blue Jay
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet (many)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (many)
Veery (1)
Gray-cheeked Thrush (1, Summit Rock)
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin (Ubiquitous)
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher (3)
European Starling
Nashville Warbler (1, Mugger's Woods)
Northern Parula (6+)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (1, Strw. Fields)
Magnolia Warbler (15+)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (4)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (1)
Palm Warbler (3, Sparrow Ridge)
Blackpoll Warber (6+)
Black-and-white Warbler (3+)
American Redstart (1)
Ovenbird (1)
Common Yellowthroat (Many)
Wilson's Warbler (1, Mugger's Woods)
Scarlet Tanager (1, Summit Rock)
Eastern Towhee (Several, Strw. Fields)
Song Sparrow (2)
Swamp Sparrow (1, Strw. Fields)
White-throated Sparrow (Increasing)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1, Mugger's Woods)
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

And here's one David found and photographed that wasn't on the list: an Indigo Bunting [much drabber in fall plumage]

David Speiser

Readers weigh in

Wild Turkey, Sept. 2008 photo by Charlie

Re post of 9/29
One of the park's most regular Regulars, Jack Meyer, writes:

Since I saw Bruce's PS re the Wild Turkey's fate, I thought I should put my oar in. Unless there were two turkeys, which some people claimed, (although none whom I spoke to saw them both at once) I think some were confused by the fact that during part of its stay with us the bird was molting; it arrived considerably more than a year ago. I first saw a turkey in the Ramble on June 28, and frequently after that. A hurried and likely incomplete search of eBird archives turns up reports from other birders on June 22, July 15, and July 22 plus several throughout September.

Re post of 9/30: Reader Chris Lyons writes in a correction. [The mistake was mine, not David Speiser's]:

The second Pine Warbler photo is actually of a fall-plumaged Chestnut-sided Warbler.
The first Pine Warbler photo may not be a Pine Warbler either, but I honestly don't know. Pines, Blackpolls, and Baybreasteds are all very tough to ID in the fall. Chestnut-sided is usually a snap, though. Anyway, that's a gorgeous picture, however you label it. :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Posing in the park for David

Gadwall drake

Brown Thrasher

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

All photos taken during the last few days by David Speiser

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Last year's turkey and a PS from Bruce

photo by Randy Arthur

Someone who came to my talk at the 92nd St. Y on Saturday sent me the evocative photo above. It features the wild turkey that arrived in Central Park almost exactly a year ago, survived Thanksgiving, and hung around until early January. Just before disappearing it was photographed [in the rain] on the corner of 59th St and 6th Ave--see photo below. This last image of our most recent avian celebrity appeared in the NY Times on Jan 7, 2009.

Photo: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Bruce Yolton sent in a sad postscript to the turkey story. I hadn't known this:

The Turkey didn't exactly disappear this winter. It was captured and ended up somewhere upstate at the direction of the DEC.