Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tom wins the Phoebe sweepstakes

Photo by David Speiser -- 2007

I received the following report this morning from Tom Fiore, one of Central Park's notable birders, and perhaps the most doggedly persistent first-Phoebe-hunters of all. The only year I ever managed to find a Phoebe before Tom did was in 1998, the year he was unable to be in the park on the Phoebe's expected arrival date. That year, while on a birdwatching trip to Colombia in March, he and three companions were kidnapped by a band of revolutionaries/terrorist known as FARC. He managed to escape and returned home in early April.

Tom's report

Hi Marie,

I haven't posted a report yet (although I will) - first Eastern Phoebes (2 of them that I am aware of) arrived Wednesday, March 10th - in the north woods. I spent morning hours mostly in the Ramble and points south of the reservoir, where I found no phoebes... then, later in the day, through some of the northern half of the park, and around the Blockhouse, I heard and then saw a phoebe... with a second one less than 100 feet away, while the first could still be heard singing a bit, in the distance. It is not the first time that I have come across the first (reported) phoebe of spring in the north end of the park - although, partly due to more birder-coverage, it is more often a southern-half of the park discovery. There were also a few Golden- crowned Kinglets at the Great Hill and I see that at least one of that species was reported on Tuesday. I also found a few daffodils in bloom today at locations near the East Drive.

I'll be out looking early tomorrow - Thursday... it's hard to be sure but it appears that a very good migration is taking place right now, over NYC. It should be apparent if there is a fresh influx of robins and/or any other early spring migrants. I hope we will have some good showings of woodcock, which so far have been thin and they have been on the move, attested by dozens of reports from places far north of NYC in the last 10 days or so.

Tom [Fiore]

PS. Here's a link to the NY Times story about Tom's escape:

PPS. Here are some other First Phoebe dates from my records:
3/9 in
1992, 2000, 2001, 2004, 3/11 in 1997, 3/12 in 1992, 3/13 in '94 and '95. 3/14 in '96
Also, 3/10 in 1909 [I was a very little girl then.]

PPPS. Below, a radar map Tom sent indicating masses of migrant birds on the way.Tom writes:
The blues and greens over land may be rain or at least high moisture in the atmosphere, but the grays over land are mostly birds...
(Image is from 11:42 p.m.[ 3/10/10] Eastern Standard Time