Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Below, Tom Fiore's latest Central Park report featuring migrating nighthawks.

Central Park, Manhattan, N.Y. City

On Monday (16 August, 2010) evening at around 7:45 to 8 p.m., at least 15 (fifteen) Common Nighthawks moved southward over Central Park, as viewed from the south end of the Reservoir there, and subsequently seen as they moved on over the Great Lawn area, into the air-space farther south and out of view. They were trending slightly southwest from there. There may have been at least a few more as I was not fully noticing them until a few passed almost directly in front of me (that is, above but nearly directly overhead) - in any case I was able to count 15 in a period of only 15 minutes, most coming thru all at once in what could almost be called an extremely loose "flock", some separated by up to 50 yards or more per bird.

Their speed was misleading, as it seemed they were just lazing along, but when I ran out to the Great Lawn area -a distance of maybe a few hundred yards from my 'perch' by the reservoir- most were already far away, towards or even beyond the castle which is another 1/4-mile or so distant from where I stood. There was little discernible wind yet clouds were in motion so obviously the wind was in motion above the surface. Most of the nighthawks looked to be at about 300 - 500+ feet above the ground or water when I first saw them, and some or maybe all looked to be climbing as they went south. I watched for another 20 minutes as dusk really came on and saw no more in that additional time.

. . .

It is certainly the time for nighthawks to be migrating and these little weather changes sometimes (not always!) seem to get them moving, too. Watching the birds with 12x optics helped get on those that were a bit distant, as they moved... Otherwise, from what I found earlier and in each day since last Wednesday, there had been relatively scant migrants although some of the most typical mid-August birds are going thru. It look as though a good number of Eastern Kingbirds may have moved on, although I'd expect some more to still be on their way south.

At least some freshly arrived migrants in Central Park's north end this Tuesday a.m. (6/17). More later...

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