Monday, August 23, 2010

Mourning Warbler! A report from Tom

Mourning warbler [dining] 10/27/04
Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik --

The Mourning warbler is a much desired discovery for Central Park birders not because it is flashy and brightly colored, but because it is elusive and hard to find. Here's Tom Fiore's most recent bird report that begins with this enviable bird:

Central Park, Manhattan, N.Y. City

A Mourning Warbler was studied at the "upper lobe" area of the lake shore in Central Park at the western edge of the Ramble area. The observer a very keen birder who once was more regular in Central, now a loyal Brooklyn-ite, the date was Friday, 20 August.
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On Saturday, 21 August, I birded the park from the north end to Ramble areas in company with Brenda Inskeep and for most of the morning also with Tom Perlman (at the north end), also a bit in the Ramble with others & also one other birder also checking the trees along the bridle path near the NW corner of the reservoir, which was a mid-day mini-hot spot. At least a dozen warbler species were found by us and the busiest locations seemed to be along the Loch, and in the Ramble along the Gill, with migrants more scattered elsewhere. It didn't feel to me like a day of mass movement but the report filed by Jack Meyer, with Pat Craig, Barrie Raik, & Ellen Rockmuller for the north end and ~ 20 Eastern Kingbirds in a flock at one time suggests there was migration in progress.

For variety, it was warblers that held sway with at least a dozen warbler species being found of which I'm aware. By far the most numerous of these and seen in many areas were American Redstart, with 30+ seen in all areas & a minimum of 15+ in the north end only. After them, Yellow (5+) & Black-and-white (6+) Warbler, Northern Waterthrush (6+) & Common Yellowthroat (5+) were most common, with others including Ovenbird (3), Canada (3), Blue-winged (2), Northern Parula (2), Tennessee (1), Black-throated Blue (adult male, Loch), and Prairie Warbler[s].

The Mourning Warbler seen on Friday was looked for by us on Saturday without success - it would have a lot of thick vegetation to hide in where seen but the sighting from Friday was said to be quite clear. Additional sightings for Saturday included Chimney Swifts in modest numbers, several Ruby-throated Hummigbirds, investigating red Cardinal Flower blooms in some areas & the Orange Jewelweed patches in a few others, along with Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, at least several Empidonax-genus flycatchers, the aforementioned E. Kingbirds plus a few more of them, a smattering of Vireos, Warbling & Red-eyed noted by us, a Veery or two along with Wood & an unid. Thrush that may have been a Swainson's or another of our eastern-breding Catharus, Gray Catbirds in the multitudinous, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and a few interesting mentions of other passerines which for now, remain undisclosed - as to specific identities given, by their observers.
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Sunday, not quite an all day rain-out in Manhattan, featured a similar variety of birds as Saturday but with the interesting addition of some shorebird activity: Greater Yellowlegs (quite uncommon in the park) at the Lake edge near Balcony Bridge, and 3 Solitary plus 10 or more Spotted Sandpipers in many locations. I found 8 warbler species, again with American Redstart predominant. There were a few more Veery seen this wet day than Saturday and also on both days were no shortage of Baltimore Orioles, including fair numbers of adult males.