Saturday, May 01, 2010

Exciting days in Central Park

Worm-eating Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Three photos taken on 4/30/10 by DAVID SPEISER

and finally:

Bat flying over the Model-boat Pond -- April 29, 2010
photo Courtesy of

It's been a wild and wonderful few days in Central Park, with migrating birds arriving in great numbers yesterday and today. To give you an idea of the excitement, here is a report by field biologist and relatively new Central Park birdwatcher Morgan Tingley, that appeared yesterday on eBirdsnyc:

I can't keep track of what's been posted previously as highlights, but I think the highlight for everyone in Central Park early this morning was the wave after wave of warblers flying in, feeding briefly, and moving on. My group stationed themselves around Tupelo and then up on Belvedere Castle, but I talked to birders all over the park who witnessed the same thing: huge numbers. By around 10 am or so, many of these birds had spread themselves out so that ractically every tree throughout contained a black & white, parula or black-throated green, yet there was no super concentrated spot. Small dense woodlots, if anything, concentrated numbers. The spot by Triplets Bridge, for instance, contained 1 cooperative Hooded Warbler, plus a Blue-winged, 2 Parulas, 2 Black-and-Whites, and 1 Redstart. Northern Waterthrushes were noted singing far away from water. A Wood Thrush was singing neat the Maintenance Meadow. I "only" tallied 15 species of warbler, but with the additional reports of Worm-eating (2-3 separate reports), Cerulean (2 reports), Prothonotary (heard from previous spot very early in AM, not seen or heard since), and Pine (several), that'd bring us to 19, which ain't shabby.

PS from Marie:
I saw one of those waves of warblers arriving around 7 a.m. yesterday. Amazing sight.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Fifth Avenue nest: summing up

The incubation period for Red-tailed hawks is 28 to 34 days. Since Pale Male and Lola began incubation around March 10, it is long past the time when the eggs would have hatched.

For those who are saddened by another year of nest failure, I'll remind you that the hawks don't look at it that way.

They incubate by instinct, without any anticipation of future offspring. After a certain time, if their chick-nurturing instincts have not been triggered by the sights and sounds of hatchlings, they will abandon the nest and the unhatched eggs.

And then, instead of the tremendous effort and energy required to raise two or three growing hawklets, Pale Male and Lola will have a nice easy spring and summer just feeding themselves and enjoying each other's company. [I know that sounds anthropomorphic, but I believe we have ample evidence that Pale Male and Lola have a companionable relationship.]

So, for those of you who have still been wondering and hoping, that's the scoop for the year 2010.

PS What happens to the unhatched eggs in the nest? Eventually they are eaten by gulls or perhaps bluejays. Waste not, want not.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Prothonotary - TODAY!!

Prothonotary Warbler in Central Park, 4/27/09
Photo by David Speiser-
The report of a sighting of a Prothonotary Warbler, one of the most coveted birds of the spring, came in via eBirds this morning. Since this particular warbler tends to stay in a particular area for a longish period of time, [sometimes for more than a day], I am posting the rep-ort RIGHT NOW for any readers who might be able to drop everything and head for the park.

Monday Morning -- Prothonotary Warbler

I found the bird at 9:20 along the pathway just below Belvedere Castle along the south side of Turtle Pond. It was staying in the mid- to high-canopy and foraging very actively. - It preferred the very large, almost fully-leafed oaks on both sides of thepath. - I was able to stay with the bird and help others get on it through 10:15 am. - It would disappear for 10-15 minutes at a time and I believe was flying across the 79th St bypass and into the edge of the ramble. When it would reappear it would always first come into the trees between the path and the bypass.

- It is a male who is singing infrequently but very loudly and clearly. The song was how I first located the bird and is your best bet to getting on it, given the light and vegetation.

- On a more interesting note, it was also giving a quiet sputtering song at times that was interesting to listen to.

Good luck to others who try for it. On a wet and gray day, it was certainly a bright point.

Morgan Tingley, New York

PS from Marie : THANKS, Morgan!