Thursday, July 08, 2010

Advance notice of a delightful event:

a photo of last year's "Woodland Walk." That's Regina Alvarez at the lower left addressing the group. She's a wonderful leader and if you are unfamiliar with the North Woods [or even if you know the area well] this walk is well worth taking. Mark your calendar for August 19.

Woodland Walk 2010: At the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park on 110th St between Fifth and Lenox Aves)

Thursday, August 19 (no rain date) 6:30-8 pm

FREE! For adults.

[From the Central Park Conservancy website:]

Next month, see Central Park in a whole new light at dusk in the North Woods! After mingling over complimentary refreshments in the Charles A. Dana Center, Regina Alvarez, Central Park Conservancy Director of Horticulture and Woodland Management, will lead us on an awe-inspiring walk by the Harlem Meer and through the woods in pursuit of an evening-time serenity that is near impossible to find elsewhere in Manhattan. Hear the sound of the waterfall and the crickets chirping, admire birds, butterflies, and other insects, and perhaps catch a glimpse of elusive nocturnal creatures including bats and raccoons. Wear comfortable walking shoes, and don't let a wet forecast deter you from attending. If inclement weather prevents us from visiting the North Woods, our Social Hour will take place wholly in the Dana Discovery Center and will consist of an entertaining and informative presentation by Regina on Central Park's nocturnal wildlife.

No advance registration. For more information, call 212-860-1370 or visit the Harlem Meer Social Hour webpage.

Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

This event does not require an RSVP.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Who flew over the play last night?

Black-crowned Night-heron

Black Skimmer
2 photos by Lloyd Spitalnik

Barn Owl
[internet photo]

A corresponent named Orrin sent this query to eBirds:

Saw Merchant of Venice [at the Delacorte Theater] last night, and before the play heard or saw robins, red-wing blackbirds, a flicker, and chimney swifts. Then, around dusk and again after 10 P.M. a large bird with what appeared to be gray wings flew over Turtle Pond. What would be out that late? Any owls seen recently in Central Park?

Tom Kerr
sent in the first response:

I would guess a night-heron

Phil Jeffrey, the moderator of eBirds summed up the possibilities:

There used to be Eastern Screech-Owls in the Ramble as part of the ill-fated reintroduction project. However I'm not aware of any now and I'm also not aware of any other species of breeding owl in the park. Nocturnal hunters are likely to be the Black-crowned Night Heron (as noted by Tom) but in previous years there have also been Common Nighthawks and even Black Skimmers at Turtle Pond. Barn Owl is theoretically possible but unlikely (nearest ones I personally know about are at Liberty State Park in NJ). A lot of normal birds fly around well into twilight hours as well.

PS from Marie:

I'm casting my vote with Tom. As far as anyone knows all the screech owls are gone. There haven't been any skimmers seen for a long time. And though as Phil says, normal birds often fly into the twilight hours, 10pm is well past twilight; diurnal birds are asleep in their night roosts by then. My vote goes to the Black-crowned Night Heron

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Three cheers for the Red White & Blue

Red Admiral butterfly at The Pond [59th St.] on July 4, 2010
Photo by Murray Head

Murray notes:There is absolutely no color change or enhancement on that image.