Saturday, May 14, 2011

Orange and Gold in Central Park







1 and 2. Baltimore Orioles, male
3. Baltimore Oriole, female
4. Unidentified [for the moment] flower
5. Downy mallard duckling
6. Eagle Owl
at "On a Wing," a Belvedere Castle event
where Cathy and Bobby Horvath showed some of their rescued and rehabilitated creatures while educating those who watched.

Six photos by MURRAY HEAD
all but the last photographed on May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Photo by DAVID SPEISER http://lilibirds,com

Regular birdwatcher Junko Zuzuki sent in the following report to eBirds this morning:

Very quick walk through Central Park this morning produced some nice birds. The highlights were: BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Riviera, 8:35AM) and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (E. side of Mall, 9AM, seen singing from the path closest to East Drive.) Others included: Northern Parula Yellow Warbler (Lake side, near Boathouse.) Chestnut-sided Warbler (near Oven.) Magnolia Warbler Black-throated Blue Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Black-and-white Warbler American Redstart Ovenbird Northern Waterthrush Common Yellowthroat Wilson's Warbler (Point, seen from Oven.) Canada Warbler (near Bow Bridge, Ramble side.)

PS Between 7 and 9 this morning a small group of us strolling through the Ramble with Steve Quinn saw every one of Junko's warblers EXCEPT the Blackburnian. As a bonus we also saw the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nest , with both of the tiny birds fluttering around it. It is fairly high in an American Sycamore [the only one there!] just north and west of the Bow Bridge. Here's the description of the gnatcatcher nest from The Birder's Handbook:

"Nest: cup-shaped, saddled on horizontal limb or fork; compact, of plant down and similar materials held together with bits of lichen, lined with fine materials. "

Amazingly, that's exactly what the nest looked like. Soft, soft, soft. While we were searching for it a birder on a walk with the NYC Audubon passed by and said that the gnatcatcher nest is the size of a walnut. Well, it wasn't. It was considerably bigger.


Monday, May 09, 2011

First time nester in Central Park - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher with nesting material

This is pretty exciting news:

Ace birdwatcher Chris Cooper just wrote in to e-Birds:

Jeff Ritter, Claude Bloch, Leslie Beebe, and I were delighted to discover today that a pair of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS are nesting in the Ramble. As one enters the Ramble across Bow Bridge, the nest is located near the top of a large, nearly white-barked sycamore tree tree just a little way up the west side path, on the lake side; at present the tree is very sparse on leaves. Coming from Bow Bridge, the tree aligns behind a dark, branchless, vertical trunk hacked off at the top. The nest resembles a cotton ball that's been slightly smooshed. The easiest way to locate the nest is to watch the birds going in and out of it. They're usually quite vocal. Otherwise, the Ramble area was rather subdued. Junko mentioned the best birds already; other highlights included BLACKBURNIAN W (the Captain's Bench), a very vocal WHITE-EYED VIREO (the base of the Point), CANADA W (Warbler Rock), BLACKPOLL W (Strawberry Fields, Turtle Pond near the Polish Statue), a female RT HUMMINGBIRD (S end of Strawberry Fields), INDIGO BUNTING (Falconer's Hill, thanks to Roger Pasquier), and several imm. male ORCHARD ORIOLES (Falconer's, Strawberry, the Weather Station). --Chris Cooper