Friday, September 09, 2011

Thrush of the Day and PS

From e-Birds 9/9/11--- THIS MORNING:

Highlight of the morning was a Swainson's Thrush in the Ramble south of Tupelo.

David Barrett

How to tell a Swainson's Thrush from a Gray-cheeked Thrush:

The buffy eye-ring, upper breast and cheeks distinguish the Swainson's Thrush from the similar Gray-cheeked Thrush.

photo of Swainson's Thrush by LLOYD SPITALNIK
photo taken on 10/3/06 in Central Park

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Gorgeous Redhead in Central Park

How to find her -- well, it's a him:

Red-headed Woodpecker- 4/14/07

Here's today's report from Joe DiCostanzo of the American Museum of Natural History:
Red-headed Woodpecker (adult) same tree as yesterday. As you go west on the paved trail from the small bridge at the south end of the Azalea Pond, the Gill is on your left (south). Yesterday and today the Red-headed was in the largest tree on the left side just off the trail (tall, very straight trunk). The bird is very uncooperative; it stays high in the tree and is often difficult to see. In the same tree we had several American Redstarts, a male Black-throated Blue Warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler and two Red-eyed Vireos.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

What Dragonflies do when it's HOT

Eastern Amberwing - Central Park - August 10, 2011

PETER POST writes:


I thought you might like the attached photo of an male Eastern Amberwing
that I recently took, just a few feet inside the park, from the 72nd Street & Central Park West entrance. It is in the obelisk posture. A posture assumed by some dragonflies to minimize the surface area they expose to the heat of the sun. So called because it suggests an obelisk.


Monday, September 05, 2011

Q & A about Pale Male and fledgling

Pale Male chasing fledgling away - 9/5/11
Courtesy of

Mai Stewart asked hawk expert John Blakeman a question about a photo on today's PaleMale website, 9/5/11:
Hi John,
Hope you're having a good holiday!
Today's website shows what seems to be some kind of confrontation between PM and one of the fledglings, which Lincoln believes represents PM beginning to chase the fledglings away from that particular territory.
Do you think this is what's happening -- or would you have another explanation?
But if so, is it too early, or about the normal time? Has the fall migration begun, and do you expect that the fledglings will join it, i.e., move on out of CP? There's certainly enough prey here for everyone --
I believe there was a pix within the last few days of one of the fledglings sitting on top of the Beresford, which is definitely part of PM's territory. Do you think this may have sparked PM's aggressive action toward the fledgling?
Or is it possible for them to stay around, as long as they're a suitable distance away from the area PM claims?
Remember Junior/Charlotte -- they were down at Central Park South, which does give some room away from the 927 area, yet remaining in NYC and within the general area of CP.

Would love to hear your thoughts!
Many thanks,

John Blakeman promptly answered - 9/5/11

I haven't looked at Lincoln's photos on this, so I don't know the particulars.
But it's now September, and the days are getting 4 minutes shorter each day. For the hawks, everything is changing. Summer is gone; fall is here. It's time for immatures to get serious about migrating and moving out. So yes, Pale Male's "interaction" with an eyass may have an element of parental "motivation" to get the immatures to move on out.
I don't think "chase" is the proper word. That implies physical contact and so forth. But this can be a psychological "nudging," a parental displeasure with immatures tending to linger and wishing to mooch off the provisions of the parents. That worked in July and August, but Pale Male won't be caching or dropping much prey for his eyasses now.
The matter is not much related to prey availability at this time of year. Yes, if Pale Male and his consort allowed it, and the eyasses likewise agreed, they could remain well-fed in Central Park through the autumn and winter. But that's not how Red-tail biology works. If that were allowed, there would be an annual accumulation of persisting young hawks who would, sooner or later, overwhelm the prey resources of the local territory, even those of Central Park.
So, young Red-tails are motivated, both by instinct, and gentle parental nudging (perhaps as photographically noted by Lincoln Karim), to respond to internal urges to migrate.
Most likely, the Central Park eyasses will soon just disappear from the scene. At an opportune moment they will loft into the Manhattan sky, catch a rising thermal of heat rising above the hot urban streets and buildings, and within a few minutes find themselves at several thousand feet. From there, it's only a matter of turning to the south (or to the west) to be soaring above New Jersey.
And while aloft, the Central Park eyasses will easily spot the many other immature Red-tails also drifting south. Red-tails don't migrate in close groups or formations (Broadwinged Hawks do.). Still, they tend to move in widely-spaced groups. The Central Park immatures will easily affiliate and join such a soaring mass.
So, any day now, Pale Male's 2011 progeny will depart. It's all very natural and normal; an important part of Red-tail biology.
Pale Male and his mate will have no such migratory urges. They will remain in residence, with the autumn a season of relative ease for them. No eyasses to feed or watch out for. Life will be good. Lots of migrating Red-tails coming down the Hudson from more northern latitudes will fly over Central Park, but Pale Male and his mate will recognize that these birds are merely moving through, and pose no threats to the integrity of their local breeding territory.
From time to time in the autumn, some vagrant Red-tails may even be seen in Pale Male's territory, and he may not even challenge them, knowing full well that they are just resting for a few hours or a day, and will soon be back aloft and heading to the south. In autumn and early winter, many successful Red-tail haggards will allow territorial incursions. But as the days begin to lengthen (in January), or even as they stop shortening (in December), everything changes. The new breeding season will
have begun and the territory will be strongly defended once again.
--John Blakeman

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Five Faithful Friends Find Fulfillment

An American Redstart dines on a fly
photo by MURRAY HEAD -- 9/4/11 [today!]

A ten-Warbler morning in the Ramble!

Observers: Alice Deutsch, Sally Weiner, Susan Schulz, Kathleen Howley and I (Ardith Bondi)

Mostly in The Ramble:

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Warbling Vireo (a couple)
Red-eyed Vireo (several)
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird (young bird by the foot path north of Tanner Spring)
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (including a few immatures)
Yellow Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler (we missed the BTG, but it was reliably
reported by a number of people)
Blackburnian Warbler (Oven)
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush (Laupot)
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
White-throated Sparrow (1)
Northern Cardinal (still some young ones around)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (first fall male)
House Finch
House Sparrow

PS Sorry about the alliteration...
PPS Thanks, Ardith, and thanks eBirds