Friday, April 20, 2012

Today's star warbler

Hooded Warbler [male] -- Central Park - 4/21/09

Stephanie Seymour of Englewood, NJ reports on eBirds NYC this morning:

This morning at about 6:45 am, I found a female HOODED WARBLER high in a tree at the south end of Strawberry Fields. Chris Cooper had seen the bird at the north end a few minutes before that. He came over and saw the bird at the south end with me as well. Other nice birds today included 3 or 4 Black-and-white Warblers, a singing Northern Waterthrush at the Oven (spotted first by Jacob Drucker), a Louisiana Waterthrush in the Gill, a Northern Parula near Azalea Pond, a couple Palm Warblers here and there, and many Yellow-rumps everywhere. A few Blue-headed Vireos were singing away, 2 Wood Ducks landed in some trees and then flew over Azalea Pond , a Great Egret was in the Lake, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was calling in Strawberry Fields. Happy birding,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hoooo stopped by today?

A Great Horned Owl of yesteryear, photographed on 12/8/10 in the Ramble by MURRAY HEAD

Junko Suzuki sent the first report of today's GHO to eBirdsNYC:

GREAT HORNED OWL, Swampy Pin Oak in Ramble, 9:45 AM, reported by Richard Fried.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birds are Poetry

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Rusty Blackbird

Yellow-rumped Warbler

3 photos by DAVID SPEISER
taken in Central Park on April 16th, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Extremely rare visitor

American Bittern in Central Park [2011]

The American Bittern is an extremely rare visitor to Central Park. It was seen once in 2011, on May 18th at the Point; in some years it is not seen at all. As we were finishing our sparrow watch on the Great Hill, Malcolm Morris approached and told us that he had just seen an American Bittern in the North Woods, originally found by Tom Perlman. Malcolm gave us excellent directions* and we headed over to see the bird without delay. Two other birders were already viewing it when we arrived, and we were treated to unobstructed, well-lit views of the bittern perched with its neck extended skywards in a bare tree about 35 feet off the ground.

From Starr Saphir

*excellent directions:

Take the wood chip path continuous with the NW slope of the Loch
looking over Lasker rink and the Meer. About halfway on that chip path
is a huge boulder. Just north of that boulder (about ten or twenty
yards) is a snag and just next to the snag (slightly up slope) is a
tree that has not leafed out yet. The bittern is (or was) in that

Good luck to those who try for it. Hopefully the bird will stick around.

Karen Fung


Monday, April 16, 2012

The warblers are coming, hurrah, hurrah and PS

Prairie Warbler -- photo by DAVID SPEISER

From Starr Saphir's report of today's [4/16] walk in the Ramble:

At 9:45 we responded to a text message alert (the first using the new
NYNYBIRD system) from the eagle-eyed Anders Peltomaa who had spotted a
Prairie Warbler at Azalea Pond. [see PPS below] We arrived on the scene quickly and
within a few minutes the bird reappeared, perching on the fence and then
on the ground, giving good closeup views to all. This is the first
Prairie Warbler reported in Central Park for the season, and naturally
is also the first for our walks -- and our best bird of the day.
encourage other birders to view Anders' recent instructions on how to
sign up for the system. And we thank him for the timely alert.

We also had our first-of-season Brown Thrasher in the Ramble.

Highlights: Prairie Warbler (Azalea Pond) Blue-headed Vireo (3, Turtle Pond and Azalea Pond, excellent views) Pine Warbler (3) Yellow-rumped Warbler (15+, seen everywhere) Palm Warbler (6) Brown Thrasher Good birding, Starr

PS Doug Kurz also sighted a Worm-eating Warblerat Strawberry Fields "working the upper canopy midway along (and on the east side of) the woodchip path this morning. The bird was not singing, and was a bit difficult to keep track of, as there were quite a few Northern Juncos moving about up there as well. However, at one point it came down to a relatively bare lower tree, and showed off its handsomely striped bicycle helmet and distinctive shape and coloration."

PPS: Anders Peltomaa writes:

... I have set up a be text message alert for New York county (Manhattan) named NYNYBIRD. A text message alert system has the advantage that one do not need to have internet access or a smart phone. This system will work with any cell phone, old or new. You can subscribe here:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tom reports on yesterday's birds

Black-and-White Warbler - 4/24/07

Saturday 14 April, 2012 -
Central Park: Manhattan, N.Y. City

The day began (at first light) with a very strong flow of 'new' migrants, including some apparent onward morning flight of various passerines as seen from the northern end of Central Park, and still at least somewhat evident a 1/2-hour after sunrise. Many more Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warblers were moving than in any previous day this spring, and accompanying them were a more modest number of additional warbler species with Palm Warbler an easy second in their overall numbers. A very good sparrow flight also took place with Chipping Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow predominant, also including a strong contingent of Dark-eyed Junco. Continuing in good numbers were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, aided by fresh reinforcements.

. . .a number of birders were able to see a Yellow-throated Warbler in Central Park's Ramble area, at the NW portion of that area, known as the "Upper Lobe" of the lake, not far in from the W. 77 Street park entrance - A good many other warbler species were also seen in the Ramble or nearby, and for Central Park there appear to have been at least ten warbler species noted with an even more unexpected species, Worm-eating Warbler in the Ramble's Azalea Pond area, just a bit earlier than expected in this month, along with that Yellow-throated... Incidentally, the one (of the latter) that was around the "upper lobe" was also in the company of a Wilson's Snipe in the cove below, that being at least the 4th individual snipe in the borough this year - and in the 4th location.

The other warbler spp. of which I am aware from today in Manhattan are: N. Parula (several), Black-and-white (several) Pine, Palm, Yellow-rumped [Myrtle], Louisiana Waterthrush , and ( 2 reasonable reports of ) Northern Waterthrush, and Black-throated Green Warbler (each from Central Park in the morning & afternoon).

I could mention that a few other warbler & additional migrant birds were also reported, but are very early and might be sought in the next few days for additional confirmations. Of today's sightings, Worm-eating Warbler is perhaps ten days ahead of a more expected "early" date in our area and is among the longer-distance migrants to have come in. Many of the species seen today are of the shorter-distance migrants, that is from only the southern U.S. wintering populations, although some are also migrants from a bit farther south. I suspect there were a couple, or at least one, additional warbler species seen in Manhattan today, with at least a few somewhat likely in the midst of a good general push of migrants in mid-April as was today's. There are some reports for Yellow Warbler in NYC this day, which I did not hear of nor see myself, but is rather likely. Other species reasonably possible now would include Hooded Warbler and Ovenbird, among warblers soon to be seen. (I also don't know if anyone continues to seek & find any chat in the city, which could still be hanging in where the species was being seen.)

The overall migration did not appear as "dense" (as high in overall numbers at any given point in time or space) as that which took place April 4 (night of April 3 into the 4th) of this spring (from a Manhattan perspective, anyhow) but was a good one with a lot of fresh influx of some species already present or that had been passing through lately. Notable again were many of the sparrow tribe, Chipping Sparrow in particular in a good showing right about "on schedule", and now out-numbering junco, although still not by all that much. I did manage to scare up a single "red" Fox Sparrow & there may have been a few of them still about, while the White-throated Sparrow numbers were again reinvigorated with a freshly-arrived batch, in the thousands but, I thought, less numerous than the 4 April push, which was surprisingly rapid-moving.

...For the most part the day's migrations seemed to be made of rather typical arrivals and with numbers neither especially low nor high. A few species seemed lacking even if seen by some, such as Blue-gray Gnatcatcher which ought to be found in much higher no's any day now... and likely will be. Many of today's arrivals of Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warblers were in bright plumage, and that can signal additional migration soon to follow. There was not a tremendous amount of song in the city parks, as the arrivals seemed to be quite intent on feeding, but in some cases the singing was evident and I heard at least a bit of a dawn chorus, in the first hour or less after first light. I'll post a full list on Sunday that may include today's sightings or just Sunday's if there are any new additions which seems quite possible, as will be over much of the next 6+ weeks in our city parks. Thanks to all those who reported sightings and mentioned some by word-of-mouth.

Good birding - hoping for a little rain as it is needed here...

Tom Fiore,