Monday, March 31, 2014

TOM FIORE reports on yesterday's birds:

Ruddy Duck [Bluebill]  -

Sunday, 30 March, 2014  -  Central Park, Manhattan, N.Y. City. There'd been a bit of movement , a few "new" arrivals (barely!) as of this weekend. The RED-NECKED GREBE continued at the reservoir as it has now for 2 a half weeks; each day still there it appears just slightly more towards a bright breeding plumage... also present on the reservoir: 5+ Double-crested Cormorants, the pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, a "bluebill" (1 amongst the 6 or so Ruddy Ducks is gaining much breeding plumage including that bright-light blue bill color in decent light - Bluebill is a term used once-upon-a-time by those who hunt, by birders past a certain age), A few Hooded Mergansers, a coupla' Coots (American flavor), Northern Shovelers - 120+ altogether, on res., Buffleheads showing slight increase and on virtually all waters in the park (even, briefly, the model boat pond a.k.a. the Conservatory Water), Gadwalls, gulls of the usual 3 spp. and not a whole mess of them, at noon.  

Wood Ducks were found in 3 locations: Lake (5 together), Pond (1 sleeping drake), Meer (drake);  Black-crowned Night-Herons up to at least 3: two of these roosting above a Great Blue Heron at the Point, another black-crowned at the Pond;  Killdeer: 2 photographed with all the many robins, grackles, asst'd. other icteridace-ous birds (well, there was one Common Grackle that at a distance, "aztec thrush plumage?" and did have quite a symmetry of leucistic tendencies to some of its wing tail feathers...); the killdeer were still there as I passed the Great Lawn the 2nd time, very close by the east path. 

Also present in the very-grackly ball-field (Great Lawn) flockage were a number of Brown-headed Cowbirds of both sex, a a very few Rusty Blackbirds & Red-winged Blackbirds.  Of course the 2 Baltimore Orioles lingering in the Ramble made this a 5-icterid day - but where was the meadowlark to make that a "six-pack"?  Also still lingering in the Ramble  feeder area, the not-so-colorful female PINE WARBLER (still the onliest to show up yet this year in NY Co.?) "red" Fox Sparrows a-plenty in multiple locations, the Ramble seeming to hold more foxies than all other areas. 

The other sparrows today included a couple new to me in Central this year: Field, CHIPPING (at least 2, maybe more, as dogs did their dogly-duty & ran thru where some of these sparrows were coming out to feed on open lawn, at the s. slope of the Great Hill...), & Savannah (2, one at Great Hill, a second at the north side of Sheep Meadow), plus Swamp (in the Gill [that's the little stream in the Ramble's official name & it flows west from the Azalea Pond to the lake] Sparrow, which may have overwintered - this individual in crispy spring plumage; and of course good no's. of Song (& many giving songs) and White-throated Sparrows, all around as "typical", by now, and most overwintered.

E. Phoebe, still not common but over a dozen seen, in about as many locations; 3 were working the Azalea Pond together at one point. (thanks, Dennis.) A flickering of Yellow-shafted Flickers, a very few Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, a coupla' Brown Creepers, a Hermit Thrush (but I suspect it wintered either in Central or extremely close to there), and a few Am. Goldfinch nowhere near the feeders, rounded out some of my bird highlights on the morning; mid-day. A whole lot more American Robins have been in this weekend - now in the multi-thousand range. 3 native mammal species in Central today: E. Chipmunk, E. Gray Squirrel, Raccoon. No bats, so far...

good end-of-March birding,
keep above the high water!

Tom Fiore