Tuesday, September 30, 2014

End of September Birding

                 Blue Jay - photo by LLOYD SPITALNIK - 2007 

Tom Fiore's End-of-September report: 

Sept. 25 - 30, 2014 
Manhattan, N.Y. City

In the past 6+ days, there have been modest flights of finches that have included more than a few Pine Siskins, sometimes seeming to be in company with American Goldfinches, & just as often not. There also have been small numbers of Purple Finch, which had also been on the move in prior weeks, and are somewhat more of an annual thing downstate even if subject to large fluctuation year to year.

The finch flights have been noted mainly in the first hour or two of daylight, and from parks including but not limited to Central, Riverside, Fort Tryon, & Inwood Hill parks.    Some have also been noted at points in the Bronx.  Pine Siskins also have been noticed in the past week or so in many other states, with some in the east getting south of NY, perhaps well south although I have not looked for all of those reports.  From the modest-seeming flights thru Manhattan, it's been hard to see big differences from the days with a lot of obvious migratory movement (nocturnal & diurnal) & did not seem to be so many more finches mixed in with the heavier flights - but I suspect that on those days, more, possibly many more were actually moving; that notion is somewhat borne out thru looking at a variety of reports, for ex. checking daily sightings at 50+ hawkwatch sites in the east, which are fairly consistently kept & have observers often keen on anything flying by (birds, bugs, planes, superheroes, whatever), and typically put in long hours & in some places also beginning at or before sunrise, which can indicate the movements of many birds along ridges and other features at some elevation, in addition to coastal passage-ways.

Also continuing to be noted are very modest (so far) numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Blue Jays have been increasing - Blue Jay is a fairly common and regular autumn migrant at just about this time of year in most if not all fall seasons, downstate.  One difference could be in how many are being seen; it will be interesting to see if they gather in any great numbers somewhere south, or move around as fall goes along, and as food sources dwindle or are perhaps concentrated in just some areas.

Seen at least since Friday 9/26 have been a few White-crowned Sparrows, including in a few locations in Central Park, & other parks, these joining the modest but increasing number & variety of sparrows found by those seeking them out. Indigo Buntings also continue with many in 1st-fall plumage variation, occasionally leading to flirtations with some other ID's in some instances.  Warbler diversity has been a bit lower with numbers of most spp. dropping off, yet it was still possible to turn up about 20 species as of today.  There have been a notably high number of reports of CT Warbler in the larger region, some nicely photographed, in states from east, west, & south of NY. It's still quite possible a few 'new' ones will pass through in the coming week or two.

Good October birding,

Tom Fiore