Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Loon & the Rail: Where they came from

Tom Fiore writes:

Virginia Rail - photo: Wikipedia


Last Thursday, April 3, a Common Loon and a Virginia Rail were released by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator into Central Park, the loon at the Lake in the morning, and the rail at the Loch in early afternoon. It is not clear whether either of these birds were originally found in or near Central Park, or by whom or when they were found & brought to the rehab. facility, which is on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It is unfortunate that the loon in particular was released where it was, as of all the waters in Central Park only the reservoir is fully appropriate as a loon stop-over (and is the only water body there on which loons regularly - virtually annually - stop by on migration for visits of a day or more, most often in early spring, less commonly in fall.)  We can hope that the loon brought to the lake - and subsequently "caught" on camera by Murray Head - was able to fly out soon after to a more suitable location. As for the rail left in the Loch, it was not seen after the eve. of it's release there, and we also can hope it made its way out to a more suitable location. A far better area might have been selected for the rail, which would have meant transporting it a short way out of Manhattan - perhaps to the Bronx, perhaps to a place where Virginia Rail once nested and still occurs on migration, Van Cortlandt Park in the western Bronx. That species of rail has occurred naturally in Central Park, but not, as far as anyone knows, with any regularity.  Thanks to a number of Central Park's "regulars" who provided information about the release of these two birds.


Friday, April 04, 2014


Hi Marie,

I took a photo from Bow Bridge of the little house* on the lake below.

Some visiting Canada Geese and next to the house, there he is... all a loon.

I have not noticed any reports; 
thought I would pass it along.

Murray Head


In Central Park, An American Masterpiece, Sara Cedar Miller calls the structure a "rustic boat landing"  and writes: "In the nineteenth century passenger boats circulated the Lake, stopping at the six landings to pick up and discharge passengers."  

Thursday, April 03, 2014

First Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Joe DiCostanzo of the AMNH writes [via ebirdsnyc]:

Along the wood chip path west of the Great Lawn we found sapsuckers, phoebes, juncos and the first Ruby-crowned Kinglet I have seen this year.
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in Central Park - photo by DAVID SPEISER

Louisiana Waterthrush in the Loch

Louisiana Waterthrush - photo by David Speiser,  April 13, 2013

Received this morning [4/3/2014] from Nadir Souirgi:

There is a Louisiana Waterthrush currently in the Loch, in Central Park's North End. Spotted by Mike Anderson, it was working the stream in the direction of the Lasker Pool. 

Other migrants frequenting the area are Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Fox Sparrow (singing), Swamp Sparrow(singing), Dark-eyed Junco (singing everywhere!) and a single Hermit Thrush. 

Good birding,

Nadir Souirgi

via ebirdsNYC

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