Thursday, May 07, 2015

GREAT overview of the Spring Migration

I am reprinting below Doug Kurz's extremely thorough, and indeed exciting overview of the birds he [and others] have seen during the last few days. It is worth reading carefully, and saving for consultation in future years! 
Pine Warbler -- almost gone from Central Park   Photo ID: TK
What a great week it has been for birding in the Park!  Since my last post recounting Monday's bonanza of warblers, every day has brought a little bit of evolution to the overall picture.  I was in the Ramble Tuesday morning 6-10am, Wednesday afternoon 3:30pm to sundown, and today (Thursday) 5:45am until 3:45pm.
Today's highlights were Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Bay-breasted and Cape May Warblers, White-crowned and Lincoln's Sparrows.  Also reported by others were Red-headed Woodpecker (briefly at Tupelo) and Black-billed Cuckoo (S. side of Turtle Pond).
Thrushes other than Hermit began to appear this week in ever greater numbers.  By Wednesday afternoon there were Veery, Swainson's and Wood Thrushes readily seen scattered throughout in appropriate areas.  But as of this morning, there were mostly gone, leaving just a few of each.  So there was exit flight last night, and I think we can say there has been gradual turnover all week. 
Among the warblers, the Pines and Palms are all but gone.  My last Pine was Monday, and I had only a few Palm Tuesday and Wednesday.  I saw neither one today.  Louisiana Waterthrush seems to be gone as well, now fully replaced by Northern.  Prairie and Blue-wing were easily found early in the week, but seem to be declining in numbers.  Today I had one each male and female Prairie, and one each male (heard only) and female Blue-winged.  Yellow-rumps are declining in abundance and dominance.  More females and fewer singing males were the case for Black-throated Green today.  Female Yellowthroat, Parula and Black-throated Blue Warblers are now being seen in addition to the still-copious males.  Wilson's and Canada Warblers have arrived.  Blackpolls are on the increase, leaving only Tennessee and Mourning on the list of expected arrivals.  (I think one or two Tennessee have been seen, but I consider them latecomers.)
However, we are not done yet.  The Redstarts are still mostly 2nd year adult males (black and orange).  In a week, there will be ubiquitous "Yellowstarts" comprising the first-year males and the females.  Female Blackpolls have yet to arrive, as well as the bulk of female Magnolia, et al.  We have seen both male and female Chestnut-sided and Cape May, but I think there are more birds to come.  So keep going out there every day, and watch the story continue to play out.

Today's highlight bird was the Blue Grosbeak.  This was a fist-year male, with much blue, but not quite fully molted into adult plumage.  It was spotted several times before settling in at a late-morning termite hatch-out between the Gill and Tupelo.  There I got nice looks as the bird perched about six feet off the ground.

Hatch-outs also attracted other birds, creating pockets of great birding.  At one hatch-out, a White-crowned Sparrow showed up, later seen along the Gill.  At another, a male Cape May joined the fray, along with Red-eyed Vireo, and 5-6 other warblers. 
After lunch I was wandering around the Gill area in the hopes of finding the Summer Tanager, which had been seen earlier in the day (first on Cherry Hill by Chris Cooper, and later near the beginning of the Point).  I was about to despair with Matt "Dendroicist" Rimkiewicz showed up on his lunch break, and immediately found the bird overhead.  Thanks Matt !!!  This was the mostly red male with a pale greenish-yellow patch in the ventral area.  From underneath, it was "red-yellowish-red," similar to the way a Nashville Warbler is "yellow-white-yellow."  The Summer squabbled briefly with a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and then chased a female Scarlet Tanager out of the tree and out of sight.  I guess there weren't any female Summers around, so he was desperate!

Here's my complete day list for today, May 7:
     (78 species, 21 warblers)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Red-tailed Hawk
Herring Gull (flyover)
Mourning Dove
Rock Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2f)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (1m+1f)
Least Flycatcher (Point)
Great Crested Flycatcher (2-3)
Eastern Kingbird (Turtle Pond, Rustic Shelter hatch-out)
Red-eyed Vireo (quite a few now)
Warbling Vireo
White-eyed Vireo (one well-marked adult)
Blue-headed Vireo (still scattered about)
Blue Jay
Barn Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren (only one, not singing)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Wood Thrush (one seen, another heard)
Veery (2)
Swainson's Thrush (2)
Hermit Thrush (2)
Gray Catbird (plenty)
Northern Mockingbird (one near Swampy Pin Oak)
European Starling
Northern Parula* (plenty m+f)
Blue-winged Warbler* (1m+1f)
Nashville Warbler* (2-3)
Yellow Warbler* (2m)
Chestnut-sided Warbler* (5-6 m+f)
Magnolia Warbler* (8+ m)
Cape May Warbler* (2-3 m)
Black-throated Blue Warbler* (12m + 2f)
Yellow-rumped Warbler* (many m+f but fewer than recently)
Black-throated Green Warbler* (abt 4m+2f)
Prairie Warbler* (1m+1f, Oven/Point)
Bay-breasted Warbler* (1m showing off at Tupelo)
Blackpoll Warbler* (2-3 m)
Worm-eating Warbler* (2m squabbling early at Tupelo)
Black-and-white Warbler* (many m+f)
American Redstart* (5-6 2nd yr males)
Ovenbird* (6-8)
Northern Waterthrush (3)
Common Yellowthroat* (abt 10m + 2f)
Wilson's Warbler* (2m+1f)
Canada Warbler* (5-6 m)
Summer Tanager (1m)
Scarlet Tanager* (abt 6m + 3f)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2m+1f)
Blue Grosbeak (1m)
Indigo Bunting (3-4 m)
Eastern Towhee (1f)
Chipping Sparrow (2-3)
White-throated Sparrow (still plenty)
White-crowned Sparrow (1)
(Song Sparrow) (one heard only)
Lincoln's Sparrow (one right below west side of Balcony Bridge)
Swamp Sparrow (one at Azalea Pond)
Brown-headed Cowbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (m+f scattered around)
Orchard Oriole (1f at Tupelo)
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

NOTES:  Notably missing from today's list were Northern Flicker and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, seen Mon-Tues-Wed.  Also Blackburnian Warbler and Hooded Warbler, which I had Mon-Tues-Wed.  I did not see any Tree or Northern Rough-winged Swallows today.  Not sure where the Rough-wings were hiding!  I'm not seeing any more Juncos, Field or Savannah Sparrows either, though I did not check all the sparrow areas.

Happy Birding !!!
Doug Kurz