Friday, March 25, 2016

Tom's Good Friday Bird Report

Brown Thrasher --
photo by LLOYD SPITALNIK - 9/27/2006

Tom Fiore writes on 3/25/16
Some migrants continued from the past several days, notably a few Pine Warblers in the Ramble area (broadly, including at the Pinetum area as well), and at the park's north end.  However there was a small bit of increase as well, including a few additional E. Phoebes, here & there rather than a mass arrival, which is yet to happen; also a very modest increase in sparrow numbers, with some more Chipping, Swamp (still scarce), and perhaps a greater number of White-throated Sparrow (including more in full summer plumages) coming in, as well as an arrival of Yellow-shafted Flickers (some of them still dropping in out of the low cloud deck as of 9 a.m.) & even the typical reinforcements of Red-winged Blackbirds, in modestly higher no's. as well as some still-increasing American Robins on the move.  There are Golden-crowned Kinglets also in varied locations, but also not a big arrival which is somewhat due any day.

As the clouds tried to part a few times, & the cloud deck was a bit less thick & low, some migrant-arriving raptors & kin were to be seen (for me the first of year) Osprey in Manhattan, with at least 3 observed in a 90-minute span of the late morning; also moving were some accipiters, a few Turkey Vultures, and a bird in the distant grey sky that, with the wingspread & bulk, as well as silhouette, would have been nothing less than a Bald Eagle (which have been seen a bunch of times already in the last month or so, by others from Central Park vantage points.)  And even, as clouds parted a bit, a few higher-flying Tree Swallows, which are much more common as fly-overs than in the park as feeding visitors, thru almost all of spring migration.

I also today saw my first really-singing-nonstop for an hour or more,  high-in-tree Brown Thrasher, although this was in a place very near where one had over-wintered, & I believe the several in the park are still just from here, not newly arrived from the south (as the couple of Catbirds absolutely are also over-wintered, the mass arrival of them is at best 3, or 4 weeks out)... the location for the loud thrasher was Cherry Hill's w. slope, up at 40 feet above ground. (red) Fox Sparrows are still about; it will be interesting to see if a 2nd wave passes of that usually-earlier-migrating species, since the strong movement of them a few weeks ago in Central.

Reservoir-watch did not add any new-for-spring species, but some still around included a Pied-billed Grebe, at least 3 American Coots, several pairs of Hooded Mergansers, a goodly number of Buffleheads, far more than 100 N. Shovelers (counted 100 & then saw a few dozen more, all of the reservoir was walked around), as well as lessening no's. of Ruddy Ducks, and fairly high no's. of gulls, with the 3 usual species all represented, plus a modest gang of Double-crested Cormorants that vary in number at different hours. A recent Horned Grebe may have departed the park. We'd normally start to expect a loon or two to drop in at the CP reservoir for a spring visit and they can be seen there at dates from now into (sometimes as late as) early May, while fly-overs in migration are much more regular.

At the Pond in the SE part of the park, 3 adult Black-crowned Night-Herons continue (often in a tree on the s. side of the Pond / Hallett Sanctuary and visible too from Central Park South if looked-for carefully), as well as a noisy Belted Kingfisher rattling around.  There have continued to be some migrants including kinglets & Pine Warblers in the elm trees that line the Mall area of the park which is a rather under-birded site that can, on certain days in spring, have a surprising (good) variety of songbird migrants, albeit in mostly very tall trees.

It won't be too surprising to hear of more "freshly arrived" migrants even as the day goes along. There are other migrant species in the immediate region already & some may be right here; if not, the next few days will reveal some.  There are more & more trees & shrubs showing buds as well as some in leaf-out now. Most obvious in the places they are planted are the several varieties of magnolia trees... with some cherries also showing well, & plenty more getting set to bloom soon.

best of the weekend (and some sun won't hurt either),

Tom Fiore