Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 20 - Central Park

A wet morning for my AMNH bird walk group. Seven intrepid birders braved the early morning rain to bird the Ramble. The rain did start to let up after an hour or so and by the time the walk ended at 9 am the sun was struggling to break through the heavy clouds. Despite the wet start we didn't do too badly. On the Lake were three Northern Shovelers and an American Coot. A male Wood Duck with some Mallards and Canada Geese added to the waterfowl list.There were a number of Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Palm Warbler on the south side of Turtle Pond. The Point had another concentration of Yellow-rumps, plus another couple of Palms and a Louisiana Waterthrush. Northwest of the Point was Stefan Passlick spotted out first Northern Parula of the year. (Stefan had also spotted the Wood Duck and the coot.) In the same area as the parula we found three Rusty Blackbirds which then moved over to the Swampy Pin Oak area. Another first of the year for us was a Belted Kingfisher along the east side of the Lake. The full list of 35 species is below.

Canada Goose (8, the Lake and Turtle Pond)
Wood Duck (1, male, Turtle pond)
Mallard
Northern Shoveler (3, males, the Lake)
Double-crested Cormorant (7)
Great Egret (2, the Lake and Turtle Pond)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, the Lake)
American Coot (1, the Lake)
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher (1, the Lake)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee (1, the Point)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (3)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5)
Hermit Thrush (3)
American Robin
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1, the Point)
Northern Parula (1, male, sang; nw of the Point)
Palm Warbler (3)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (40)
Eastern Towhee (2)
Swamp Sparrow (1, the Point)
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (3)
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch (2, the feeders)
House Sparrow

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 19 - Central Park

A chilly morning for my Wednesday AMNH bird walk group. Most of the Ramble was pretty quiet. We didn't find any warbler until we went out on the Point. There we found a very dull Pine Warbler, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and a nice Palm Warbler.

Palm Warbler 04/19/2017
While we were looking at these birds Chris Cooper called that there was an Orange-crowned Warbler. I was able to get a quick look at the bird before it flew. After a bit of searching, a few of the group got another quick view of the bird before it disappeared again.On the way out of the Ramble there were some White Trilliums in bloom just outside one of the closed construction areas.

White Trillium 04/19/2017
The total bird list of 32 species is below.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18 - Inwood Hill Park

Ann and I went for a quick walk this afternoon in the park. She wanted to see the Dutchman's-Breeches in bloom.

Dutchman's-Breeches 04/18/2017
Across Spuyten Duyvil, Henry Hudson was modeling the namesake breeches.



On the way out of the park, a photogenic Chipping Sparrow was in some blooming Eastern Redbud.

Chipping Sparrow 04/18/2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 15 - Inwood Hill Park

It was a lovely, sunny morning before the clouds came in later in the day. The birding was surprisingly quiet considering the pleasant spring weather. However, there were plenty of other natural history subjects of interest to be found. On Tuesday I had found a few Dutchman's-breeches wildflowers in bloom. Now the were large carpets of them in bloom in the Clove. Up on the ridge the first of the Cut-leaf Toothwort was in bloom.

Cut-leaf Toothwort 04/15/2017
Periwinkle and Lesser Celandine was in bloom everywhere. Along the stone wall of the overlook above the Indian Caves the Kenilworth-Ivy was starting to bloom. Here and there Dandelions were out.

On the way back down the Clove I spotted an Eastern Chipmunk, only the second I remember ever seeing in the park.

Eastern Chipmunk 04/15/2017
Along the edge of the mudflats, north of the soccer fields two Red-eared Sliders were sunning themselves.

Red-eared Slider 04/15/2017
Of note among the birds was a calling Pine Warbler on the ridge, first found by James Knox. There was also the first calling Eastern Towhee of the spring that I have heard in the park. My total bird list for the two hour walk is below (27 species).

Canada Goose
Great Egret
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren (1, singing)
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Pine Warbler (1, singing)
Eastern Towhee (1, calling)
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow (more than in recent morning in the park; lots singing)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (1, female)
House Sparrow

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13 - Lunchtime goodies!

Rather than eating lunch, I hopped on the subway and went down to West 28th Street to see the Cattle Egret that has been hanging out in a small green space on West 28th between 8th and 9th avenues. I was not disappointed. The bird was actively feeding on insects and things in the grass and seemed completely oblivious to the various birders and photographers observing him. Quite a sight for the middle of the city.

Cattle Egret 04/13/2017 - West 28th Street
Since the chase for the egret went so smoothly (and quickly), I decided on the way back uptown, I might as well try for the Red-headed Woodpecker that has spent much of the winter and early spring on the east side of Central Park near 68th Street and Fifth Avenue. Thanks to a birder/photographer who had just seen the bird when I arrived, I also saw this lovely bird in very short order.

Red-headed Woodpecker 04/13/2017 - Central Park
A very successful lunchtime foray!

April 13 - Central Park

A beautiful morning for my Thursday AMNH bird walk group, though a bit cold. Still, it was quite a contrast to last Thursday's fairly wet walk. At Hernshead, on the Lake, we were surprised to see a Double-crested Cormorant sitting up in a tree. The species does nest in trees, but you rarely see one perched in a tree in Central Park.

Double-crested Cormorant 04/13/2017
Flying over the Lake were two Rough-winged Swallows, the first we have seen this year, though the species has been seen by others in the last few days. One of the birdiest areas was the Point where we saw our first Black-and-white Warbler of the spring, along with a Palm Warbler, both kinglets and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 04/13/2017
In total we had forty species for the two hour walk.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Ruddy Duck (2 males on Lake)
Double-crested Cormorant
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, the Point)
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2, the Lake)
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1, the Point)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (1, the Point)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1, Upper Lobe)
Black-and-white Warbler (1, the Point)
Pine Warbler (1, Turtle Pond - seen by Stefan Passlick and some of the group)
Palm Warbler (1, the Point)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (2, the Point)
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (1, female, the feeders)
House Finch (2, the feeders)
American Goldfinch (8, the feeders)
House Sparrow

An early April Summer Tanager

On my April 12 AMNH Central Park bird walk, one of my regulars, Diane George, asked me if I could identify a bird she had photographed on Long Island the previous week. She showed me some pictures on her smartphone taken on Friday, April 7 in Kings Park, Long Island. Unfortunately, I couldn't be sure of what the bird was from looking at the pictures on the small screen of her phone. I asked her to email them to me so I could get a better view on my computer in the office. She did later in the day and I was able to identify the bird as a Summer Tanager!. It is not a record early date for the species locally, but it is very early and the first that I have heard of in the NYC area this spring. A couple of the pictures are below.

Summer Tanager 04/07/2017 ph. by Diane George

Summer Tanager 04/07/2017 ph. by Diane George

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 12 - Central Park

My Wednesday AMNH bird walk group had another nice morning in the Ramble. Nothing too exciting, but a number of early spring migrants. It was not a bird, but a large Bull Frog, spotted by Dave Barrett on the shore of the Lake at  Hernshead was fun. Also at Hernshead were a number of Palm Wablers and a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers. In the pines west of Belvedere Castle was a bright yellow Pine Warbler with a few more dull individuals along the south side of Turtle Pond. A Brown Thrasher in the Maintenance Meadow was our first of the year and I spotted a lone Rusty Blackbird flying over while we were in the meadow. On the way out a nice male Eastern Towhee provided nice views east of the Upper Lobe. The full list of 40 species follows.

Canada Goose (15)
Mallard
Northern Shoveler (6, The Lake)
Ruddy Duck (6, the Lake; all males, none in breeding plumage)
Double-crested Cormorant (6)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, the Lake)
Red-tailed Hawk (1)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (3)
Hermit Thrush (4)
American Robin
Brown Thrasher (1)
European Starling
Palm Warbler (6)
Pine Warbler (4)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (2)
Eastern Towhee (1, male)
Chipping Sparrow (6)
Song Sparrow (1)
Swamp Sparrow (1)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (1)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (1)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (1, Belvedere)
House Finch (2, feeders)
American Goldfinch (8, feeders)
House Sparrow

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 11 - Inwood Hill Park

Another beautiful morning in Inwood Hill Park. Blue skies and warm temperatures, but still not a lot of birds. The female Red-breasted Merganser was once again in the bay north of the soccer fields.

Red-breasted Merganser 04/11/2017
I wondered if the bird was injured, but later when I was coming back down from the ridge, I watched it fly out of the bay and then found it actively feeding by Muscota Marsh.

On the east side of the Clove, the Dutchman's-Breeches are just starting to bloom.

Dutchman's-Breeches 04/11/2017
Birding remains relatively quiet up on the ridge, but after coming back down, I found a Field Sparrow feeding on the soccer fields - the first I have seen here this year.

Field Sparrow 04/11/2017
In total I noted 32 species in just over two hours.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Red-breasted Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
House Sparrow

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10 - Inwood Hill Park

Since it was such a lovely spring morning, I went into the park this morning for a couple of hours. The weather was nice, but it was still relatively quiet birding. The lingering female Red-breasted Merganser continues north of the soccer fields at the north end of the park.

Red-breasted Merganser female 04/10/2017
Singing White-throated Sparrows are still in the Clove and on the ridge and a few Dark-eyed Juncos can still be found in spots. The only new bird for the spring that I came across was Hermit Thrush with two encountered on the ridge. On the way back out a cooperative Ruby-crowned Kinglet, practically begged me to take its picture.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 04/10/2017
My final tally was 29 species in two hours.

Canada Goose
Red-breasted Merganser
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
House Sparrow