Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19 - Central Park

Another gray, cool, damp morning. Back in the mid-1960's (I know I am showing my age) there was a classic movie about surfing called Endless Summer. This spring might best be named Endless Winter. Again this morning it felt more like February or early-March than the latter half of April. It was spitting rain when my Thursday morning AMNH bird walk started. About ten hardy souls joined me. It was soon clear that despite the weather there were more birds around then yesterday morning. What was also clear was that many of them were Hermit Thrushes; they seemed to be everywhere. We also encountered a number of Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Last Thursday, we didn't receive word about the Barn Owl until fifteen minutes before the walk ended so we did not have time to look for it. This week we decided to try for the owl without hearing whether it had been seen today. I knew it had been seen yesterday. Our hunt was successful and we found the owl in the same place it has been for over a week now, It was, however, facing the opposite direction than other times I have seen it. The views were not great, but everyone in my group saw it. It was a life bird for several. By the time we headed out of the park at 9:00 am we had totaled 36 species.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (1, flyover)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, the Lake)
Red-tailed Hawk (1, frequenting its nest on the San Remo building)
Ring-billed Gull (1, flyover)
Herring Gull (5, flying over as we left the park)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl (1)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse (1, calling persistently near the Azalea Pond)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (15, scattered throughout Ramble; at least one singing)
Hermit Thrush (45, they were eerywhere)
American Robin
European Starling
Palm Warbler (2, Upper Lobe)
Pine Warbler (1, near the Barn Owl)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (8)
Eastern Towhee (1, first female I ave see this spring)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (1, feeders)
House Finch
American Goldfinch (8)
House Sparrow

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18 - Central Park - Summer Tanager

After work I went back into the park to look for the female Summer Tanager that had been reported at the southwest corner of the reservoir. The bird proved to be very cooperative, giving nice views.
female Summer Tanager - 04/18/2018
While watching the tanager I picked up my first swallows of the year. Tree, Barn, and Northern Rough-winged swallows were all flying over the reservoir. Word also reached the birders enjoying the tanager that a male Summer Tanager had been found at the Conservatory Garden further north in the park. While many headed that way to see the male, I headed down to the pond at 59th Street to try for the Seaside Sparrow that has been there for the last three days. Though I had heard most people had gotten great views of the bird it eluded me. Probably because of all the people activity. At one point, a small dark sparrow suddenly appeared among the reeds along the shoreline, but alas, it was a Swamp Sparrow. The sun had disappeared behind the tall buildings to the west, but I took its picture anyway.
Swamp Sparrow - 04/18/2018

April 18 - Central Park

Once again it felt more like February or early-March at the start (9:00 am) of my Wednesday AMNH bird walk. It was mostly gray and cool, but by about half way through the walk the sun started to break through. It looked as if we were not going to have any warblers this morning, but at the end of the walk we finally picked up two - a Palm Warbler at Oak Bridge on the Upper Lobe and a Louisiana Waterthrush on the stream by Triplets Bridge. We ended the walk with 31 species, but there was nothing remarkable on the list.

Canada Goose (10, the Lake)
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, seen across the Lake from the Point)
Red-tailed Hawk (2, one circling by the San Remo, one perched)
Ring-billed Gull (1, flyover)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe (3)
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse (1, heard)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1, male)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1, triplets Bridge)
Palm Warbler (1, Oak Bridge)
Eastern Towhee (1, male)
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow (all over the Ramble; many singing)
White-throated Sparrow - 04/18/2018 
Dark-eyed Junco (2)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (4, male at the feeder and 2 males displaying to a female at the Oven)
Brown-headed Cowbirds - 04/18/2018
House Finch (2, the Feeders)
American Goldfinch (singing in various places as well as at the Feeders)
American Goldfinches and House Finch - 04/18/2018
House Sparrow

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17 - Inwood Hill Park

I went for a quick walk in Inwood this morning before heading down to the office. The birding was fairly quiet, though a Turkey Vulture flew over the soccer fields as I was coming out of the park by Muscota Marsh. There are lots of Dutchman's-Breeches in bloom now and the Japanese Pachysandra is also in bloom.

On the east road on the ridge a large tree came down in yesterday's storm and is blocking the path.


Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16 - Inwood Hill Park - Red-throated Loon

The first half of the day was just miserable with driving rain and wind. In the early afternoon it finally stopped raining and then cleared somewhat. I went for a short walk (about 30 minutes) in the late-afternoon, just around the soccer fields at the north end of the park. There were not many birds around - among them were a bunch of American Robins, some Brown-headed Cowbirds, a couple of Chipping Sparrows and one Savannah Sparrow. The one surprise was a winter plumage Red-throated Loon in the bay north of the soccer fields. The bird has been seen sporadically since late-March.
Red-throated Loon - 04/16/2018 - Inwood Hill Park
Chipping Sparrow - 04/16/2018- Inwood Hill Park

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 14/15 - Inwood Hill Park

It would have been hard for the weather on Saturday and Sunday to be more different. Saturday was a beautiful sunny and warm spring day. Sunday was cool and gray for most of the day and rainy in the evening; the bleakness of the day enhanced by the cold, stiff northeast breeze. I went into Inwood Hill Park for a few hours on both mornings. Not surprisingly, the birding was very different on both days. The totals for the two days were very similar - 28 species on April 14 and 27 on April 15 - but the make-up was so different that the total number of species was 36 over the two mornings. There are still not many warblers around. I only saw Palm Warblers the first day, but the total for them was at least 16 individuals, thanks mainly to a group of about ten birds south of the Overlook Meadow. Other people saw Pine Warblers, but I didn't run into them. I saw no warblers on Sunday. There were a few kinglets of both species on Saturday, but none seen on Sunday. The soccer fields continue to produce a nice variety of sparrows..

The full list of 36 species is below, but before I get to that I want to mention some non-avian species seen. The Dutchman's-Breeches are starting to bloom in The Cove, though they are still far from their peak. The Daffodils are well past their peak and there is lots of Forsythia out. On the 15th I was accompanied by Ed Eden on my walk. On our way back from the ridge we encountered a Striped Skunk walking through the woods. We made sure we did not annoy it.
Striped Skunk - 05/15/2018 
In another local mammal sighting, on the 14th Alison Dundy posted a picture of an Opossum in a tree just outside the park at Isham and Seaman.

Bird List
Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (1, flyover on the 14th)
Great Egret (hunting in Muscota on the 15th)
Great Egret - 04/15/2018
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech-Owl (there is one that quite a few people seem to know about that occasionally peaks out of a dead tree stub when it is sunny). The following picture was taken from a fair distance and is greatly enlarged.
Eastern Screech-Owl - 04/14/2018
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren (heard calling both days)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (4/14 only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (4/14 only)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Palm Warbler (16 on the 14th)
Chipping Sparrow (soccer field both days)
Savannah Sparrow (1, soccer field both days)
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (a female on the soccer field in company with a group of female Red-winged Blackbirds on the 14th)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (5 males on the soccer field on the 15th)
House Finch (the Clove on the 15th)
American Goldfinch (1, Muscota Marsh on the 15th)

House Sparrow

Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13 - Central Park

Friday the 13th! Despite the date it was a nice morning in Central Park for Paul Sweet's regular Friday morning AMNH bird walk. Paul is still out of town so I was covering for him again. It was a bit gray, but with mild spring temperatures. Following a night of southwest winds there was definitely some influx of birds, just not as many as hoped for. Given the forecast I went down early and started scouting around the Ramble at 7:00 am, though the actual walk did not begin until its scheduled time of 9:00 am. The highlight of the morning was the continuing presence of the Barn Owl first found at the beginning of the week. The owl was not easy to see, but everyone did get a look at it. During the walk we totaled 33 species. The list is below. After the main list I list an additional five species I encountered on my early scouting trip.

Canada Goose (4, the Lake)
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Red-tailed Hawk (1, carrying nesting material)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl (continuing bird)
Barn Owl - 04/13/2018 - Central Park
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (4)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee (1, heard by Oak Bridge)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (2, Triplets Bridge and Oak Bridge)
Palm Warbler (1)
Chipping Sparrow (5)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (3)
White-throated Sparrow (everywhere, many singing)
Dark-eyed Junco (4)
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal - 04/13/2018 - Central Park
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (1, Upper Lobe)
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Additional species seen in my 7:00 to 9:00 scout.
Herring Gull
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Towhee

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 12 - Central Park

Finally, a spring migration morning! It wasn't spectacular, but at least there were some birds. My AMNH Thursday morning group found 40 species, and for the first time this spring - more than one warbler species. Near the end of the walk we heard that yesterday's Barn Owl had been found again. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to go look for it. One of the highlights was the first Blue-headed Vireo of the year. The full list of birds is below, after a picture of some Blood Root in bloom to prove that it is finally spring!

Blood Root - 04/12/2018 - Central Park
Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant (7, including a small flock of 5 flying over)
Red-tailed Hawk (2)
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (3)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (5)
Eastern Phoebe (6, scattered individuals)
Blue-headed Vireo (1, by Triplets Bridge; first of the season)
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse (1, heard)
White-breasted Nuthatch (1, heard)
Brown Creeper (2)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (3)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5, some males displaying their crowns)
Hermit Thrush (8)
American Robin
Brown Thrasher (1, first one seen this year)
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1, the Point)
Palm Warbler (3, Balcony Bridge)
Pine Warbler (4, Tupelo Meadow)
Eastern Towhee (2)
Chipping Sparrow (9, Tupelo Meadow and the Feeders)
Field Sparrow (1, Tupelo Meadow)
Fox Sparrow (2)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (5, scattered individuals near wet areas)
White-throated Sparrow (everywhere)
Dark-eyed Junco (10, Tupelo Meadow and the Feeders)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch (10, scattered individuals and the Feeders)
House Sparrow

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 11 - Central Park

A beautiful morning for my Wednesday AMNH bird walk in Central Park. Still cool temperatures, but bright sunshine and lovely blue skies.This spring the Museum changed the start time of the Wednesday walks from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. I still went in at 7:00 myself to scout around before the group arrived. There were a few birds around, but it wasn't particularly birdy so after an hour I headed over to the Museum for a quick break and breakfast and then came back and met my group a few minutes before 9:00. We hadn't gone very far into the Ramble when we heard about the Barn Owl that has been seen sporadically over the last couple of days. The bird was fairly well hidden high in a pine, but my group did get to see it. Then we went back to birding. In the end we found 35 species, but only one warbler. But any bird list that includes a Barn Owl doesn't have to include much of anything else to be a great morning. The total list is below.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Northern Shoveler (2 pairs on the Lake)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Black-backed Gull (2, flyovers)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl (1)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe (4)
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse (1)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1)
Hermit Thrush (4)
American Robin
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1)
Eastern Towhee (3, all males)
Chipping Sparrow (1, the Feeders)
Fox Sparrow (4)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (2)
White-throated Sparrow (20+)
Dark-eyed Junco (the Feeders)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch (4, the Feeders)
House Sparrow


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April 10 - Central Park (lunchtime)

At lunchtime I led Paul Sweet's AMNH Central Park walk for him. The weather was more pleasant than in the morning, but was still cool for the season. We did slightly better than on the morning walk, totaling 32 species over about an hour and a half. One of the highlights was a Louisiana Waterthrush and some lingering Fox Sparrows. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any pictures of those birds, but I have included a couple of other pictures below.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, the Point)
Black-crowned Night-Heron - 04/10/2018 - Central Park
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (1 heard as we were leaving)
Blue Jay
White-breasted Nuthatch (2, south of Azalea Pond)
Brown Creeper (1)
Brown Creeper - 04/10/2018 - Central Park
Golden-crowned Kinglet (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1, by Oak Bridge)
Eastern Towhee (1, male)
Fox Sparrow (3)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (3)
White-throated Sparrow (lots, some singing)
White-throated Sparrow - 04/10/2018 - Central Park
Dark-eyed Junco (5, the Feeders)
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal (female) - 04/10/2018 - Central Park
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch (8, the Feeders)
House Sparrow