Saturday, August 13, 2016

August 13 - Bridled Tern on Great Gull Island

This evening, shortly before sunset, Catherine Neal told me she had a very beautiful bird down by the dock out here on Great Gull Island, but she didn't know what it was. I grabbed my camera in case it was something I should get a picture of. At the end of the dock Catherine had a spotting scope set up aimed back at the rocks to the west of the dock. She looked through it and said the strange bird was still there. I looked through the scope and my first thought was "Sooty Tern!", followed immediately by an unprintable exclamation as I realized it was a Bridled Tern! Not only is this new for my New York State list (#420), but it is new for my U.S. list. Everyone got to see the bird and Cathrine went back down the dock to let Helen Hays know. Helen was in the new dock blind observing. When Helen didn't come out onto the dock I headed back to the blind to call up to her. She said she was getting good views of the bird from there. I joined her in the blind and got some nice photos. I will put some on my Facebook page and will add some here when I figure out how to upload here from my iPad.


adult Bridled Tern - August 13, 2016

August 13 - Bridled Tern on Great Gull Island

This evening, shortly before sunset, Catherine Neal told me she had a very beautiful bird down by the dock out here on Great Gull Island, but she didn't know what it was. I grabbed my camera in case it was something I should get a picture of. At the end of the dock Catherine had a spotting scope set up aimed back at the rocks to the west of the dock. She looked through it and said the strange bird was still there. I looked through the scope and my first thought was "Sooty Tern!", followed immediately by an unprintable exclamation as I realized it was a Bridled Tern! Not only is this new for my New York State list (#420), but it is new for my U.S. list. Everyone got to see the bird and Cathrine went back down the dock to let Helen Hays know. Helen was in the new dock blind observing. When Helen didn't come out onto the dock I headed back to the blind to call up to her. She said she was getting good views of the bird from there. I joined her in the blind and got some nice photos. I will put some on my Facebook page and will add some here when I figure out how to upload here from my iPad.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29 - Royal Tern on Great Gull Island

Around mid-day a Royal Tern stopped by Great Gull Island and spent some time sitting on one of the old dock pilings.

Royal Tern (right) and Common Tern - 06/29/2016 - Great Gull Island

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My 2016 Great Gull Island Birdathon report

Last month I did my annual Great Gull Island Birdathon. We tallied 192 species on the weekend. I have finally gotten my report together and placed it and the full bird list as a separate page on the blog. It is here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Final tallies on Central Park AMNH bird walks.

Though my American Museum of Natural History bird walks in Central Park officially finished last week, I waited until now to compile cumulative lists for the season since I was doing an extra walk this week for each group (Wednesdays and Thursdays). I have now compiled the lists and they are posted as separate pages on the blog. The Wednesday list is here and the Thursday list is here. I also did a combined list for the two groups and it can be found here.

May 26 - Central Park - Mourning Warbler

Even warmer this morning than yesterday. As with my Wednesday morning AMNH Central Park bird walk group, last week was the last official walk, but I did one more this morning for the Thursday group. Also as with yesterday's extra walk for the Wednesday group, today's extra walk for the Thursday group was worth the trip. We had slightly fewer birds than yesterday, notably we missed yesterday's flycatchers, but we still had ten species of warblers and some quality birds. Easily the best was a singing male Mourning Warbler just south of the west side of Oak Bridge by the Upper Lobe. The bird exhibited its usual skulking behavior, but most of the group managed to get some good views. We then headed up towards the Belvedere Castle where the same Honey Locust tree that was so active with warblers yesterday was again a focus of attention for birds and birders, Again this morning there were at least six species of warblers feeding in the tree as well as Red-eyed and Warbling vireos. One Warbling Vireo was particularly accommodating to having its picture taken.
Warbling Vireo 05/26/2016 Central Park
 Later, we got a quick view of a Black-billed Cuckoo flying away from the same tree, south of the Maintenance Meadow that the Least Flycatcher was in yesterday. In the end we found 34 species for the morning. The full list of 34 species is below. I will be posting as a separate page the cumulative list totals for the Wednesday and Thursday walks.

Finally, to end with a non-bird sighting, here is one of the Red-eared Sliders on a floating branch south of Oak Bridge.
Red-eared Slider 05/26/2016 Central Park
Canada Goose
Gadwall
Mallard
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Gray-cheeked Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Black-and-white Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25 - Central Park - warblers and flycatchers

Last week was officially my last AMNH Wednesday morning bird walk of the spring, but with spring migration still going on, I did an extra one this morning. My group was rewarded with lovely weather and a good late migration assemblage of birds. The walk started slow, but Dave Barrett, who joined us part of the time, let us know that according to his Twitter feed there was activity up at the Belvedere Castle. On the way there Dave heard a Blackburnian Warbler singing and the group soon spotted it over the path. It gave everyone nice views, despite staying high as Blackburnians tend to do. The real treasure trove was the Honey Locust by the steps at the Belvedere. There were probably six species of warblers feeding in this tree including Yellow, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, a female Blackburnian, and American Redstarts. But the real star here was a very cooperative male Bay-breasted Warbler, probably a first year bird, which was not shy about feeding low in the tree.

Yellow Warbler 05/25/2016 Central Park
singing Bay-breasted Warbler 05/25/2016 Central Park
A couple of times the warblers were joined by an Eastern Kingbird. We heard a number of Eastern Wood-Pewees calling and later saw one on the way out. Between the Maintenance Meadow and the Azalea Pond, we saw and heard a Least Flycatcher. We had no luck with the Olive-sided Flycatcher that a number of others saw this morning. A final treat on the way out was a brief view of a Lincoln's Sparrow along the lower stretch of the Gill. In total we had ten warblers and forty species for this final walk. Today's list is below. In the next day or two I will post a cumulative list for the spring as a separate page on this blog.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Ovenbird
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Lincoln's Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Scarlet Tanager
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
House Sparrow

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 22 - Bashakill and Shawangunk Grasslands

Ed Eden and I went up to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (Sullivan and Orange counties) and the Blue Chip Farm/Shawangunk Grasslands NWR area on Sunday. It was Ed's first visit to these great birding areas northwest of New York City. I was at both last week as part of my annual Great Gull Island Birdathon big weekend. It was quieter than last weekend, but many of the breeders were, of course, there and beautiful Bashakill is always worth a visit even if there are not a lot of birds around. I will append a complete bird list to this report later, when I have a chance, but by my count we found 74 species for the day. Some of the highlights included the two full grown Bald Eagle young still on their nest at Baskakill; both cuckoos heard calling (but not seen); and the always photographically lovely Prairie Warbler.
Prairie Warbler 05/22/2016 Bashakill WMA
Both last week and this week there seemed to be large numbers of Eastern Chipmunks running around, one of which insisted on having its picture taken.
Eastern Chipmunk 05/22/2016 Bashakill
At Blue Chip Farm in Ulster County we had not luck finding the Upland Sandpipers the area is known for. We couldn't find them last week either. The nearby Shawangunk Grasslands NWR provided the bird of the day for Ed - his life Grasshopper Sparrow. The sparrow obliging posed for it portrait a couple of times, so Ed now has pictures of his life bird.
Grasshopper Sparrow 05/22/2016 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
Grasshopper Sparrow 05/22/2016 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
There were also lots of Bobolinks flying around the Grasslands and a few Eastern Meadowlarks.



Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 20/21 - Inwood Hill Park - breeders and late migrants

I birded Inwood Hill Park on the mornings of May 20 and May 21. The first morning I met Stan Cho at the entrance to the park at West 218th Street for a few hours of birding. The next morning I happened to run into Jessica Ancker at the top of The Clove path and we birded the ridge together. On both mornings the birding was quieter than reported for the park last weekend, though my combined total species count for the two morning was 51 species. Migration is still going on, though many of the eleven species of warblers found were represented by females, a sure sign of the tail end of migration. This morning, there were Northern Rough-winged Swallows perching on the fences at the north end of the soccer fields. These are summer residents here and breed either in the park or nearby.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 05/21/2016 Inwood Hill Park
All through the woods you could hear Wood Thrushes singing their wonderful flute-like songs. Yesterday, Stan and I were treated to one perched up and singing at the top of The Clove path.
Wood Thrush 05/20/2016 Inwood Hill Park
Its cousin in the thrush family, American Robins, have been on nests for sometime already this season. I have already seen young robins out of the nest down in Central Park.
American Robin on nest 05/21/2016 Inwood Hill Park
Jessica told me about watching a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak building a nest on the ridge the other day. We went to check it out and the female was on the nest. In my photograph below, if you look carefully, you can make out the top of her head, her eye strip and part of her bill as she sits on the nest.
female Rose-breasted Grosbeak on nest 05/21/2016 Inwood Hill Park
When Jessica and I came by the nest later after birding around the ridge, the female had been replaced on the nest by her mate whose red breast made him more conspicuous.
male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on nest 05/21/2016 Inwood Hill Park
My combined two morning species list is below.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 19 - Central Park - Another birdy morning

For the second morning in a row there was a good variety of birds in the Ramble in Central Park, this time for my Thursday morning AMNH bird walk group. Today's total of 43 species was a bit less than yesterdays, but we found sixteen warblers today and some other nice birds as well. Again the commonest warbler was Magnolia. We spent some time chasing a Kentucky Warbler, which we never did see, but which I did hear sing once. Other warbler highlights were a Cape May and a Bay-breasted. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo spent a fair amount of time sitting motionless high in a tree, which was good of it, sonce it was hard to spot. The full list is below.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1, Hernshead)
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (1, near the Azalea Pond)
Belted Kingfisher (1, flying away from Turtle Pond, seen by only or two people)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Kingbird (1, west of Belvedere Castle)
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee (1)
House Wren (2, one seen south side of the Tupelo Meadow)
Veery
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Ovenbird (several heard)
Northern Waterthrush (3, heard and seen - Hernshead, Azalea Pond)
Black-and-white Warbler (2)
Kentucky Warbler (1, heard it singing on the south side of the Tupelo Meadow)
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler (1, bathing in the Gill above Azalea Pond)
Magnolia Warbler (everywhere)
Bay-breasted Warbler (1, probably a young male, bathing Azalea Pond)
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler (2)
Blackpoll Warbler (2)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (males and females)
Black-throated Green Warbler (1, with a Chestnut-sided Warbler by the Upper Lobe)
Canada Warbler (3)
Wilson's Warbler (1, Turtle Pond)
Eastern Towhee
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow

post-bath Bay-breasted Warbler 05-19-2016 Central Park