Tuesday, August 4, 2020

August 4 - Inwood Hill Park - Tropical Storm Isaias - Sooty Tern

Tropical Storm Isaias passed northward to the west of New York City today. Until the mid afternoon I watched Muscota Marsh area from my apartment window. In the afternoon shortly before the rain stopped I walked down to Dyckman Street to look at the Hudson River from there. Even before I got there I received word that a Sooty Tern had been seen on the river from there. When I got to the river I was disappointed to discover the gate to the pier was closed and locked. I headed onto the ball fields to find a vantage point to watch the river. I soon encountered Nathan O'Reilly who said he had seen two Sooty Terns about ten minutes earlier. Before too long we saw a Common Tern out over the river, the first of that species either of us had ever seen from the park. Soon after that, Nathan spotted a Sooty Tern high over the river headed north. It was too far to photograph, but it was identifiable. In a little while we were joined by Nadir Souirgi. Over the next couple of hours we saw a number of flocks of shorebirds flying south over the river. Most were too far to identify in binoculars beyond calling them peeps. Nadir had his scope with him and thought most were Least Sandpipers. We did see a flock of five Semipalmated Plovers and a flock of 20 Sanderlings. The Sanderlings were also new for my Inwood Hill Park list. Another new species for my Inwood list was Least Tern: we had a group of four and later a group of six flying south over the river. After Nathan left, Nadir and I had another single Least Tern go by. During our watch of the river we were joined by Ari Rice - we all maintained social distancing while birding. :) At one point Ari called he had a Sooty Tern coming down the river. This one came much closer than the one I had seen earlier and I was able to get some identifiable though not great photos of it.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

May 28 - Inwood Hill Park

A gray day in the park. Recent mornings have also started off gray and foggy nut eventually the sun burned off the fog and clouds - not today. It was also a fairly quiet day for birds - both in the sense of not a lot of species and not a lot of song. The bird highlight was probably the Killdeer on the mudflats north of the soccer fields. Danny Karlson and I saw it yesterday and it was back again today. Also as with yesterday, the Killdeer later moved over to the mudflats by Muscota Marsh for a short time in the afternoon.

Since the birding was quiet I spent more time looking at and photographing flowers. Below are a selection of them from today. The Garlic Mustard is an invasive pest that is all over the park. It has actually been in bloom for probably six weeks or more.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
Other plants noted today:
Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris)
False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Common Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbelatum)
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Returning to the birds, I recorded 40 species today. None were new to my April/May list.

Canada Goose 54  - Most of these were in a single migrating flock of fifty birds over the Hudson.
Mallard 6
Rock Pigeon 6
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 8
Killdeer 1
Ring-billed Gull 4
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Double-crested Cormorant 5
Great Egret 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Warbling Vireo 5
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 3
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 3
European Starling 12
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 2
Wood Thrush 4
American Robin 10
Cedar Waxwing 4
House Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 2
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 6
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 5
Northern Waterthrush 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 4

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27 - Inwood Hill Park

Another foggy start to the day. As with yesterday the fog and lower cloud cover eventually burned off and it became a lovely day. Up on the ridge I met up with Danny Karlson and Hilary Russ. My total list for the day was a bit lower than yesterday, but it included some nice birds, including one new species for the April/May total. Among the "goodies" was a male Blackburnian Warbler the three of us saw up on the ridge. After Hilary left us I spotted a fly-by Yellow-billed Cuckoo as Danny and I crossed the soccer fields after we came back from the ridge. Unfortunately, Danny was some way ahead of me on the field and did not see the cuckoo. However, Danny did spot a group of seven sandpipers on the mudflats across the bay from the soccer fields. As we headed around the fields to get out on the peninsula t get a closer view of the sandpipers so we could identify them, we encountered a Killdeer on the mud near the south shore of the bay. It flew off before I could get a picture, but it was a first for my Inwood list since April 1. (In the late afternoon, the Killdeer was on the mudflats by Muscota Marsh and I was able to add it to my window list for the spring.) Once we got around to the peninsula, Danny and I were able to get a closer look at the sandpipers and determine they were Semipalmated Sandpipers, not the more expected Least Sandpipers.

Earlier, as we were leaving the ridge Danny spotted a patch of False Solomon's Seal in bloom. The first I have seen this spring in the park.

The total bird list for the day was 47 species (full list below). The Killdeer was my 120th species for Inwood since April 1st and the 52nd for the window list for the same time period.

Canada Goose 9
Mallard 6
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Chimney Swift 6
Killdeer 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 7
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Egret 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Warbling Vireo 6
Red-eyed Vireo 3
Blue Jay 6
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Tree Swallow 3
Barn Swallow 8
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 3
European Starling 12
Gray Catbird 4
Northern Mockingbird 1
Wood Thrush 3
American Robin 5
Cedar Waxwing 10+ (have been common recent days; two were in a bush in Muscota this afternoon)
House Sparrow 8
Song Sparrow 3
Swamp Sparrow 1 (One has been hanging out in Muscota Marsh. This morning it sang once.)
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 5
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 6
Ovenbird 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 3

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 26 - Inwood Hill Park

It was foggy when I went in to the park at about 6:30 am this morning. However, as the morning wore on the fog burned off and it proved to be the most active day of the last several. There was nothing unusual, but I did manage to find 50 species by the time I went home in mid-morning. I then added a 51st with Great Egret from my apartment window a short time later.

Below is this mornings list.

Canada Goose 4
Mallard 6
Rock Pigeon 8
Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 8
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Egret 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 (mine was on the ridge, but Hilary Russ heard one at Muscota when she arrived)
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Warbling Vireo 4
Red-eyed Vireo 3
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 2
Common Raven 1
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 5
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
House Wren 1
Carolina Wren 3
European Starling 10
Gray Catbird 5
Northern Mockingbird 1
Swainson's Thrush 2
Wood Thrush 6
American Robin 12
Cedar Waxwing 20 (This is certainly an undercount. There were a number around.)
House Sparrow 8
American Goldfinch 2
Song Sparrow 3
Swamp Sparrow 1
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 3
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Common Grackle 1
Ovenbird 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 2
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 3
Indigo Bunting 1

May 25 - Window birding only

I only birded from the apartment window on Memorial Day. It was a very gray morning though it got sunny in the afternoon. Here is the list.

Canada Goose 8
Mallard 2
Rock Pigeon  2
Chimney Swift 3
Ring-billed Gull 6
Herring Gull 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Egret 2
Blue Jay 1
Barn Swallow 2
European Starling 8
American Robin 6
House Sparrow 8
House Finch 1
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Northern Cardinal 1

Sunday, May 24, 2020

May 24 - Inwood Hill Park

Went into Inwood Hill Park again this morning. Again the male Common Yellowthroat was singing loudly at Muscota Marsh. Shortly after starting out Hilary Russ arrived at Muscota Marsh and we headed across the soccer fields and up on to the ridge. As with the last few days, the night before had had unfavorable winds for migration and the birding was fairly quiet. i only recorded 43 species in the park today with nothing new for the season. Up on the ridge we did come across a nice patch of Turkey-tail mushrooms growing on a fallen log.

The full bird list is below.

Canada Goose 8
Mallard 5
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 2
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Egret 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Warbling Vireo 5
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 3
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 2
European Starling 10
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 1
Wood Thrush 6
American Robin 14
Cedar Waxwing 4
House Sparrow 10
House Finch 1
Song Sparrow 3
Eastern Towhee 1
Baltimore Oriole 4
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 2
Common Yellowthroat 1
Northern Parula 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 4

Saturday, May 23, 2020

May 23 - Inwood Hill Park - foggy morning

I went into Inwood Hill Park for a few hours on a very foggy morning. I cut my walk short because there were very few birds around and I wanted to get back and go to the farmer's market before the rains started. Yesterday morning there was a Northern Waterthrush on the mud at the edge of the grass at Muscota Marsh. In the afternoon I was lucky enough to spot the waterthrush from my window. Interestingly, this morning when I was walking around the Muscota Marsh area, what was presumably the same bird was in the trees below the 218th Street wall.

During a lull in the rains, in the afternoon, I heard a singing Warbling Vireo from my window for species number 51 from the apartment since April 1st. My total for the park today was 39 species with no new species for the spring. The list is below.

Canada Goose 5
Mallard 4
Rock Pigeon 6
Mourning Dove 1
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Great Egret 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Warbling Vireo 5
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 6
American Crow 1
Fish Crow 1
Barn Swallow 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 1
European Starling 12
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 1
Wood Thrush 5
American Robin 14
House Sparrow 16
American Goldfinch 1
Song Sparrow 4
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 8
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Common Grackle 3
Northern Waterthrush 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 5

Friday, May 22, 2020

May 22 - Inwood Hill Park

A beautiful, blue sky morning in Inwood Hill Park. It was a bit birdier than yesterday morning, but not a really great day. On entering the park at 218th Street and Indian Road there was a surprising sight: a Red-bellied Woodpecker contending with some House Sparrows and American Robins for a piece of food litter on the ground.

Continuing into the park I received a text message from Nathan O'Reilly that he had a sandpiper on the mudflats in front of the Nature Center. The bird was still there when I got there. Instead of the expected Least Sandpiper, it was a Semipalmated Sandpiper, a relatively uncommon shorebird in Inwood. This was 119th bird in Inwood Hill Park since April 1st. The main part of the park including the ridge and the Clove was fairly quiet. However, my total for the day of 47 species was better than yesterday.

In the afternoon I did do well from my apartment window, adding three species to the apartment list since April 1st: a Northern Waterthrush at Muscota Marsh (Nathan and I had seen one there in the morning), a small group of Cedar Waxwings flying by, and a singing Orchard Oriole. This brings my window list since April 1st to 50 species.

Canada Goose 3
Mallard 7
Rock Pigeon  5
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1
Spotted Sandpiper 5
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Double-crested Cormorant 5
Great Blue Heron 1
Find the Great Blue.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Warbling Vireo 5
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 1
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
Carolina Wren 2
European Starling 7
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 1
Wood Thrush 4
American Robin 8
Cedar Waxwing 3
House Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 4
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 5
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Common Grackle 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Northern Parula 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 4


Thursday, May 21, 2020

May 21 - Inwood Hill Park - Planets and Black-crowned Night-Heron

It was a beautiful day with bright blue skies all day. But the winds were mostly from the north last night and well into the day and there were very few birds in the park. I was was back in my apartment from my morning walk by 9:45 am and my day list total of 40 species was the lowest in maybe two weeks or more. However, in the evening Ann and I went down to the benches in Muscota Marsh to watch the sunset (though the sun actually disappears behind the ridge long before sunset) and to watch for migrating flocks of Brant. We were joined there by Hilary Russ and we all watched from separate benches.

If you blowup the above picture you may be able to spot Venus above the ridge right of center. When it got dark enough we were also able to see Mercury through binoculars a little below Venus. While looking at Venus through her binoculars, Hilary spotted a distant flock of Brant flying north.A few minutes after 9:00 pm a Black-crowned Night-Heron flew by. This was my first one of the season and my 118th species in Inwood since April 1st.

The full bird list for today is below.

Brant 45
Canada Goose 4
Mallard 15
Rock Pigeon 12
Mourning Dove 3
Chimney Swift 4
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 6
Herring Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Double-crested Cormorant 4
Great Egret 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 2
Warbling Vireo 4
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 2
European Starling 13
Gray Catbird 5
Northern Mockingbird 1
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 12
House Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 3
Baltimore Oriole 3
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 2
Common Yellowthroat 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 3

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

May 20 - Inwood Hill Park

A beautiful day, though slightly cool. The birding was also a bit cool; not a lot of birds around. Looking ahead, it looks like the next decent prospect, based on weather forecasts, for a decent flight of migrants locally, might be Friday morning. This morning I headed out around 6:45 am. I ran into Hilary Russ at Muscota Marsh where we were surprised and pleased to hear a Marsh Wren singing. A Swamp Sparrow was also in this tiny patch of marsh. A Spotted Sandpiper was on the rocks on the water's edge. We then headed over to the soccer fields where we met Danny Karlson before heading into the woods. As we headed up the road towards the Henry Hudson Bridge a Northern Waterthrush was singing below us. The woods on the ridge were fairly quiet. We only found about half a dozen warblers.

I didn't add any species to my April/May bird list in the morning. However, in the evening Nadir Souirgi sent out a message that he was seeing migrating geese form his rooftop. Nadir lives a few blocks east of me so I immediately headed for the window. It wasn't long before I spotted a flock of Brant high in the air headed north up the Hudson River. Over the next half hour or so I saw two more flocks of Brant. This was my 46th species from my apartment window since April 1st and the 117th for Inwood Hill Park for the same period.

The total list for today was 46 species. Before I get to that list I have a couple of plant pictures from today. Hilary spotted some deep purple iris in Muscota Marsh.

Up on the ridge Lily-of-the-Valley was in bloom.


Brant 130 - seen from apartment window around sunset (3 flocks)
Canada Goose 6
Mallard 8
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 8
Mourning Dove 3
Chimney Swift 3
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 6
Herring Gull 2
Great Black-backed Gull 3
Double-crested Cormorant 4
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Warbling Vireo 6
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 1
Tree Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 1
Marsh Wren 1
Carolina Wren 2
European Starling 12
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 1
Wood Thrush 4
American Robin 6
Cedar Waxwing 8
House Sparrow 10
American Goldfinch 2
Song Sparrow 3
Swamp Sparrow 1
Baltimore Oriole 6
Red-winged Blackbird 4
Common Grackle 2
Ovenbird 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Wilson's Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 3