Saturday, May 10, 2014

Inwood Hill Park - May 10 - Birds, birds, birds!

A great day of birding in Inwood! I was getting ready to leave the apartment and go into Inwood a little before 7:00 AM when my cell phone rang. It was Nadir Souirgi with word that he was looking at a Grasshopper Sparrow on the soccer fields! I told him I would join him in about five minutes. When I got to the northwest side of the soccer fields Nadir had already been joined by James Knox who had quickly bicycled over, having also gotten a call from Nadir. I got great views of the Grasshopper through Nadir's scope. It was feeding in the grass with a bunch of Savannah Sparrows. During the day a number of birders got up to Inwood to see this uncommon, rarely seen in NYC sparrow thanks to Nadir's getting the word out via the Internet. Not as high tech, but equally effective was my yelling out my apartment window to Danny Karlson about the sparrow when I spotted him drinking his coffee at the entrance to the park at 218th Street and Indian Road after I got home from my morning walk in the park. When I went back in at about 4:30 pm I found Danny and Anders Peltomaa looking at the Grasshopper Sparrow, still on the soccer field.

In the morning, Nadir had to leave shortly after I got there to lead his weekly trip in Van Cortlandt Park, but James and I went into the park, up the Clove and along the ridge for a fabulous morning of birding. We had over 70 species of birds including 20 warblers. My last bird of the morning as I left the park at 11:00 AM was an adult Bald Eagle flying northeast over 218th Street. In the afternoon, I went back in for another three hours, some of which was spent in the rain from a thunderstorm. I did not mind getting wet, but I did think it wise to retreat from the ridge to the valley during the active part of the storm. When I cam down the Clove I met Nadir and James coming in. After the rain we went back up to the ridge, which was quieter than in the morning, but still with a good variety of birds around. I added a few more species to my day list, including a Canada Warbler, my 21st warbler of the day. On our way out across the soccer field after 7:00 PM, Nadir spotted a Common Nighthawk flying north for my 78th species of the day. Anders earlier told me of an Olive-sided Flycatcher and two Black-billed Cuckoos he had seen, bringing the total count for the park to at least 80 for the day. My total list follows, with a few notes follows.

Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron -1, flyover
Great Egret - 1
Bald Eagle - see above
Red-tailed Hawk
Greater Yellowlegs - 2, mudflats off soccer field in morning
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Common Nighthawk - see above (my first of the year)
Chimney Swift - finally back in some numbers
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher - several on the ridge (my first of the year)
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo - 1, on ridge in afternoon (my first of the year)
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler - 2
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler - 1, on ridge north of pine groves (my first of the year)
Blackburnian Warbler - 2 or 3 males
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler - several
Blackpoll Warbler - 1 male on ridge (my first of the year)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler - 1, getting late for this species
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler - at least two on ridge
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler - 1
Wilson's Warbler -1
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow - 1, see above (my first of the year - naturally)
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1, near meadow on ridge
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager - all over the ridge, males and females
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting - male on the ridge
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

In the morning James and I came across a few flowers that hadn't been in bloom when I last got into the park last Sunday.

Lily-of-the-valley                                                                                        © Joseph DiCostanzo

Wild Geranium                                                                                      © Joseph DiCostanzo

We also came across a colony of Eastern Tent Caterpillars. If only there had been a cuckoo nearby to feed on them!

Eastern Tent Caterpillars                                                                                     © Joseph DiCostanzo

As I finish this blog entry late Saturday night I see online that the winds are currently favorable for another flight tonight and the radar is indicating one is on. I have got to get some sleep so I can enjoy it in the morning!

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