Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2 - Inwood Hill Park - vultures, raptors and a bluebird

Yesterday's rains were replaced by clearing skies and a stiff northwest wind. And daylight savings time was finally replaced by standard time. Despite the extra hour during the night, I did not get out as early as I had hoped. As I was getting ready to go into the park I looked out my window and saw James Knox coming out of the park. I yelled down to him to ask what he had seen and he said I should finally pick up Turkey Vulture for my New York County year list since they were migrating over in numbers. He had also seen Bald Eagle and had just watched a Red-shouldered Hawk go over. So it was with some optimism that I headed into the park. James's preview was on the money - by the time I got to the soccer field I had seen four Turkey Vultures and an immature Bald Eagle going over. There were numbers of juncos around the edges of the soccer field, but with a game in progress it was not a good time to really check out the sparrows. Instead I went up onto the ridge and spent some time at the meadow overlook watching for migrating vultures and raptors. Birds were moving, but perhaps because of the high winds, very few seemed to be actually moving south over the river. While at the overlook most seemed to be appearing over the ridge from the northeast. Numbers for the three hours I was in the park, part of the time on the ridge are below. Best was an adult Red-shouldered Hawk circling relatively low over the meadow overlook. Since the River did seem to be the primary route for the migrants, I came back down the ridge to watch for a bit from the soccer fields. (I found the game was now over, but most of the sparrows had apparently been driven off.) While I watched the sky from the field, Nadir Sourigi rode up on his bike and we watched for a while together. Our best bird was not a raptor, but an Eastern Bluebird that landed very briefly in the top of a tree before flying off again.

Canada Goose (migrating flocks overhead as well as the locals on the fields)
American Black Duck (2)
Turkey Vulture (17)
Bald Eagle (5, all immatures)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (1)
Red-shouldered Hawk (1, adult)
Red-tailed Hawk (6, impossible to know how many were locals and how many migrants)
Merlin (1)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird (1)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Palm Warbler
Savannah Sparrow (2 lovely plumaged birds by the brushy area on the north side of the soccer field)
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

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