Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 9 - Inwood Hill Park - Dickcissel - # 295!

The Dickcissel that eluded me yesterday in Inwood was more cooperative today, but still required some work to get. This morning when I went into the park i went straight over to the ball fields on the Hudson River side via the north end of the park taking the path that goes under the Henry Hudson Bridge and then the footbridge over the Amtrak railroad tracks. I was checking all the sparrows at the extreme north end of the ball fields, where the Dickcissel was last reported yesterday afternoon, when James Knox walked up and told me the bird was now down at the south end of the fields just in from Dyckman Street - he and Nadir had refound it down there earlier. We headed south and encountered another birder, Mira Fugoch, searching for the bird. Even though the large flock of House Sparrows that James and Nadir had seen the Dickcissel with was still feeding on the grass, the three of us could not spot the bird we wanted. Then a group of Frisbee players arrived and started a game on the field and the sparrow flock dispersed. James and Mira continued to search for the bird along the west side of the field while I checked Dyckman Street itself where some of the House Sparrows had moved to to bathe in a pool of water. Having no luck myself I came back north and rejoined James and Mira in the hunt on the west side of the fields. Finally, a little south of the southern end of the first baseball field the Dickcissel appeared in a mostly bare tree along the river side of the field. The bird then dropped onto the grass to feed with the House Sparrows. A few other birders were lucky enough to arrive at that point to see the bird. The flock of sparrows was fairly skittish and kept flying up from the grass into the trees so I was only able to get some poor, distant photos of the Dickcissel. This is species # 295 for my 2014 New York State year list. Five to go!

Dickcissel, Inwood Hill Park                                                                           © Joseph DiCostanzo
Interestingly, this area where the bird was today is the same general vicinity where a Dickcissel wintered two years ago.

After leaving the Dickcissel, Mira and I headed north along the river front before heading back over the railroad tracks and up onto the ridge. The birding was much quieter than yesterday without the thousands of blackbirds flying over that were such a spectacular part of yesterday's flight. We did encounter an immature Red-shouldered Hawk in the trees between the two pine groves along the central ridge trail. Another highlight was an adult Bald Eagle flying south over the Hudson seen from the meadow overlook. My entire list from the day is below.

Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Double-crested Cormorant (1, flying upriver)
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk (1, see above)
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon (1, over the canal at the north end)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee (have become common in the last two weeks)
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (a couple)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Dickcissel (see above)
Common Grackle (400, flying by my apartment window in the early morning)
House Finch
House Sparrow

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