Sunday, November 15, 2020

November 15 - Inwood Hill Park: two new birds for my personal park list

On a mostly gray day I added two species to my personal Inwood Hill Park list. The first was shortly after I started at 7:30 am. I was on the deck at Muscota Marsh when I heard a flock of Canada Geese approaching from the north. As they passed over to the south I raised my binoculars to count the flock. If I hadn't I would not have spotted a group of six passerines also flying south. I was thrilled to recognize them as a group of Evening Grosbeaks! This fall has seen a considerable finch flight with many "winter finches" being seen throughout the NYC/Long Island area. Inwood has had many Pine Siskins. Evening Grosbeaks have been reported from many parks and cemeteries around the city. None had been reported from Inwood before today, but I had been watching for them, so I was thrilled to spot this small flock. It was species number 223 for me for the park. Later in the morning, Nathan O'Reilly and Nadir Souirgi reported a flock of Common Goldeneye on the Hudson River. Danny Karlson and I looked for them with no success. This would have been another new species for my personal list. A while later Danny and I were at the Hudson Overlook on the ridge when Nathan texted that he and Nadir had a Black Scoter on the Hudson near a barge and tug anchored in the river. Danny and I were able to spot the bird from our higher vantage point and watched it as it took off and flew down river. This was another new species for me for the park (and the last of the three scoters for my park list), thus becoming species 224 for my list. This has been a great year for my Inwood Hill Park bird list. I have added nine species to it this year.

I spent a considerable amount of my time in the park today watching from the Hudson River Overlook; first with Danny and then with Hilary Russ who joined us and stayed after Danny left. We had a number of Bald Eagles and a few Cooper's Hawks including one large female. The highlight, however, were the hundreds of blackbirds going by in mixed flocks of Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Brown-headed Cowbirds. The numbers for these species in my day list below are low estimates.

In the afternoon, after I got home to my apartment and had finished lunch I got a text message from Rachel Joakim that she was across the street on the Muscota Marsh deck and there was a Brant by the Columbia Dock. This is a species that is usually only seen in flocks passing over the park on migration. A few weeks ago we had hundreds going over on one day. It is however, rare to have one settle down in the park, so I went out and photographed the visitor.

Brant - Inwood Hill Park (Muscota Marsh mudflats) - Nov 15 2020

Canada Goose  30
Mallard  16
Black Scoter  1     
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  30
Mourning Dove  6
Ring-billed Gull  50
Herring Gull  30
Great Black-backed Gull  6
Great Blue Heron  4
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  1     (late for this species).
Cooper's Hawk  3     
Bald Eagle  7
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Blue Jay  10
American Crow  2
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  10
Carolina Wren  1
European Starling  5
Northern Mockingbird  2
American Robin  8
House Sparrow  30
Evening Grosbeak  6     
American Goldfinch  14
Dark-eyed Junco  4
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  6
Red-winged Blackbird  500     Blackbird flocks migrating.
Brown-headed Cowbird  50     Blackbird flocks migrating.
Common Grackle  500     Blackbird flocks migrating.
Northern Cardinal  2

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