Your home for information on the guided bird walks led each week in
New York City's Central Park by Dr. Robert "Birding Bob" DeCandido
Wednesday, 17 May (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - after Tuesday's triumphant 22 warbler species seen on the bird walk, there was no way today could match it. It seemed to me that many of yesterday's birds had departed overnite. We only had one Blackburnian on the walk (Emilie Storrs found it at the Dock on Turtle Pond), compared to the six on yesterday's walk. That was the story today: good diversity but fewer of everything...and the temperature approaching 91f by the mid-afternoon. We went from a cold spring to a hot one in three days...with more hot weather to come this week.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1290396&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Thursday, 18 May (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - we set a record high temperature for today at approx. 95F...a bit less in Central Park, and a bit more in the outer boros, particularly the inland Bronx. As for birds, we had 16 warbler species, the best being a single Black-throated Green (female) and two Chestnut-sided Warblers (one a female). Indeed many of the warblers we saw today were females. Magnolia Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos were especially common today. The most fun we had was with a Great Crested Flycatcher at the Gill Overlook - the bird followed the calls of the tape from left to right and came down very close for a better look at us.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1290734&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Friday, 19 May (start at Conservatory Garden [105th street] at 9am) - this was the third consecutive 90f day, reaching 93f in the park. The 16 wood warbler species were great, particularly the male Bay-breasted at the west end of the wildflower meadow that came in at eye-level. However, this walk will always be remembered as the first one on which we had a Bicknell's Thrush. That bird was making calls (not songs) along the Loch, and upon first look, it appeared to be a Grey-cheeked Thrush. David Barrett suggested that I should play the song of the Bicknell's which the real, live bird then began to imitate. Combined with Deborah's photo showing extensive yellow on the lower mandible particularly the base, we were comfortable calling it a Bicknell's. For more info on the near impossibility of separating the two species in the field using field marks see this article: http://www.sibleyguides.com/bird-info/bicknells-thrush/ - thankfully we heard the bird sing which is the only diagnostic means of separating the two species short of having the bird in the hand and making measurements of the wing chord, etc. (Bicknell's Thrush is slightly smaller.)
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1291377&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Saturday, 20 May (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am) - overnite northwest winds from Friday evening brought in lots of migrants, mostly females and young males. We tallied 19 Warbler species the best being the male Blackburnian near the Delacorte Theater; a handful of Canada Warblers (the best was a male chipping back to us at Captain's Bench); a Hooded Warbler at the Polish Statue; and a ay (female) at the Humming Tombstone. Other highlights included a female and male Summer Tanager (Captain's Bench) along with Scarlet Tanager as well (male/female)...and the Cuckoos: Yellow-billed calling and well-seen at 5:50am at Captain's Bench, and a Black-billed Cuckoo that came in to the call of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the Humming Tombstone. Really a wonderful day under overcast skies and occasional light drizzle. It felt downright cold at times today (62f was the high) with occasional light drizzle.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1291835&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Sunday, 21 May (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - Jeff Ward led half the walk today as Deborah did a private bird walk for a couple from Pittsburgh. It was a slow day for birds compared to the previous one (Saturday - a great day), and the birds we found came in readily to the recordings on the tape - 14 warbler species this day. The young male Summer Tanager (all red with an olive tummy) that was first found by our group on Saturday, was re-found by us in the same area (Captain's Bench). Others would continue to find this bird through Tuesday, 23 May.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1292465&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Monday, 22 May (start at Strawberry Fields at 8am and again at 9am) - it was supposed to be a light rain day, but real nature has a way of asserting itself. The light mist became a heavy, steady mist etc. So for the morning group, finding the warblers we did was not easy...and in the afternoon downpour it was quite a feat adding a Black-and-white and Wilson's Warbler to total 16 for the day. We only had one Bay-breasted Warbler - a female. Female Blackpoll Warblers gave us fits - many look like pale female Cape May Warblers but the leg color(s) are different. The Great Crested Flycatcher followed us about the Humming Tombstone area, hopefully this flycatcher will nest here. In the last 15 years we have seen a decline in nesting flycatchers in Central Park probably coinciding with the spraying of the park for West Nile virus (mosquitoes) starting in the late 1990s. As a result Eastern Wood Pewee no longer nests here, but we believe that Great Crested Flycatcher does occasionally. The latter has fruit in its diet...
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1292995&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Tuesday, 23 May (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - 15 warbler species including eight Blackburnian Warblers (3 males/5 females). Indeed most of the migrants seen today were females or young males. Other highlights were several Empidonax flycatchers including a vocalizing Least Flycatcher at Summit Rock, and two Willow/Alder types (called Traill's when not vocalizing) - all found by David Barrett. Others located Black-throated Greens, Chestnut-sided...and the continuing Great Crested Flycatcher that followed the tape back and forth in Mugger's Woods. Overall, I don't remember a walk with eight Blackburnians - only made possible by using the "click" (and not territorial) calls provided on the Sibley electronic guide to Eastern Birds.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1293176&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York