From Staten Island (Richmond County) thru Rockland County, NY & in  
Monday-Friday, 20-24th February, 2017

yes, it is "spring-fever" well as other fevers that are not  
mentioned herein... with temperatures in the 60's on multiple days in  
New York City & surrounding areas

Starting with a bit of standard/expected migration today, Friday 24th:  
in Central Park, a few American Woodcock have been in the park, with a  
minimum of 3 individuals all flushed - "unintentionally" by off-leash  
dogs which are a standard feature of almost any birding in that park,  
at all hours & locations (yes there are regulations, no not every dog- 
owner there follows, knows, or in some instances cares about that, in  
that park) - the woodcocks seemed to re-settle again but are sure to  
be skittish in most areas other than the few where dogs & humans might  
not disturb them; my sightings were in the north woods, and there've  
been at least a couple of woodcocks in the Ramble areas the past 2  
mornings, as well as around the entire region (many on territories,  
too);  also moving through at Central Park have been increasing  
numbers of icterids, some of them Red-winged Blackbirds and a majority  
Common Grackles (besides the several hundred grackles that  
overwintered), with a few Rusty Blackbirds in select and typical  
areas, as well as some Brown-headed Cowbirds which had been there in  
winter in low numbers as well;  a few Killdeer have come thru & one or  
more stopped in on the North Meadow ballfields, but may not have  
lingered - I've not refound them within 30 minutes or so after initial  
sightings, but they can show & hide even on a (large) sports field, &  
some can also be on the move diurnally.

On the CP reservoir, one Red-necked Grebe remains - the bird that had  
been released there some weeks ago; it seems to be fine, had fed well  
and has been observed using wings a bit, so perhaps as spring - here  
now? - actually comes along, it will move on;  I did not notice a loon  
of any kind this morning - but the common loon (or any loon) that was  
at the reservoir earlier in the week can easily be 'missed' at times,  
since they may dive frequently, and be sitting quite low in the water  
at times as well as moving about all portions of the reservoir.  There  
are ongoing Double-crested Cormorants at the reservoir (& elsewhere in  
the park at times) and these must be watched so as not to get 'loony'  
over.  Many of the duck species present in weeks past are around, &  
some shifting where they've been, or been more & less evident in the  
park. A duo of [American] Green-winged Teal were seen by many at the  
reservoir this Friday, & Wood Ducks continue in a few locations, as  

Many many other species are about, not the least of these being the  
1st-year Red-headed Woodpecker - which has gained much red about the  
head by now & is ongoing in the area of the park just west of East  
68th Street.
On Thursday (2/23) in eastern Rockland County, NY, I hiked up to 8  
miles of the blue-blazed Long Path (a path that connects the NJ side  
of the GW Bridge on the Hudson river in Bergen County, with New York's  
Catskill mountain range (& beyond, with extensions into the  
Adirondacks - I have in the past hiked on all of that path, in spring  
and other seasons, & it is a wonderful experience of part of NY  
state's wild, natural, as well as historic land & water -scapes) - my  
hike on Thursday was in the afternoon hours and began in Nyack going  
to near South Haverstraw (Congers) on the woods & river-cliff trails  
(there are various possible trail options) & during the hike there, I  
came across:  80+ Vultures, of which more than 15 Black, the remainder  
Turkey Vultures - and one adult Bald Eagle, 1 adult male Peregrine, 1  
Cooper's Hawk, a few Red-tailed Hawks, as well as the 2 most-regular- 
resident owl species of the area, Eastern Screech, and Great Horned.   
Other birds seen were Pileated Woodpecker, a "forest" flock of over  
100 American Robins (over an area of 3-4+ acres), Yellow-shafted  
Flicker (in Nyack late in the day), & various other more-expected  
species - nice to see a blackbird-grackle flock numbering in the many  
hundreds (perhaps 1,000+) at the Piermont marsh, a bit farther south  
on the Hudson, at near-sunset hour.
Going way back to Monday (2/20), in Staten Island (Richmond County),  
NYC, on a day that took in dozens of sites & most of the day into dusk  
hours, about 75 species were found, a few of them long-lingering at  
their respective areas - a Red Crossbill (female-plumaged) & a minimum  
of 3 Pine Warblers (2 of those quite-bright males) plus Red-breasted  
Nuthatch, with some juncos, & a few other birds in the pine trees at  
the south parts of Midland beach boardwalk (a bit northeast of Miller  
Field's east end);  & the ever-present (or seems-so) Lesser Black- 
backed Gull farther down past Great Kills park (wherein I failed to  
find even the Horned Lark flock, much less a recently-documented  
Lapland Longspur (a once-very-reliable species in that park with  
horned larks);  other-wheres on Staten Island were a very good variety  
of rather expected waterfowl (missing going up to see the Blue-winged  
Teal at Willowbrook, but not knowing of it anyhow 'til later - a "good  
bird" in winter hereabouts, but not altogether unprecedented by any  
means in winter seasons in southeast NY) and many more birds, ending  
the day out with some Monk Parakeets that I was clued into by Howie  
Fischer, these not too far from the ferry terminal in St George (at  
the NE end of the island).  Thanks to many SI birders & others who've  
provided reports on many species of Staten Island, both recently &  
over the years!

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability  
and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends  
otherwise." - Aldo Leopold (1887–1948), U.S. wildlife biologist,  
conservationist, professor, author, best known for his book "A Sand  
County Almanac" (1949), which has sold more than two million copies.

good -and ethical- birding,

Tom Fiore

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