Tuesday, 28 November, 2017
Central Park, Manhattan, N.Y. City

With up to 2 dozen or so other birders either already present in the Ramble area of Central Park, &/or others amongst these also showing in magical fashion, once various alerts were issuing, the Empidonax [genus] Flycatcher (presumptive species: Hammond's, based mainly on what some who've heard &/or recorded audio of calls of the individual have proclaimed & may have documented) was nicely seen, many times over, as well as photographed, in the mid-day, esp. afternoon period, in the semi-central portions of the Ramble, variously moving in areas that were a little north in general of the Azalea Pond & the Gill (the connected pond & stream that flow west-ish thru the Ramble, & ultimately tumble into the Lake).  The Empidonax was seen at various levels above ground, from essentially on the ground a few times, to (much more) from 1-6 feet above the ground, & occasionally much higher in trees. It was clearly actively feeding on minuscule arthropod life as it moved about at the mid-day period, & was quite active, although also sat still for long enough times (sometimes for many seconds) that collectively, ten-thousand photos per hour were almost certainly being obtained with the cameras of all the many observers. 

thanks to Junko Suzuki for first making note on Tuesday 11/28 (in early morning) that the 'Empid.', presumed a Hammond's Flycatcher, was present at the Gill area in the Ramble, as well as to Anders Peltomaa for forwarding Junko's early sighting on quickly to this NYS Birds list - this bird deserves mentions here & elsewhere, for as long as it stays around. 

I somewhat impudently noted aloud (on-site with the flycatcher) that if anyone were trying to capture video with audio (or audio alone) they, & any observers with them, would potentially have a better record of the possible-probable species and not only based in what's been worked out from photographic (non-audio) evidence and documentation alone. (and, know that not all 1000 out of every 1000 readers of this e-list are on facebook or various other media, nor are all even fully aware that there may be a lot going on with comments & such regarding this apparent rarity, via such social-media sites online.)  A few folks out observing were wondering if this individual Empidonax had been or is eating any plant materials such as "berries" - if it is, some documentation would again be great.  Lacking some (documentation), the notion of a vegetarian-omnivore Empid. may have to remain as conjecture or simply as posed, mainly as a question asked.

My observation time with this Empidonax flycatcher, along with the other observers there (& thanks to many for courteously, quietly, politely, & ethically making it known when the Empid. was nearby or in good view, & following around at reasonable distances) was with Brenda Inskeep (in from Stamford, CT for this special bird, and some general birding as well), and we two, along with others, were to see some of the other Ramble birds, but also went to the southeast part of the park, near the Pond, to find some other birds including some that have been lingering very late into the autumn - N. Waterthrush (photographed by both of us) amongst those;  & in the Ramble, a long-lingering Wilson's Warbler (male) was seen by us (& by many others in to see the flycatcher there);  also seen by us two were 3 [Red[ Fox Sparrows in one place, with one or more also singing; these were just slightly south of the Tupelo Meadow area when observed - Brenda first picked up the song, a partial-song but then uttered a few more times, &, as is fairly typical, the Foxies close to where a number of (far-more-numerous at any time in colder months) White-throated Sparrows also were 'scratching' in the leaf-litter.  

At The Pond area, a bit later, along with a Northern Waterthrush (also lingering there for some time), Brenda & I found a Golden-crowned Kinglet & 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Later, on my own at the Pond, I also spotted a Nashville Warbler, which was also seen by at least a few others, near the Gapstow (stone) bridge at the Pond's NE section, where so many tourists constantly gather for photos. In addition, a N. Parula (yet another lingering bird) was seen in the vicinity, albeit more briefly; these last 2 warblers seen later in the day.   

Some additional species at the Pond were: Northern Pintail (drake, photographed), Wood Duck (drake, photos), Great Blue Heron (SE side of the Hallett Sanctuary, seen from various angles), and an American Coot, as well as more-common "winter" & resident species - the latter 4 spp. all seen with Brenda Inskeep, as well as by other observers at other times in the day.

In addition, an Orange-crowned Warbler, glimpsed by me in mid-morning at the Meer (in the park's north end) was confirmed there later on, as I passed by again there, well past 4 p.m. - this was seen on both the western shore & later at the south side of the Meer, and was rather actively foraging both times; the later sighting was not far from the island in the Meer, & that, as well as the shoreline vegetation & adjacent trees, might be checked closely for this bird, which could potentially linger into CBC season, since it is a known cold-hardy species.  There may have been some other observers also for this Orange-crowned (on Tuesday), at other times.

Some additional notes for recently-seen birds in Central Park, somewhat / slightly overlooked after the find of the Empidonax and it's declaration as a "Hammond's" by many... 

There was a Boat-tailed Grackle discovered (or first-reported) & documented by Anders Peltomaa, & then also re-found again, for the weekend, & this individual, rather distinctive from the many Common Grackles it seems to have been associating with, was last seen foraging in the Ramble, on Sunday (& again photo-documented), however this bird might well turn up virtually anywhere in Central Park, as the grackles range widely each day in their foraging forays, whether as a larger flock or in small groups or even as singletons.  

Also over this past weekend (Sat. & Sun. 11/25-26) there were the following additional warbler species in Central Park:  Blackpoll, Cape May, Black-throated Green, Palm [western type], & Ovenbird, as well as a report of Common Yellowthroat - & any (or all, or more!) of these might still be present there.        (There have been a remarkable number of very late lingering / straggling / far off-course warbler species up & along the east coast all the way to the Maritime provinces of Canada this late fall, and amongst the species being seen ELSEwhere in the east, have been Townsend's Warbler (in Rhode Island, lately) & multiple Black-throated Gray Warblers (several states, at least), as well as up to about 15 or so additional warbler species in various states / e. provinces, with a notably-late Canada Warbler in coastal CT where it was seen just recently; all this also coinciding with a lot of various strays & non-eastern-breeding species, from certain hummingbird species to flycatchers of varying degrees of rarity (Gray Kingbird most recently at Cape May, NJ) & etc. - the season for rarities, of many kinds, continues, so keep sharp eyes, & a camera, &/or video-corder, &/or a field-notes journal all handy as you go afield.

Perhaps passed-over by many readers was the addition, to a list of birds from the NY Botanical Garden (Bronx Co., NY) made to this NYS-Birds e-list recently, of an "Empidonax" flycatcher, but lacking in any further info. or any notes (therein) whatsoever as to the specific location nor any guesses as to a possible species, in an odd juxtaposition to the tens-of-thousands of words by now written, in multiple on-line fora, regarding the 'very-famous Empidonax' of the Central Park Ramble of November 2017.  Perhaps the original observers & reporters of that NY Botanical Garden Empid. will elucidate further, should they deem it reasonable to do so to this same list where it was reported, on Saturday, 25 November. (I know nothing more of that report, just that it was made to this NYS Birds list.)

As noted below, the (at least 3 originally released on 2 dates) Virginia Rail[s] in the north end of Central Park (a release made after a period of rehabilitation) were still present & being seen occasionally right up thru Tues. 11/28, these in the same area where those releases took place a week or more prior, at the Loch (a.k.a. "the Ravine).

Not a full listing of the species in Central Park on Tuesday, but of some -

Pied-billed Grebe (reservoir)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (The Pond)
Canada Goose
Wood Duck (one drake is regular now at The Pond)
Gadwall
American Black Duck
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail (drake, seen & photo'd at The Pond)
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser (reservoir)
Ruddy Duck
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail (as reported, this / these being the bird[s] released by the Wild Bird Fund from rehab., over a week ago, at the Loch / Ravine area in the park's north end - at least 1 or more have been sighted daily in that general area since the 2nd release took place there)
American Coot (multiple at the reservoir, in addition to one at The Pond, & 1 at the Meer)
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker
--
** Empidonax [genus] Flycatcher (named as a Hammond's Flycatcher, & apparently heard at times, by some observers, giving more-diagnostic calls)
--
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet (multiples of this species have been seen in the park overall, but not that many at once)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (still 15+ park-wide, a fairly large number this far into this season)
Hermit Thrush (easily a dozen+ park-wide)
American Robin
Gray Catbird (at least 2)
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
--
Orange-crowned Warbler (The Meer, west & then south/western parts)
Nashville Warbler (The Pond, NE sector not far from Gapstown bridge)
Northern Parula (The Pond, northeast sector)
Northern Waterthrush (The Pond, moving around from w. section to the southern side, might be found anywhere by the water's edge there, or adjacent, so a fairly large "territory" to seek this, & can be elusive!)
Wilson's Warbler (male, seen by dozens of observers Tuesday, lingering in the Ramble, & moving about in various areas there)
--
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow (Ramble feeder area, later in the day)
[Red] Fox Sparrow (multiple, Ramble; also in north end)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (at least several lingering in various places)
White-throated Sparrow (common now, & in many areas)
Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco (many in Ramble alone)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird (numbers seen in various areas, incl. s. end, n. end, Ramble, etc.)
Rusty Blackbird (Loch, eastern portion farther downstream)
Common Grackle (many, scattered around the park)
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow 

There have also been at least a few somewhat recent butterfly sightings, these include a few Orange Sulphurs, a Cabbage White, & a presumed Eastern Comma (or, an "anglewing species") with several or more observers, in the past 5 days in Central Park. There are also a modest number of other insect -or arthropod- species being seen, or almost-seen (as with what the flycatcher, the lingering warblers, and kinglets amongst others are finding to eat, lately, even after some frosty weather earlier in November).

Good -& quiet, courteous & informative- bird observing to all,

Tom Fiore
manhattan













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