Highlights of 3 days including the rather wet weekend: THE KIRTLAND’S plus 28 additional Warbler Species as seen by hundreds of observers in total, on Sat. May/12th, & Mother’s Day Sunday/13th, & then still at least 27 Warbler spp. (but NO Kirtland’s seen) as of Monday, 14th… along with Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Common Nighthawk, Philadelphia Vireos, Cliff & 4 other Swallow species, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanagers, and much more!
It was terrific that the KIRTLAND’S WARBLER (a first-spring male, as immediately understood by all observers & others in the instant ornithologist Kevin Bennett definitively saw it singing very early Saturday morning - the bird had already been understood not to be in fully-adult breeding-male plumage & as of Friday eve.- after it’s discovery by Kevin Topping! - was being widely discussed by those present as either a female adult, or a first-spring male) stayed in the same area for another 2 days, much of Saturday, then at least to mid-morning on Sunday, May 13th. It seems at least slightly possible that that rare warbler was still present into Mon./14th, & simply not too near where first discovered (which became a focal-point of further searches thru Monday), however it also appeared that there was either wide dispersal of the arrival of the prior days, or as likely some modest departure thru a damp & foggy night on Sunday night. It seems extremely unlikely that that or any other warblers flew very far-off during the day, on Sunday (as in a flight taking off for a very distant location) but entirely possible that it, & perhaps other migrant warblers & etc., moved a short way into some other / alternative Manhattan green-spaces, with adjacent corridors of parklands in Morningside Park just to the northeast, and in various other area parks just to the east, west, or a bit farther north but all still within just minutes of a small bird’s flight. Under the very wet conditions of Sunday (as well as some of Saturday) there could reasonably have been some daytime dispersal that took any bird[s] a short way, out of the range of most birders, and certainly out of the scope of the “search” circle described by even the hardiest of bird-seekers. Manhattan actually has a very long (literally) line of green parks & open space thru which a migrant can & might move diurnally - this has been visually observed by me in the very areas just to the west, east, & north of the expanse of Central Park, in adjacent neighborhood parks, especially under particularly damp &/or foggy conditions, over the past three decades of observations. It would have been a nice addition to all the wonderful birders that came to see or seek the Kirtkand’s Warbler, to have had a guest sign-in log or book. It’s clear that many, many hundreds made the visit a part of either their Friday evening, or the weekend, and also on Monday with ongoing seekers. It’s certainly possible that over 1,000 people stopped by the area just inside the West 90th St. park entrance to have a look or try. And, in my own personal experience, it was great to see such a gathering of great birders, many of them at least familiar by face, also many by name, & to see & recognize old friends, colleagues, & fellow birders by the scores & scores. I saw some folks I had not seen in many years, and recognized some really superb birders and all sorts of serious naturalists among the energized & yet always quiet & polite crowd. This was a lot of birders at their very best. Even when a “heckler” passed into the large group of watchers of the Kirtland’s Warbler on Sunday morn’, the essence of the observers was to observe in peace, and enjoy the super-special moments - or for some, hours - of this ultra-rare visitor. It’s unfortunate that the warbler did not show again by Sunday eve. (there seem to have been no reports by Sunday afternoon), since many hoping for it were still arriving in the later hours, as well as seekers on Monday who’d not had the chance on prior days. We can keep a watch in the area, but it seems a little more likely the Kirtland’s has moved on… obviously, if anyone sees this bird, it should be reported as widely & immediately as possible! Again, we all owe Kevin Topping a debt for this find, & also a tip ‘o’ the hat to all who helped track it on all subsequent sightings, & gave reports and other news regarding this genuine rarity. It was also very astounding to see the masses of (in particular) warblers, as well as some other migrants, in the area somewhat bounded by the Pinetum (near West 85 St.) to the south, & the 96th St. Transverse to the north, & from Central Park West’s park-side, to west of the reservoir, with this relatively thin strip of woodland & lawn, park roads and paths, & assorted & sundry sections of tennis courts, parks buildings, and playgrounds, all with a plethora of leafing-out trees of a multitude of species (& notably a lot of the well-grown Turkey Oak, which in Central Park reach heights of 40+ feet, and always leaf out later than most any other oak species in the park, long-known to birders as excellent for observing later-season migrants in, such as for example Bay-breasted & Blackpoll Warblers, & etc. - the area described above also having many Pin Oaks in places, & a wide variety of additional tree, shrub, & some understory plantings in parts of the slim section (of much-larger Central Park in it’s entirety). It also seems plausible that the reservoir water provides some source of insect hatching, which is-was evident by the masses of swallows (of 5 species at some points) and Chimney Swifts, over the reservoir in particular - some of those insects as sought by the swallows & swifts may have also drifted on the easterly winds of the past 3+ days into the lane of the Kirtland’s and other warblers and additional migrants, giving a boost to the food available. Indeed, in short periods, some of us watched even the Kirtland’s Warbler, & multiple other migrants, feed in the few limbs or branches of trees that overhang the reservoir’s running track on its western edges, and for a few of those branches, also overhang the water. Much of the time however, all of the migrants in the described area were feeding in the oaks & other trees at a modest distance from the waters of the CP reservoir. This was the busiest single section of the park in warbler activity, for 3 straight days (Friday-Sunday) even with a number of other areas being very busy indeed. Also, by Monday, it was observed that ALL of the western edges of the park (i.e., a length of over 2 linear miles) was either busy or very busy with migrants, warblers in particular - Yes, even near Columbus Circle (thanks John & Annie for that tip on the SW portions of the park, an uncommon area to see heavy migrant activity). Even without any (reported) Kirtland’s W. sightings for Monday, the park managed to get to 27 or more warbler species, almost all of these seen by perhaps 100’s of observers… that including a singing male CERULEAN, which was re-found at the park’s Naturalist Gate entrance at West 77th St. and Central Park West - the latter warbler enjoyed by so many that the “spillage” of birders came nearly to the broad entry area, where a statue of the great naturalist-explorer Alexander Humboldt stands high. Thanks could go to hundreds & hundreds of observers in the past 3 or 4 days; for Monday I’ll thank K. Wallstrom for birding-company, as well as (later in day) Ken Chaya. It was great to see so many enthusiastic folks all thru the past several days, and to also see many going in groups led by leaders with ethical guidelines at the top of their birding agendas, who work with & for such luminary non-profit organizations as the Linnaean Society of New York, the N.Y. City Audubon chapter (NYCAS), the NYCH20 org. & a number of other non-profit conservation and environmental organizations who do great works. Additional great thanks to the very large majority of very considerate birders, who made NYC proud during the visit of one of its super star migrants of the season. And to the many who make photos of rare & also regular birds available to all through photo-blogs & websites & archives, and who offer reports in all manner of ways. -- A listing of the many species noted in the 3-day period, a lot of these seen, & some found by, among the creme de la creme of New York & other state’s birders and naturalists, including many who have been honored with awards and other deserved accolades for (collectively) centuries of expertise in ornithology, in the natural sciences, and in conservation work more generally. I was personally very humbled on Monday afternoon to see & get to speak with the founder of the Central Park Conservancy, Ms. Elizabeth (Betsy) Barlow Rogers, who I have known as an acquaintance and fellow birder-naturalist for about four decades, and in company with Ken Chaya, who as most know mapped the trees of all of the park, in concert with his collaborator and fellow-naturalist friend & author Ned Barnard. In a relatively short time in the company of Ms. Barlow Rogers, & Mr. Chaya, I learned some of the history and design of Central Park, & also of her much-awaited, just-published book on this great urban and landscape design masterpiece as well as work-in-progress we know as the Central Park. Saturday, 12 May to Monday, 14 May - including MOTHER’S DAY SUNDAY, and only the best to ALL MOMs, everywhere. Double-crested Cormorant (common visitors) Great Blue Heron (visitor) Great Egret (various locations, all are visitors) Snowy Egret (usual n. end fly-bys) Green Heron (few, nesting) Black-crowned Night-Heron (usual visitors) Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (lingering to Mon.) Turkey Vulture (minimum of 3 going by, Monday) Canada Goose (usual - goslings) Wood Duck (ongoing, The Pond) Gadwall (to Monday) Mallard Northern Shoveler (to Sunday) Ruddy Duck (reservoir, 2 lingering ‘late') Osprey (at least 2; seen with Ken Chaya, Richard Lieberman) Bald Eagle (Monday, a subadult well-seen in later afternoon) Red-tailed Hawk (very commonly around, in, & over the park) American Kestrel (commonly over the park) Peregrine Falcon (over the park, into Monday) American Coot (a lone bird at the reservoir, “late”) Solitary Sandpiper (several locations, into Sunday) Spotted Sandpiper (fairly common, many locations) Least Sandpiper (several at reservoir to Monday) Ring-billed Gull (less common now, but present daily on the reservoir) [American] Herring Gull (less common but daily as fly-overs & reservoir) Great Black-backed Gull (less common now, but present daily on the reservoir) ['feral'] Rock Pigeon Mourning Dove Black-billed Cuckoo (few, several seen by many observers, esp. thru the weekend) Yellow-billed Cuckoo (few, several seen by many observers, esp. thru the weekend) Common Nighthawk (small numbers on each night, also few in early mornings over the park) Chimney Swift (very common now, some in feeding groups of 50+ or more at times) Ruby-throated Hummingbird (uncommon but regularly seen, often briefly buzzing around & also headed on north) Red-bellied Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Yellow-shafted Flicker Olive-sided Flycatcher (few, those seen also heard calling) Eastern Wood-Pewee (many, some heard-only) Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (few, most ID’d positively by calls & not just by plumage features) Acadian Flycatcher (at least several confirmed by calls & songs, into Monday, starting by Friday-Saturday) Alder / Willow Flycatcher (rather few, not heard singing & rarely calling) Least Flycatcher (many, including some calling or singing) Eastern Phoebe (several, as seen by multiple observers thru weekend) Great Crested Flycatcher (multiple, still passing thru & potential-typical nesters) Eastern Kingbird (nesting) White-eyed Vireo (2, Monday, & prior days) Blue-headed Vireo (very scarce by Monday) Yellow-throated Vireo (uncommon by Monday) Warbling Vireo (common & also some nesting has begun) PHILADELPHIA Vireo (seen by dozens or more obs. Sunday-Monday; several, several locations) Red-eyed Vireo (very common now) Blue Jay (nesting, & maybe some late migrants) American Crow Tree Swallow (multiple) Northern Rough-winged Swallow (multiple) Bank Swallow (minimum of 2 on Sunday, possibly present to Monday a.m.) Barn Swallow (common) Cliff Swallow (at least 1 continuing into Monday mid-day, multiple observers) Black-capped Chickadee (2 pairs, nesting) Tufted Titmouse (nesting) White-breasted Nuthatch (nesting) Carolina Wren (nesting) House Wren (nesting) Ruby-crowned Kinglet (few, with many observers) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (several, several locations) Veery (fairly common still, some heard singing - & calling more often) Gray-cheeked Thrush (few noted, some heard) *Bicknell's Thrush (*a possibility, among the multiple “Gray-cheeked” types glimpsed & not heard) Swainson's Thrush (common, some singing even in mid-day) Hermit Thrush (few, several definitively identified after study, also a few heard calling distinctively) Wood Thrush (multiple locations, including a number heard singing even in mid-day, a number of these are still migrants) American Robin Gray Catbird ('common as catbirds') Northern Mockingbird Brown Thrasher (pair) European Starling Cedar Waxwing (now common & widespread) - KIRTLAND’S WARBLER (first-spring male, seen & heard singing, Friday-Sunday morning, observed by many hundreds if not 1,000+ birders & others with interest over 3 day period) Blue-winged Warbler (few) Tennessee Warbler (small numbers seen, also some heard singing only) Nashville Warbler (modest numbers, some also singing/heard only) Northern Parula (common & widespread now) Yellow Warbler (fairly common now) Chestnut-sided Warbler (more common now) Magnolia Warbler (common and rather widespread now) Cape May Warbler (fewer than previous week but continued into Monday) Black-throated Blue Warbler (common, females in particular) Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (very common, females are increased) Black-throated Green Warbler (common now) Blackburnian Warbler (ongoing males and increasing 1st-spring males & females) Prairie Warbler (fewer, mainly females now) Palm Warbler (to at least Sat. and quite late, but hardly unprecedented for a single individual in mid-May) Bay-breasted Warbler (multiple, to Sunday probably many more than 15 in a day, even over 25 in a day) Blackpoll Warbler (common now, & females slowly increasing) CERULEAN Warbler (reliably seen by 100+ observers in park-area of W. 77 Street, also rep’ted. for the Bethesda Fountain area & later near “upper lobe” of the lake; the West 77th Street area adult male Cerulean that was singing at times was in view in intervals of up to more than a few hours in total and to the end of the day, Monday - also some sightings from the weekend as well) Black-and-white Warbler (common, many more now females) American Redstart (increasing to near-common, with both sexes and a lot of first-year males also noted) PROTHONOTARY Warbler (from Friday through the weekend in areas from the w. side of reservoir and bridle path, to the Pinetum, all within 50-60 yards linear distance, many many observers; also a report from Monday in the same area that had few obs.) Worm-eating Warbler (at least several, several locations, most were from Fri.-Sunday) Ovenbird (extrenely common - for ex., 50+ in north woods alone into Monday, & many in ALL areas of the park from south to north, east to west) Northern Waterthrush (fairly common, still a number of singing males; & some rather far from water as is normal in migrant stop-over birds of this species) Louisiana Waterthrush (few, verified by songs seen sung as well as plumage) Kentucky Warbler (*reports continue to filter in, some Common Yellowthroat (very common, throughout all of the park now) Hooded Warbler (male continuing in N. Woods, photographed Mon. - T.Fiore & K.Wallstrom; also seen Friday-Sat.-Sunday; & additionals in other locations) Wilson's Warbler (increased numbers, not rare by Friday, into Mon.) Canada Warbler (fair numbers, & many were singing thru weekend) - Summer Tanager (several, including female & 1st-spring male in 2 locations, to Sunday, & reported into Monday - n. end & Ramble areas) Scarlet Tanager (far fewer, even of females, by Monday) Eastern Towhee (females) Chipping Sparrow (small no’s. lingeting &/or still passing) Savannah Sparrow (few) Song Sparrow (nesting) Lincoln's Sparrow (rather few by Monday, more thru the weekend) Swamp Sparrow (sparse now) White-throated Sparrow (rather sparse now) White-crowned Sparrow (scattered sightings into Monday) Northern Cardinal Rose-breasted Grosbeak (less common by Monday, females were increasing) BLUE Grosbeak (2 individuals were reported into Monday, perhaps lingering from prior days) Indigo Bunting (multiple, Red-winged Blackbird Common Grackle Brown-headed Cowbird Orchard Oriole (continue in modest no’s., a few potentially in nest site areas) Baltimore Oriole (many) House Finch American Goldfinch House Sparrow Thanks to all of the many who practice ethical & quiet birding, Tom Fiore manhattan -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --