Also, a 'last-minute' note that all 5 eastern-breeding swallow species are 
current (as of p.m./Friday, 5/18) on the C.P. reservoir, esp. as seen from east 
& northeast portions of the surrounding running-walking track.  It’s also worth 
noting that in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, these ‘5' swallows had been appearing 
at the Lake in Prospect (King’s County - Brooklyn, N.Y. City) as found & 
reported & documented by multiple Kings Co. birders afield;  in addition, 
Prospect & their regular & keen observers have had excellent migrants in the 
past week, with a lot of similar species as widely-reported to this list in 
Manhattan, also in Brooklyn’s best birding areas; similarly a lot has been 
found in each of the other N.Y. City boroughs, all of which are individual 
counties - Queens, Bronx, & Staten Island a.k.a. Richmond Co. and as found esp. 
by fine birders of each respective county; a collective tally of the hundreds 
of species seen in the past week in ALL of N.Y. City alone would be mightily 
impressive indeed, that is, as seen by hundreds & hundreds of quiet & keen 
observers and well-documented by many. (Tip ‘o’ the hat to Tom Stephenson & all 
of the B’klyn birders who came out to see many birds in rain & coolth, Thursday 
in Prospect/Kings County.)

There are some super sightings from a number of smaller parks & green-spaces in 
Manhattan (& surely in other boroughs / counties, also) lately, with some being 
seen by many many birders, & other, shyer species only at intervals & with 
luck, patience, & a degree of skill, of course… it is very much worth some time 
at any smaller greenspace, in particular if any migrant species at all are 
being found, to “investigate” for additional, & potentially, unexpected birds, 
at this time of the year, & with the recent type of weather in the (esp., as 
noted, in southeast N.Y.S.) region.

-  -  -  -
Friday, May 18th, 2018.  Central Park (Manhattan) N.Y. City - a Bicknell’s 
redux, & etc.

For at least a third day in a row (N.B. - also present in the same wider area 
have been, & still are: Gray-cheeked Thrush C. minimus, as well as Swainson’s 
THRUSH, Veery, Wood Thrush, & even [quite late for here, now] Hermit Thrush, as 
was a 'globally-threatened' species, a (single) BICKNELL'S Thrush, Catharus 
bicknelli — which nests in NY state, in the Catskill Mountains (at high 
elevation spruce-fir habitat there, for the southern-most global breeding-range 
of the species) and more regularly and somewhat more widely-distributed in the 
Adirondack Mountain region of New York state - a single (singing) male of this 
species, Catharus bicknelli (which also winters ONLY in Caribbean / Greater 
Antillean islands, esp. in Hispaniola - Dominican Republic & Haiti, as well as 
on Cuba, Puerto Rico, & sparingly anywhere else as found in research, new & 
older) - had been seen singing at a location within the Central Park (NYC) 
Ramble, & observed & documented by several hundred observers this week.  A 
majority of these aural-observational records took place on Thursday, 17th.  
Rain is, or can be “useful” in the singing of thrushes for daytime listening, 
and in locations where in a sunny day, hearing-of might be minimal to 
nonexistent.  Obviously as with many songbirds, the first & last hours of light 
are regularly best for the hearing of many songbird species, shy or less-shy.  
It’s also fairly regular to have Bicknell’s and other Catharus-genus (& other) 
thrush, & songbird species, sing from perches during night-time, all the more 
so in the breeding range[s].   It is fairly uncommon / rare to hear Bicknell’s 
give extended song in non-breeding areas, with exceptions - such as this recent 
example that so many serious & quiet observers were able to enjoy.  Comparisons 
with a nearby Gray-cheeked, & other more-often seen Catharus thrush migrants 
were made, quite nice to have that opportunity and more so with no aural 
disturbances, in a “noisy” NYC public park as is sometimes found.  Rain serves 
its purposes to birders & also to birds, at times.

The Bicknell's is, like it’s close congener Gray-cheeked Thrush, a 
later-migrating songbird for the region’s ‘passages' of neotropical birds into 
the northern breeding areas (especially into Canada) where so many of these 
species / individuals go for the summer's breeding season.  The Bicknell’s in 
particular, as a restricted-range, globally-threatened - a "NY State Species of 
Special Concern” - (some would even refer to it as near-endangered for, in 
particular, concerns for climate-change effects / losses of good habitat in 
wintering & also in summering areas, & potentially in parts of migratory 
stopover areas, & etc.) should be given as much space - & ZERO PLAYBACK or 
other audio-playing! - to feed, rest, recover, & move about as is possible 
within a heavily-visited - by many birders & others - space, as is Central 
Park, NYC.  (the individual in the Ramble has sung of its’ own volition 
unprovoked & quietly observed by many from it’s initial *report* in a 
Twitter-feed series by “WelshBirder” who many NY birders and others know & have 
birded with, in decades of excellent discovery and appreciation of world-birds. 
(ask him about Brazil, if you wish an update on some harder-to-find species in 
parts of that nation’s Atlantic region, etc.)

For some additional factual information on this fascinating species, - 
Bicknell’s Thrush - some readers may find useful the fact-sheet provided online 
(link below) by NY State’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation.  Any issues 
that are found for / by observers of this species may be addressed to this 
dept. in general, and any issues of possible more-serious (legal) concern may 
also be addressed both to, and by, NY STATE D.E.C. Enforcement Police Officers, 
who by law may operate in any part of the state of N.Y., if & as necessary in 
all enforcement and outreach.  The NYS DEC Law Enforcement division has a long 
& proud history starting with a governor of the state, Alonzo Cornell, who 
initiated the 125+ years of their enforcement-division program.

Online factual brochure - Bicknell’s Thrush (& in NY state): 

Many readers will be aware that the rather similar-looking & sometimes “lumped” 
species with the Bicknell’s Thrush (in past scientific argument) - the 
Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus, in full-species nomenclature) is (the 
latter is) known as a continent-wide breeder, found from the Canadian province 
of Newfoundland & Labrador, across to the far west of Canada’s spruce-fir 
habitats, and of course in Alaska, as well as (slightly more sparsely & 
scarcely) into portions of (Russian) northeast Siberia, thus a (just) 
three-continental species, all of these believed to winter exclusively, or 
nearly-so, in south America, yet migrating (from there) as far as into e. 
Siberia at the ultimately western-most, & to Newfoundland-Labrador as the known 
eastern limitation of breeding.  There are (rare!) records of this latter 
species from parts of Greenland, Iceland & farther east into the British Isles 
& Europe, as is so for any number of “new world”, or American migrant bird 

On a personal note, I’ve been lucky to have seen the Gray-cheeked Thrush (C. 
minimus) in the Amazonian basin of South America, accompanied by other 
observers & by expert local guides, and have seen it on some of the 
breeding-grounds, & have been fortunate enough to observe Bicknell’s Thrush -at 
very high elevation!- in the Dominican Republic, with others & with expert 
local guides, as well as to have assisted with the research into Bicknell’s by 
various organizations, including that started in part by Chris Rimmer, from 
whom I have held, in-hand, & under wise  & caring (which is also a factor in 
intelligent & well-done science!) supervision, Bicknell’s banded (“ringed”) by 
him & other licensed researchers in places such as (breeding grounds) at Mt. 
Mansfield, VT (in the 1990’s) and at Jefferson Notch, NH (into the 2000’s) and 
with other (licensed-permitted) scientific research projects in other parts of 
New York, New England, & 2 provinces of e. Canada.  I have spoken at length 
with some birders who have observed the Gray-cheeked Thrush (C. minimus) as a 
very rare “stray” in parts of Europe, including the British Isles, over the 
years, in conversations that took in many aspects of birding, science, and 
overall conservation works.

More on the general range of migrants & other birds in & around Manhattan 
island, in these past days at a later time.

- - - - - -
"Have we fallen into a mesmerized state that makes us accept as inevitable that 
which is inferior or detrimental, as though having lost the will or the vision 
to demand that which is good?” - Dr. Rachel Carson (1907-1964; marine 
biologist, conservationist, author, whose many superb books include ‘Silent 
Spring’.  Sir David Attenborough has remarked that that book by Ms. Carson, may 
have had an effect on modern sciences second only to Charles Darwin’s book “On 
the Origin of Species”.)

Good & quiet birding and nature-observing to all,

Tom Fiore


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