2 Black-throated Gray Warblers are one of the most-recent western vagrants to 
appear near southeast NY state, one not that far south of NYC, in Mercer 
County, N.J. on Oct. 12, the earlier on Oct. 10 at Higbee’s Beach, Cape May 
County, N.J.  Both individuals were photographed; the more recently-seen is in 
this checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49136279 (and the latter also 
having been re-found & seen by additional observers on-scene)

-     -     -     -     -     -
Manhattan, N.Y. City - 

A recent escapee or release of a Mandarin Duck in Central Park, at The Pond in 
the park’s SE sector, had some folks all a-twitter, and I saw a few people 
seeking that bird still on Friday, with no luck. This is not the first nor 2nd 
time that species had found it’s way to at least very temporary “freedom” from 
captivity in Central Park. There were even sightings a couple of decades ago, 
where the escapee Mandarin got up-close with a Wood Duck (the two species are 
most closely-related to each other, in the same genus), the latter regular in 
Central Park, & in one of the long-ago escapee’s time out of captivity, it also 
visited a few of the other waterbodies of Central Park, beyond the one nearest 
to the C.P. Zoo. (For those wishing to see a Mandarin Duck truly in the wild, 
get ready for a trip to northern Asia. The species has been known to breed from 
parts of California after escapes there, but is not seen as a migrant in this 
region at all. It is also a species kept by waterfowl fanciers, and the recent 
one in Central Park had a leg band. There have been feral Mandarin Ducks also 
in the U.K. and likely the occasional escapes also in other non-Asian regions 
where waterfowl-fanciers, and zoos, also exist.)

-   -   -
Thurs., Oct. 11 - A Worm-eating Warbler, lingering at Union Square Park was 
noted by A. Deutsch.  A Great Egret was noted at the lagoon off the n. side of 
Inwood Hill Park on a low tide.  A number of other smaller parks & green-spaces 
in Manhattan also held a modest variety of migrants, including some other 
warbler species.  At Central Park, fewer migrants detected than on days just 
prior, but still Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Wood (1), Gray-cheeked, & Swainson’s 
Thrushes, & at least one dozen warbler species; among the busier of areas with 
migrants was from W. 81-86 St. section of the park, including the Pinetum area, 
where at least 7 warbler species were present. It was also noticed that on this 
day at least some of the warblers were moving to & from trees lining the bridle 
path on the n. side of the 86th St. Transverse.  Rain was intermittent, but 
mainly held off to late in the day & that evening.

Friday, Oct. 12 - The storm that was Hurricane ‘Michael’ passed east off the s. 
shore of Long Island, NY Thursday night thru early Friday, as a cold front 
accompanied by strong NW wind moved in from the WNW also over Thurs. night into 
early Friday, and the rain was clearing away from N.Y. City shortly before 
day-break.  I went into Central Park’s north end, finding just a modest variety 
of expected species, and possible evidence of a bit of new arrival, which if so 
would’ve landed in just the 2 hrs. or so from end of harder rain to before 
first light & daybreak. 

It was a very good flight day in much of the eastern U.S. for raptors, falcons, 
vultures & other diurnally-migrating birds & above all, American Kestrels in 
Cape May, N.J., where more than 5,400 of those were counted migrating, on just 
1 day, & (I believe) this a new record-high 1-day count of the species for that 
site.
 
Among the very early a.m. sightings at the Great Hill were 3 thrush species: 
Hermit, Swainson’s, & Gray-cheeked; just a few more Hermit Thrush were 
subsequently seen in 20 minutes in the n. woods; a few warbler species that 
included an American Redstart, & a fair number of Blue Jays in a vocal flock.  
I then moved on to Riverbank St. Park (137th St. edge, with a wide view of sky 
in all directions) & for 40 minutes, 8 - 8:40 a.m., saw: 6 Bald Eagles (all 
non-adults, & at one point, 4 in view at once), 10 Ospreys (with up to 6 in 
view at one point), 3 Sharp-shinned & 1 Cooper’s Hawk, as well as 2 Peregrines 
(adults, possibly local residents of the area), & a couple of Red-tailed Hawks 
moving mostly low near buildings, & likely “locals”.  

By 9 a.m. having returned to Central Park, I took a position near the s. side 
of the N. Meadow, & observed more raptor & vulture movement, for an additional 
2.5 hours, thru 11:30.  Further sightings then included at least 14 additional 
Bald Eagles (mostly non-adults), 8 additional Osprey, 6 additional 
Sharp-shinned & 4 additional Cooper’s Hawks, 2 Merlins, additional Peregrine 
sightings as well as several of American Kestrel (although hard to say how 
many, if any of the latter 2 spp. were of migrants here, or just residents 
moving around the park as is usual.) Later in the day, the wind diminished & 
started to be from the west.   And, later checking various areas in much of 
Central, including the s. end as well as perimeters on the w. side, I found 
modest numbers, with improving visibility as the sun fully emerged, & ongoing 
feeding, by most of the clearly hungry smaller migrants that were lingering.

Warbler species for the day in Manhattan included at least these: Nashville, 
Northern Parula, Yellow, Magnolia, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped 
[Myrtle], Black-throated Green, Pine, Palm, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, 
American Redstart, Ovenbird, & Common Yellowthroat, so a mimimum of 15 species; 
all of these were found in Central Park, & a fair number were also seen in a 
variety of other parks. There was a report as well of 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler 
in the n. end of Central Park.

Besides the above warblers, & some of the raptors noted, there were these many 
other species:

Common Loon (3, fly-overs)
Double-crested Cormorant (modest no’s. of fly-overs, plus some on waters)
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Turkey Vulture (minimum of 62, likely more, moving south-sw in groups of a few, 
up to 10+ at a time, much of the day after about 9 - sought the other vulture 
species too, but did not see any)
Canada Goose (multiple fly-overs, but not that many)
Wood Duck (3 drakes, Pond, not together)
Gadwall (few)
American Black Duck
Mallard
Northern Shoveler (at least 5)
Broad-winged Hawk (a few, likely - I saw 2 probable, and others have seen at 
least several; getting late, but not unprecedented at all; those I saw were 
very high-flying W/SW later in day)
Red-shouldered Hawk (report of at least one landed, at the Pinetum in Central 
Park, from J. Wooten)
Ring-billed Gull
[American] Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift (smaller no’s., but 15+ still in a group)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (late-ish, Conservatory Garden)
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (multiple, esp. at various elm trees)
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker (not in high no’s.)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (getting a little late)
Eastern Phoebe (in very modest numbers)
Blue-headed Vireo (12+, Central Park, & 2 noted at Morningside Park in very 
brief pass, a.m.)
Red-eyed Vireo (a few)
Blue Jay (many, but poss. not a flight day?)
American Crow (many, up to 40, probably more, in & over Central Park; also some 
elsewhere)
Tree Swallow (several fly-bys moving rapidly, in a.m., not too high)
Black-capped Chickadee (12+ in Central Park, also a couple in other areas where 
not seen lately)
Tufted Titmouse (25+++ in Central Park, & a few even in such as courtyards of 
larger developments)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (at least several, Central Park; I did not focus at all 
on seeking these today)
White-breasted Nuthatch (present in Central Park)
Brown Creeper (several locations)
Carolina Wren
House Wren (1, Central Park s. end)
Winter Wren (several locations)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (multiple, including several in conifers at the southern 
edge of Central Park)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (multiple, but not that many)
Gray-cheeked Thrush (few)
Swainson's Thrush (few)
Hermit Thrush (few)
Wood Thrush (1, s. end of Central Park)
American Robin (fairly common)
Gray Catbird (fair no’s.)
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher (several, Central Park)
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (few, Central Park)
Scarlet Tanager (at least 2, Central Park)
Eastern Towhee (scattered sightings, but not common this day)
Chipping Sparrow (very modest numbers)
Song Sparrow (widespread but not great no’s.)
Lincoln's Sparrow (at least 2, Central Park, Hallett Sanctuary, & Strawberry 
Fields s. section)
Swamp Sparrow (very modest no’s.)
White-throated Sparrow (modest no’s. & ‘patchy', not seen in all wooded areas 
of the park this day)
White-crowned Sparrow (at least several, from North Meadow & east, & thru 
Strawberry Fields & east)
Dark-eyed Junco (small no’s. but widely scattered in Central Park)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2 were reported with some notes, from the n. end of 
Central Park)
Red-winged Blackbird (few, Central Park)
Common Grackle (small flocks in several areas)
Brown-headed Cowbird (few noted today)
Purple Finch (several, including some in s. end of park at a few more lush 
goldenrod & aster patches)
House Finch
American Goldfinch (60+++, at first a few, then increasing no’s. of fly-bys, 
calling & seen fairly easily + some feeding in various areas, including more 
than 20 together at the north end's “knoll” nectar for pollinator species 
plantings)
House Sparrow 
_  _  _  _
"We look at science as something very elite, which only a few people can learn. 
That's just not true. You just have to start early and give kids a foundation. 
Kids live up, or down, to expectations.” - Dr. Mae Jemison (first 
African-American woman into space; NASA mission of Sept. 12, 1992)

good birding,

Tom Fiore
manhattan














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