Manhattan, N.Y. City - (many sightings from Central Park)

Tues., Oct. 16 -  A lot of fresh migration had taken place, with a cold front & 
gusty NW winds arriving Mon. night.  A Blue Grosbeak was seen by many observers 
at Strawberry Fields, in Central Park.  Many [Atlantic] Brant were seen in 
migration, moving south on, particularly, the w. wide / Hudson river-side of 
Manhattan, with counts going into triple-digits. (Many also were seen migrating 
from locations elsewhere, including just north of N.Y. City.)  Various raptors 
including Bald Eagle were noted on the move, as were Turkey Vulture in good 
numbers. A fly-by Sandhill Crane was reported from Inwood Hill Park (A few have 
been on the move, in the tri-state region).

The BLUE Grosbeak was seen by many observers, including by the bird-walk groups 
of several non-profit org’s. including the AMNH group (American Museum of 
Natural History), & the Linnaean NY group (Linnaean Society of New York), this 
sighting in Strawberry Fields section of Central Park. This bird was 
photo-documented by B. Raik, on the AMNH Tues. group bird-walk.  Also seen and 
well-described were 2 Wood Thrush (getting late), at the same location, along 
with a lot of other migrants.

-  -  -  
Wed., Oct. 17 - An Orange-crowned Warbler was found at the eastern side of the 
Great Hill, & was later seen by me, 4 p.m. at the widest path that leads to the 
high point of the West Drive, & in an all-too-regular Central Park experience, 
as I was about to get a quick grab-photo, an off-leash dog came (a little 
Chihuahua of all the…) and flushed off the warbler, after which I spent an hour 
not seeing it there again; it appeared to have simply jumped up, low in a 
nearby tree - but that was that; I stayed on the Great Hill a good while longer 
anyhow, with other migrants that were willing to be photo’d (& despite the 
usual afternoon human activities). Many migrants were found in the n. end also 
by the group bird-walk with NYC Audubon: Bay-breasted Warbler and Cape May 
Warbler were amongst these. The Orange-crowned was well photo’d by others.

In the Ramble region, a rather late Prairie Warbler was seen by the AMNH Wed. 
group bird walk leader and observers. (A few others of that species have been 
seen in multiple NY counties in this past week.) Through all of the park, at 
least 14 warbler species were noted, and some species were seen in the multiple 
including Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, Cape May, 
Palm, & Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers.  Species such as Scarlet Tanager, 
Swainson’s Thrush, & Lincoln’s & White-crowned Sparrows were still to be found.

I had visited a few lower & mid Manhattan parks on Wed. morning; although some 
parks in lower Manhattan seemed to have fewer migrants than on the weekend, 
there was still some variety; at Union Square Park, I found 7 species of 
warblers, all in elms on the west side & including one fairly bright female 
Cape May, plus 3 Black-and-white Warblers all seen at one time much lower, even 
on the closed-off lawn, plus Blackpoll, N. Parula, Ovenbird, Common 
Yellowthoat, & Yellow-rumped (Myrtle), as well as both Nuthatch species, both 
Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Y.-B. Sapsucker, & numerous White-throated Sparrows; a 
longer stay might have even produced more species there! Other parks I’d 
visited in lower & mid Manhattan were slightly less productive.

Thursday, Oct. 18 - This day featured a very strong morning flight as well as 
diurnal flight, one that appeared to be persistent thru the entire day to some 
extent. At times, "ribbons in the sky" of migrants could be seen, both 
relatively low & also extremely high and from multiple vantage points thru mid 
& upper Manhattan thru the morning, and again late in the day at least on the 
west edge of Manhattan. And, pretty clearly there was a decent overnight 
flight, with some new arrivals in passerines & other small songbirds, and some 
departures as well.

Among larger birds, among those seen in the diurnal flight were -

Loon species (high; unidentified to sp., but probably Common - 1)
Double-crested Cormorant (many hundreds, including late in day)
Great Blue Heron (4 before 9 a.m., two, & then 2 more singly)
Turkey Vulture (at least several dozen, early & also late in day)
Vulture species (some at great distance, but prob. also as above)
Canada Goose (many hundreds on the move, including at dusk)
[Atlantic] Brant (some flocks of up to 40-50, esp. in late morning)
Wood Duck (4, seen headed south at 7:30 a.m. from Central Pk.)
American Black Duck (flock of 22, southbound, early a.m.)l
Northern Shoveler (150+ in several flocks, 7-8 a.m.. southbound)
Bufflehead (several small flocks, 7:30 - 9 a.m., southeast direction of flight)
Duck species (small-ish flocks in flight, high, many appearing to be Scaup, or 
at least, Aythya sp.)
Osprey (several, including one very low, a.m.)
Bald Eagle (several, including adults & under-5-yr.-old, & thru the day)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (multiple, esp. early & also late in day)
Cooper's Hawk (at least 6 in flight, also seen hunting in both Central & 
Riverside Parks)
Red-shouldered Hawk (at least several, including some reported later in day in 
Red-tailed Hawk (multiple, & likely at least some migrating in addition to the 
very many city residents)
Shorebird species (very high, & smallish, but unid. to species; 1 flock of ~ 30 
moving SSE, ~ 8:45 a.m.)
Chimney Swift (totals of 60+, with a few flocks of 15+, & also a few seen late 
in day, from Central Park & late morning, n. Manhattan)
Hummingbird species (2 zoomed by in diurnal flight, early a.m. - presumed 
Ruby-throated, which had been continuing in a few parks this week)
Merlin (2, migrating, late in day)
Red-headed Woodpecker (adult, moving just above some tree tops from Sheep 
Meadow, headed SW, ~ 8:15 a.m., poss. moving out of Central)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (6+ in flight all moving in general southerly direction, 
7:20 through 9:15 a.m. & seemed to be on the move, not merely “local” movement)
Yellow-shafted Flicker (34 in first 1/2 hour of daylight, all moving in 
southerly direction, from Central Park)
Blue Jay (many hundreds, thru the day & as seen by many observers; my own 
counts add up to 600+++)
American Crow (45+, including some flocks of 20+ on the move, including a few 
late in day)
Common Raven (2 seen moving from n. Manhattan - out near or over the Hudson & 
possibly not just local to gen. area)
Black-capped Chickadee (6-7 moving at first-light, n. end of Central; though 
perhaps just recent arrivals moving about locally there)
Tufted Titmouse (90+++, thru many areas in Central & also in some street trees, 
small greenspaces, several parks; not easily apparent for diurnally-moving, but 
Red-breasted Nuthatch (8+ including at least 2 in tiny greenspaces in n. 
Manhattan; others seen moving thru trees in Central Park in first 3 hrs. of day 
White-breasted Nuthatch (26++, some in clear movement, even 1 on a street in n. 
Manhattan in late a.m.- in addition to many reports of this sp. in various 
American Robin (1,200+ in first 150 minutes of the day: I stopped counting 
after 8:30 but more still on the move later, & small numbers also even late in 
the day)
American Pipit (at least 2 flying over Sheep Meadow, ~ 9:20 a.m., calling & at 
above-tree level, but apparently not landing on the field; rel. scace as a 
landed bird in Central or other Manhattan parks, & not v. frequently detected 
as a migrant in Manhattan; possibly mostly on the smaller islands of New York 
Cedar Waxwing (130+ in small flocks of less than ten, up to one of 22+, 
including one small flock later in day)
Chipping Sparrow (some in flight, in addition to the birds landed or coming in 
to land; first 3 hrs. of day)
Dark-eyed Junco (at least a few ID’d in flight; possibly more in much higher 
flights, first 3 hrs. of day)
Sparrow species (some 150+++ birds on the move in high flight that seemed 
likely to be sparrow-tribe species, possibly Chipping Sparrow, first hour+ of 
Red-winged Blackbird (75++ in flight, first 90 minutes of day)
Eastern Meadowlark (2, clearly meadowlarks in flight, poss. landing but more 
likely not; not searched-for though, ~ 7:45 a.m., North Meadow)
Rusty Blackbird (3 in flight, early a.m., & giving calls - not searched for 
later, as potentially landing in Central)
Common Grackle (800+ in flight, first 3 hrs. of day, but rapidly dwindled after 
about 8 a.m.; also few in flight later, & some also near dusk)
Blackbird species (some in extremely high flight, probably all C. Grackle, but 
too high to be sure of species)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (200++ in flight, giving calls & some moving at tree-top 
height, others higher, in first 3 hours of day but seeming to drop off after 90 
Palm Warbler (modest numbers seen in flight, less than 40 in total, tree-top 
heights, first 90 minutes of day)
Warbler species (many in flight, too high to be ID’d, and perhaps mostly 
Yellow-rumped just based on likely-for-date)
Purple Finch (100++++, with flight from below-treetop levels, to well-above, & 
in various directions including SE, S, SW, & more or less W; thru first 5 hours 
of day)
House Finch (possibly some moving; at least a few apparently so - & 
potentially, more than a few on the move)
Pine Siskin (10++, likely more based on calls, & mixing with other finches in 
flights, but all ID’d siskins in flight were in first hour of daylight)
American Goldfinch (220+++, some still moving at last hour of day; many low but 
also some fairly high, lots of calls)
[small] Finch species (several hundred, possibly more, at higher elevations; in 
flocks of up to 60+, and too high for definite ID’s, but likely many were 
Purple Finch)

Again the above list in birds solely in FLIGHT, moving thru and as seen from 
mostly 3 points, in Central Park’s n. & then s. sectors, and later, a site in 
northern Manhattan, near the Hudson river; the numbers are not indicative of 
some of these species seen on the ground, no’s. of which may have been lower.

A few assorted sightings in Central Park, for Thursday, 10/18:
Ring-necked Duck (7 came in on C.P. Reservoir; many observers on Thurs. 10/18, 
not noted on Friday, though);  Ruddy Duck (Reservoir & Meer; at least 45 in 
total, N.B. the Ruddys at CP res. are already in separated groups), & many more 
migrants. There were reports of late Broad-winged Hawk, over Central Park, & of 
slightly early [Red] Fox Sparrow also in Central Park. 

A (presumed) Ruby-throated Hummingbird was still around, at Fort Tryon Park in 
n. Manhattan, where a very strong diurnal southbound movement of land-birds was 
also observed, including Blue Jays and American Robins by the hundreds, as well 
as finch species, blackbird species, and assorted other birds. On Randall’s 
Island (N.Y. County), a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was lingering, as well as a 
slightly late Spotted Sandpiper. A Pine Siskin was also photo’d there, while it 
was feeding.

-  -  -  -
Friday, Oct. 19 - E. Meadowlark, reported at Inwood Hill Park (early a.m. 
sighting by N. O’Reilly)

A few ‘new’ seasonal arrivals, with Hooded Mergansers (5 at sunrise on C.P 
reservoir, later just 3 drakes there; perhaps 2 more in other water-bodies), 
and a pair of Buffleheads also at the reservoir, a couple of N. Shovelers, 
Gadwall, 3 typical gull spp., etc.). 2 Wood Ducks continued at The Pond, in 

I took in many areas of Central Park, checking a lot of the larger and some 
smaller lawns, in particular, & found very good no’s. of some species, such as 
White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, 
& to lesser extent, both Kinglet spp., Palm Warbler, along with much 
less-numerous other migrants feeding in the grasses - this was especially noted 
from parts of the South Meadow (which is located n. of the reservoir), various 
edges of the N. Meadow, the n. field just n. of the Great Lawn & also Pinetum 
lawn areas, & along parts of Sheep Meadow’s edges, as well as east of The Mall, 
& in lesser lawn spaces park-wide. I was also checking various sites where in 
the past, Red-headed WP has taken up for a wintering site, or, at least part of 
a late autumn’s stay in the park, but came up empty today; later in the season 
is often an even-better time for finding a lingering Red-headed Woodpecker in a 
city park - which does not always mean that the bird[s] found were not present 
in mid-fall; they might well be, & are only discovered later, once leaves have 
thinned or dropped, & fewer birds overall provide ‘distractions’ to such finds… 
 The overall feel of Friday was of the season we are actually in, rather than 
quite so many of ‘late’ neotropical migrants.

Still, ongoing on Friday in Central were such species as: Black-and-white, 
Blackpoll, Nashville, Cape May, Wilson’s, Black-throated Green and 
Black-throated Blue Warblers, & American Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Parula, Common 
Yellowthroat, & perhaps other warbler spp.;  Indigo Bunting, and aerially, a 
modest no. of Chimney Swifts, all these being primarily neotropical winterers.  
The migrants however were by Friday dominated by such species as (in addition 
to those noted in the prev. paragraph), E. Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 
Hermit Thrush, E. Towhee, & some other later-season migrants & potential 
lingering &/or wintering species.  There was however, a Wood Thrush still being 
seen in Strawberry Fields, where the species was seen earlier in the week by 
many, & while late, again this species has had at least a few documented winter 
records in N.Y., one of them in precisely the above location, & in mid-February.

[Red] Fox Sparrow was seen by a group at Strawberry Fields (first reported 
elsewhere in Central on Thursday). Cedar Waxwings were also in some areas, 
smallish feeding flocks where various fruits were still available for the 
pickings.  There had been a modest early daytime flight of at least American 
Robins and mixed blackbirds (most apparently C. Grackles) as well as smaller 
passerines, with at least some of those including Purple Finch, American 
Goldfinch, and Pine Siskin, as well as warbler movement that seemed to be at a 
ratio of 98% or more of Yellow-rumped Warblers, which would be about right for 
the type of overall patterns of this week.

>From the Hudson River greenway north of 145 St. (western edge of Manhattan) a 
>good movement of Turkey Vulture was apparent, with well over 100 passing just 
>in the 1-2 p.m. hour; also seen were Bald Eagle, and a few Red-tailed Hawks 
>plus Peregrine Falcon, although the latter 2 spp. could well have been nearby 

A late Yellow-billed Cuckoo was reported from Governors Island (N.Y. County) & 
also a late Tennessee Warbler there, both seen Friday. (N.B., a few other Y.-b. 
Cuckoos were found in other counties in NY state the same day, including in 
N.Y. City, with at least 2 separate ones in 2 Kings County, a.ka. Brooklyn 
parks.)  Great numbers of both Kinglet spp. but especially Golden-crowned were 
widely reported again, with a large count, perhaps some lingering for the week 
out on Governors Island.

All this week, reports from northern Manhattan have indicated good variety & 
numbers of many migrants, & to some extent, but especially earlier in the week, 
a lot of migrant variety in smaller parks, including a number in mid & lower 

A note re: Barred Owl, in C.P.  on Thursday - the Ramble area had active 
tree-pruning work, with some areas roped-off at times Fri. a.m., work being 
done with ‘cherry-picker’ equipment, power-saws, & so forth, any of which could 
have additionally pushed this owl away; on the other hand, IF this were the 
same individual seen quite some while ago in the park’s n. end, it would have 
been a long time in a park that can have a lot of potential disturbances, for a 
shy woodland owl, or really for any day-roosting creature. (N.B. this owl was 
at least eBirded: publicly-known, not kept ‘secret’ as some owls may be when at 
a roost. Also report is now 24+ hrs. old.)

& extra-limitally -
A Gray Kingbird was found in Ohio on Wed., 10/17 (& thru 10-19); seen by many 
many observers; the finder has a few photos in his checklist 
<>  (this will be a first state 
record for Ohio if confirmed/accepted; a Gray Kingbird was also found earlier 
this month in New Brunswick, maritime Canada, for a 1st provincial record 
there; the species is on the NY state checklist.)  And yet another sighting 
from New Jersey of a Black-throated GRAY Warbler, this latest new (3rd in N.J. 
this month) bird Fri., 10/19 at the Rutgers college Livingston campus, which is 
in Piscataway, Middlesex County in that state. This latter bird was not found 
again later the same day.

-   -   -   -
"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?”  -  Rachel Carson (1907-1964; marine biologist, 
conservationist, author whose books include ‘Silent Spring’.  Sir David 
Attenborough has remarked that that book may have had an effect on science 
second only to Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”.)

Good birding,

Tom Fiore


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