In case it was not already posted to this list, the lingering 
NY-state-&-regionally-rare PURPLE Gallinule was still being seen Tuesday, Oct. 
23, at Prospect Park’s lake edges, that’s Brooklyn / Kings County - by multiple 
observers - and it can be assumed, this will be of interest to more who may not 
have seen, or been able to get there, yet. (It was again seen on or around the 
eastern shore & “music” island at the lake, as previously & per eBird reports 
from Kings Co. birders.)

Maybe also previously posted to this list; in case not, Franklin’s Gull has 
been seen from Erie County, NY by multiple observers, one at least to Tuesday, 
10/23. from Woodlawn Beach State Park; photos are included in an eBird 
checklist for that location & date:

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

At least 2 Vesper Sparrows were seen within N.Y. County on Friday, 10/19 at 
Governors Island, these identified positively after a check of photos by the 
observer. This species has made a strong regional push and has been seen in 
numbers in multiple area counties.  Also notable as separately reported from 
this location were an apparently-lingering Yellow-billed Cuckoo, & a Tennessee 
Warbler; these reports all for Friday/19th.

-   -   -   -
Saturday to Tuesday, October 20th thru 23rd, 2018 -

Sat., 10/20 - A sad sighting for several observers, a dead Yellow-billed Cuckoo 
was photographed by the Geffen hall of Lincoln Center for the Arts, on 
Manhattan’s west side, presumed having expired after a heavy window-strike. 
This species has been getting reported even in this last half of October, from 
at least as far north as Maine, & west across to Chicago, all of these 
sightings, & in these numbers for this far into autumn, very unusual. Equally 
unusual are the numbers of Chimney Swift which were still being very widely 
seen, in N.Y. City but also in many other northeastern locations, and not 
merely as single or a few stragglers, but in modest to occasionally rather high 
numbers.  An American BITTERN was found & photo’d. at the Harlem Prep. High 
School in the east Harlem area of n. Manhattan. This species is almost 
certainly annual in N.Y. County, but often overlooked. Less so when it has not 
a great hding-place, as with the one noted in east Harlem on this day!

An Eastern Bluebird was reported from Fort Tryon Park in n. Manhattan. At least 
10 species of sparrows (plus E. Towhee & Slate-colored Junco) were found in 
Central Park - the sparrows seen included Vesper (near the Meer on 'Nutter’s 
Battery’), [Red] Fox, Lincoln’s, White-crowned (several), Swamp, Chipping, 
Field, Savannah, Song and White-throated Sparrows, all in the north end 
(although any may have also been in other areas of the park as well, & some or 
most of these certainly were).  An E. Meadowlark was seen eventually by many, 
as it returned to the lawn area of the Great Lawn in Central Park.  American 
Redstart, among the lingering warblers there, which also included Blackpoll, 
Cape May, Black-and-white, Ovenbird, Black-throated Blue, Common Yellowthroat, 
Pine, Palm, & Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warblers, totaling a minimum of 10 species 
from Central alone. Incidentally, since some inquired, a Vesper Sparrow seen at 
about 8 a.m. at the s. side of the Meer was not re-found in several additional 
passes there, both soon afterwards, & later with a few other birders; it was 
accompanied by a large mixed sparrow flock, & that flock also seemed to have 
dispersed; those who know the areas there well are aware that among the many 
places a single sparrow might end up include many sites just in the n. end, 
including several close to the Meer, more around a composting area, the densely 
vegetated wildflower meadow & vicinity, as well as edges & outer perimiter 
areas of the N. Meadow, E. Meadow, & yet other places still in the n. end of 

There was a report from a community garden on the Lower East Side of a 
Yellow-throated Vireo, which would be quite late, and if possible ought to be 
photographed if seen again. [N.B., I did very modest look-up of some records of 
photographed birds as of this date or later; there are not that many from the 
NYC region or points north by that date-range; 1 was well-photographed for a 
state late-date record in New Hampshire last year on Nov. 24 (S. Mirick) but 
that is (as the record suggests) an exceptionally late date for the region. 
Also just last year, 1 was photographed on Maine’s mid-coast, just 4 days later 
on Nov. 28 (T. Aversa) & this latter photographed sighting was also notable for 
having had 3 other vireo spp. in the same area & on that very late date (the 
other were White-eyed, Blue-headed, & at least 3 Red-eyed Vireos). Further, and 
again just last year, on Cape Cod Massachusetts, Yellow-throated Vireo was 
photo’d. from Nov. 23, & even on to Dec., including more than 1 individual. 
There is even a photo-record for 1 on Nov. 6 at Quebec City in Canada, much 
farther north than other extremely late dates. The species has also been found 
multiple times in Nova Scotia & New Brunswick, maritime provinces of Canada in 
Nov. or later. So there is a bit of precedent, but these are rare occurrences 
for now. In future, & with potential climate-change, perhaps a very different 
phenological pattern to this, and to movements of many, many other species.]

- - -
Sun., 10/21 - 

A GOLDEN Eagle, always a very good sighting for N.Y. City, was seen moving past 
Inwood Hill Park in n. Manhattan around mid-day; observer R. Zucker has this 
<>    A long-staying Great Egret was 
still hanging-in at Muscota marsh by Inwood as well on Sunday, & might even be 
there still…  Other raptors were certainly seen as well moving over Manhattan & 
vicinity on this day of strong NW winds & a fresh cold front - it is possible 
that a further report will be forthcoming on some of this movement, in 
particular if there are conclusions for ID on a different raptor also seen, by 
another keen birder, at Inwood Hill the same afternoon. (An eBird checklist has 
been submitted with Rough-legged Hawk as a putative ID on this raptor, this 
still in possible review.)  Multiple Bald Eagles were a part of the day’s 
observations of raptor movement more generally.

Later on in the day, a NELSON'S Sparrow, likely of the Atlantic coastal form 
‘subvirgatus',  was found, and after initial questions of ID, & was observed by 
many & photo’d by some, the find near a playground just SE of W. 86 St. in 
Central Park. Not unusual for the region, in migration, but a most-unusual 
sight in Central, or anywhere in Manhattan itself. Thanks are due to finder 
Elizabeth Paredes, and also to Jeffrey Ward who passed the news on for others 
to get to see this. (This incidentally is not a first, nor even 2nd record for 
Central Park, but it is not all an expected species there; it is regular in 
marshgrass habitat, but will show up esp. on days of very strong migration, or 
after some storms, in unusual locations.)

At first light & for a while afterwards at Central Park’s north end, & 
specifically in the vicinity of a composting area, I watched as 300+ sparrows 
of multiple species moved madly & were clearly all (or mostly) fresh arrivals, 
with the extra excitement shown by just-landed migrants. In this mix were 
multiple White-crowned, & also Swamp, with expected higher numbers of Chipping, 
Savannah, Song, & above all White-throated Sparrow. This was all observed just 
in the area at the s. edges of the composting area in the park.  Also seen in 
this area were Field & Lincoln’s Sparrow; by about 8:15 a.m., I was on Summit 
Rock & also checking areas from the lawn n. of the Great Lawn, & elsewhere on 
the west side of Central Park, & it was clear that a vast number of fresh 
arrivals had moved in, esp. of sparrows, & these esp. concentrated from near W. 
86 St. to at least south of 72nd St.; there were also great numbers of the 
most-expected spp. of sparrow (White-throated, & to lesser extent Song & Swamp 
& Chipping) in the southeast part of Central. Vesper Sparrow was again seen on 
Governors Island, a logical place for this species to occur in migration, as is 
Randall’s Island. This sparrow species is certainly of annual occurence in N.Y. 
County, but can be overlooked in a lot of cases, & also may not “stick” long in 
a busy and crowded park such as Central or other Manhattan areas that have a 
bit of the right habitat, but also a lot of humans (& dogs) running around.

It has been rather widely-noted through much of the northeast for how many 
White-crowned Sparrows are appearing recently, & this has also been observed in 
Manhattan. White-throated Sparrow, while not at all unusual in migration nor as 
a winter-visitor in Manhattan, was extremely widespread & almost ubiquitous in 
most smaller & larger greenspaces & parks on this day; some very small spaces 
held dozens of this species, often accompanied by one or a few additional 
native sparrows (such as Song, Swamp, Chipping, White-crowned, or others).

Duckage for Central Park included at least: 5 Hooded Mergansers, 4 Buffleheads, 
& 30+ Ruddy Ducks all at the C.P reservoir; plus N. Shovelers, several Wood 
Ducks all continuing, as well as Gadwall & more regularly-seen waterfowl. (A 
minimum of 8 duck species, fairly good for this early in the season at Central, 
& in this current era.)  Most of these ducks have continued on thru the day of 
this report, and more waterfowl, as well as other “winter"-type arrivals may be 
anticipated, with the incoming fronts & back-to-chillier weather.

A lot of diurnal migration also occured, this after a night that also brought 
some fresh influx, as well as some departures.  Among the interesting (& 
uncommon in Manhattan & in most of N.Y. City) migrants were many E. Bluebirds, 
passing from as early as 7:20 a.m. over the NE part of Central Park, to & thru 
the mid-day hours, with at least 14 in the n. end before 8 a.m., & another 20 
or more in the areas south of West 86 St., & along the w. edge of the park; 
some may have flown out of the park in the vicinity of W. 81 St. & southwards, 
before 9 a.m.; a number of these were also sticking in a few areas, including 
at the w. edges of the N. Meadow trees, in the areas east of & near Summit 
Rock, and at least a couple in & around Strawberry Fields, after 9 a.m., where 
an Orange-crowned Warbler was seen & photographed by Peter Post. This was the 
2nd photo-documented Orange-crowned of the season for Central, the other being 
recently in the park’s north end. On Manhattan, at least, none of that species 
were documented until Oct. this season (which is within a normal time-frame for 
Orange-crowned migrations around here).

In mid-morning, I made a visit to several small greenspaces & parks in the East 
& W. Village areas; I specifically wanted to look at a community garden on E. 
9th St. & did so (mostly weekend opening hours, for non-garden suuporters or 
workers) and there, was unable to see a sought-after vireo species 
(Yellow-throated), although I did photo a Blackpoll Warbler in the same garden 
at close range. (I also visited Tompkins Square Park, where the vireo species 
in question had been reported earlier in this month - a location not at all far 
from the community garden to the east of that park.)  And, in a rather short 
stop at Washington Square Park, a closely-seen (late-ish) Red-eyed Vireo, as 
well as Blue-headed Vireo, the latter species also seen in (& reported from) a 
number of Manhattan locales.  An E. Bluebird was also found at a community 
garden on E. 6th Street, most likely a “first” for that small space - reported 
by L. Goggin in eBird- a mid-p.m. visit.

Various other warblers in Manhattan & N.Y. County included a rather late 
Yellow, photographed on Randall’s Island, Black-throated Green in several 
locations, & American Redstart also in several locations; additional were 
Magnolia (at least 4 reports), N. Parula (several), Black-throated Blue 
(multiple), Black-and-white (multiple), Pine, Blackpoll, Palm (in very strong 
numbers overall), Yellow-rumped (possibly the largest numbers so far in 
Manhattan this fall, for birds ‘sticking’, that is, rather than just 
fly-throughs in early a.m. flights, & N.B. - a very strong morning flight of 
Y.-rumped Warbler was observed at coastal Kings Co./ Brooklyn, with one 
observer reporting low-5-digits numbers of this species moving past Coney 
Island for this same morning), Ovenbird, & Common Yellowthroat. That’s 14 
species of warblers; one add’l. note, among the Am. Redstarts was at least one 
male in bright adult plumage, photo’d. by an observer at the C.P 
reservoir-shore rocks.

Very common & found in many small parks, as well as odd locations on this day 
were Hermit Thrush - even in a few extremely small sites not next to larger 
parks, I found as many as 3 or 4. (At Central Park, it seemed 250+ for all of 
the park would be a low estimate, & that is far from a high count for fall 
there.) I spent much of the afternoon in Central, with a brief visit to a 
couple of small parks north of there in Harlem, and at Riverside Park.  Scarlet 
Tanager, a species typically mostly-gone south by now, were seen in modest 
numbers including at least 4 photographed in different areas of Central Park 
alone, as well as a few from other Manhattan locations & with multiple 

-  -  -
Mon., 10/22 - Slighly milder after a chilly start & a lot of new migration, 
much of which may have been of departing birds out of Manhattan; and with much 
less diurnal movement noted. Eastern Meadowlark was photo’d. on Governors 
Island (N.Y. County), by C. Weiner, & seen by others as well. A single American 
Pipit, rather uncommonly found in general in N.Y. County (although very 
probably annual, esp. on the outer & smaller islands - Governors & Randall’s), 
was found on Sun., 10/21, & again a single seen by another observer on 10/22, 
both these reported sightings at Inwood Hill Park.

-  -  -
Tues., 10/23 - Two Yellow-breasted CHATS, 2 city parks in lower Manhattan, one 
at City Hall Park (farther downtown) & another at Madison Square Park (bordered 
by Fifth & Madison Avenues, & 23rd to 26th Streets.) Both of these parks have 
had birds of great interest in other years, especially in late fall & into 

5 Black Vultures were well-seen by multiple observers, from Central Park as 
they moved by going through with a greater number of Turkey Vultures. Of 
course, the former species has become far more widespread in the northeast, and 
was a real rarity in (over) Manhattan in the previous decades. It is still not 
at all common, although sightings of them are more regular, esp. if viewed or 
sought from far-northern Manhattan, perhaps scanning across the Hudson river or 
looking northeast.  A modest number of raptors were seen this day as well as a 
fine vulture migration - with Bald Eagles amongst the raptors on the move.  
There were still some Chimney Swifts about, as well - rather late for any sorts 
of numbers; it will be interesting to see if any of the swifts linger much 
longer, with additional cold fronts passing thru.  Of lingerering 
neotropical-wintering songbirds, there was still Swainson’s Thrush, seen also 
by multiple observers, including members of a Linnaean Society of New York 
bird-walk led by R. Lieberman.

Warblers for just this day included at least these species: Magnolia, 
Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Black-and-white, Blackpoll, 
Ovenbird, N. Parula, Cape May (n. end of Central Park & the Pinetum’s elms) 
Pine, Palm (many), Yellow-rumped [Myrtle], & Common Yellowthroat - thus, at 
least a dozen species, and all represented by at least 2 individuals from 
discrete locations; in the multiple besides Palm were of course Myrtle 
Warblers.  Also very common, nearly ubiquitous in many small & large 
greenspaces were sparrows, above all White-throated, & in larger parks, also 
Song, Swamp, Chipping, as well as some White-crowned & (fewer) Lincoln’s 
Sparrows. A further increase in Slate-colored Junco, and another modest influx 
of E. Towhee seemed to have occurred on Tues., as well. 

“Irruptive” finches of at least 3 species have been on the move, widely seen 
for many weeks have been Purple Finch, & these continue to be found in 
Manhattan, & N.Y. County, & more recently also increased numbers of Pine 
Siskin, with at least a few showing up in odd spots, briefly or perhaps for a 
longer time where enticing food is available; I saw one this day along the 
Hudson River greenway path, in the area of Clinton Cove in the 50’s streets, & 
a couple of other “neighborhood” reports have come thru in addition to 
sightings from some of the city parks;  a finch species that is hoped-for in 
the city (although very uncomon there) and lately being seen in modest, but 
increasing numbers in counties to the north & northeast of N.Y. City are 
Evening Grosbeaks.  There are also reports from a few locations (mostly 
far-north) of various other irruptive-in-winter” species, and we shall see what 
the ongoing seasons produce...

I visited Governors Island in mid-day for a short (less than 2 hrs.) bike ride 
& found no very uncommon birds, but there were still many E. Phoebes, Kinglets 
(esp. Golden-crowned, 40++ of the latter in just one area around S. Battery of 
this island), & Hermit Thrushes, as well as great numbers of some sparrows, 
esp. Chipping, Savannah, Song, & White-throated Sparrow, plus some 
White-crowned, and Swamp, Field, as well as (a few) Lincoln’s that allowed 
views, plus a fair number of Slate-colored Junco. Yellow-shafted Flickers were 
seen in scores, perhaps at least some having just arrived there. I searched a 
bit in a few areas with ‘flycatchers’ in mind, but as noted, just E. Phoebe in 
that department in my late-morning arrival. The last regular, daily, 
fully-public ferries are to be available just through Oct. 31st, for Governors 
Island. Clearly, some great birds could potentially show there in Nov. & on 
into the winter (& have, in seasons past).

 -  -  -  
There is a current report (found on Monday, 10/22, & seen by more observers on 
10/23) of a Thick-billed Kingbird in North Dakota - this is VERY far north of 
the species usual range, which just barely makes it across the Mexican border 
into Arizona & perhaps southwest New Mexico, as a U.S. breeder. It’s 
‘accidental' so far north, & may represent the northern-most U.S. record (there 
may be a record for Vancouver, B.C. Canada); for those with interest, a 
checklist with many photos & notes - 
 (far, very far, from NY state, of course, but a good reminder that certain 
kinds of birds, including tyrannid flycatchers, can stray quite far from 
expected range, at times. (Check any unexpected birds closely, & attempt 
photos, but at least, take careful notes, if seeing a very unexpected or 
‘unknown’ migrant…!)

- - - - -
"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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