Manhattan island & New York County -

Tues. & Wednesday, 30 & 31 October, 2018 

Tuesday, 10/30 -

A Tennessee Warbler was photographed at Madison Square Park; this is getting 
quite late for the species yet others have been documented recently in various 
locations in the northeast, & this seems part of what appears to be a rather 
broad trend of more-than-typical numbers of late stragglers amongst 
neotropical-wintering migrants thru the northeast, this autumn. Additionally, a 
Northern Waterthrush was again found, in Central Park, by the AMNH (American 
Museum of Natural History) bird-walk group & leader; this an individual warbler 
that has been lingering quite some time often at the so-called “Triplets” 
bridge area, by a small streamlet that arises just north of the park’s W. 77th 
St. entrance; the waterthrush not always apparent at the small rustic wooden 
bridge, but patience and luck may find it.  For all of N.Y. County, a minimum 
of 15 warbler species were found on Tuesday, more than typically expected so 
deep into the month of October. All of the less-common or less-expected of 
these species were photographed, &/or were seen by 15-30+ observers including 
highly experienced leaders.  A plethora of various somewhat-expected migrants 
were seen by a lot of observers spread thru a dozen or more locations, esp. a 
few of the larger Manhattan parks, as well as a few of the smaller ones. In a 
season when September sometimes 'under-performed' for local migration-watching, 
Oct. came thru very nicely!

At least 7 E. Bluebirds were seen on the Linnaean Society of New York regular 
Tues. group bird-walk in Central Park; one was photo’d. at the Great Lawn, 
while others flew through; there were other sightings (& nice photos) of the 
species in other Manhattan parks the same day, as well.  It’s been quite good 
in Manhattan for these recently, more so than in a long, long time. (Some E. 
Bluebirds were also contiuing at Governors Island to the following day, the 
last of Oct.)

The report of from ten to 12 Monk Parakeets flying through Fort Tryon Park in 
northern Manhattan is very interesting, & will further be interesting to see if 
any more are found in Manhattan as the autumn progresses; the species had begun 
to establish itself rather tenuously, it seemed, on the island over a decade 
ago, and then those few known breeders were either displaced or moved on due to 
other causes. It is an established breeder in all of the other counties of N.Y. 
City (or at least, has been in the present decade), & in various nearby 
counties, & also in parts of at least 2 states closest to N.Y. City. (The 
species had long been established in such northern cities as Chicago & vicinity 
and it is a very cold-hardy species. There was an apparent nesting attempt in 
2012 in Watervliet, NY (Albany County), & there are nesting or occurrence 
records from southern Connecticut, Rhode Island, & Massachusetts, as well as in 
Wisconsin, & a part of coastal Washington state (& many other more-southern US 
states; the Florida populations of this species has been estimated in the 
low-to-mid six-figures range).   There was an eBirded report of a single Monk 
at W. 37th St. near the Hudson river in Manhattan (on a bldg.) for the 31st of 
Oct., an atypical area as to most previous sightings.

Wednesday, 10/31 -

A lot of movement took place the night prior, & much of that was exodus, while 
an influx brought new rounds of sparrows (in particular), kinglets, & some 
other species. I took a cycle-spin from one end of Manhattan (south) to the 
other (north) & found both species of Kinglet (but far more of Ruby-crowned) in 
virtually every little patch of habitat I passed by or spent time birding in - 
from The Battery to Inwood, & all points between, I’d say I was never more than 
50 yards from a kinglet, & this included such “habitat” as the 2-foot or less 
wide strip of plantings at the Hudson River greenway next to the cruise-ships 
docks, at ~ 48th-54th Streets & various other marginal bits and pieces. 

In multiple small green spaces in Harlem (north of 110 Street thru 141 Street, 
and on 5 of the major avenues there, were more kinglets, again a ratio of about 
20 Ruby-crowneds to each Golden-crowned, while there were at least some areas 
where Golden-crowneds were not so scarce by comparison.  Sparrows were seen 
mostly in larger lawns, and were by far mostly White-throated, with an 
admixture of Song, Swamp, & in some less-busy areas, many Chipping, plus here & 
there a Field, White-crowned, & the harder-to-spot Lincoln’s Sparrows, plus 
many Slate-colored Juncos, occasionally in the triple-digits on a few very 
large open lawns & fields, & even where some activities (sports or other) were 
taking place, the juncos simply well off on side spaces that were not in active 
use.   [Red] Fox Sparrows have continued in multiple locations, some having 
been photographed at various sites, including today in Madison Square Park. The 
Vesper Sparrow reports included those on 10/31 from Governors Island, & on 
10/30 at Central Park’s north end, the latter found by N. Sourigi.

Further, there were Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warblers in a lot of parks & 
green-spaces, with again just a very modest percentage of Palm Warbler - 
perhaps 1 out of 75, at best, and other warblers in far scarcer distribution 
including Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Blue (5 or more, with 2 bright 
males, and at least 3 females including at Madison Square Park, & at Battery 
Park), Pine (4 total in the all-day outing in all of Manhattan), Cape May (4 
total, including at Central Park’s n. end “knoll”, & also in Central at the 
east edge of Sheep Meadow, also one at Battery Park near the s.w. ‘corner' 
lawn), Black-and-white in several lower Manhattan parks, & the lingering & 
quite late Tennessee at Madison Square Park.  There might have been various 
other warbler species still lingering, and it’s also quite possible the next 
front pushing thru this area may bring some additional / fresh such very late 
stragglers - particularly as some warbler spp. were still being seen quite far 
north of N.Y. City.  

In flycatchers, all that I found were E. Phoebe, and a fair number were spread 
all thru areas visited, including at least a dozen along the greener parts of 
the Hudson river greenway, from north of the Battery to near W. 59 Street.  
N.B., I had a quick look in the Columbia University campus, & found no unusual 
birds - it’s not in my typical birding-route, and I did not stay at the site 
that long.  (and, M. Goldstein’s note of 10/30 to this list was apropos, re: a 
putative Manhattan “Great Crested” flycatcher report, with the nice find of an 
Ash-throated out at Heckscher S.P. on Long Island one day later; there can be 
either species in the area into Oct., & quite rarely for Great Crested in Nov. 
too, in N.Y.C.) but as with many eastern breeding neotropical-wintering 
migrants, their ‘western' counterparts - as vagrants to the east - can start to 
get almost as, & then even more likely, as the autumn moves on into it’s final 

A continuing & late 10/31 E. Wood-Pewee was still getting some attention out on 
Governor’s Island, & perhaps asking for some too, by giving some calls this 
milder-weather day - thanks to B. Cacace - and to C. Weiner for a 10/31 
photographed American Redstart on that same island - as well as a nice 
basic-plumaged Rusty Blackbird - for those & many other good sightings from 
that outpost of N.Y. County on the last day of Oct. & also that was the last 
day of regular ongoing access there via ferry from Manhattan (unfortunately… as 
that is among the more-likely locations in the county for a variety of uncommon 
birds, & the chance of some late-season vagrant rarity is also pretty good in 
such a place, located well for such possibilities.)

For late-ness, there were still at least a few Chimney Swifts around, & seen by 
many observers in various areas in N.Y. County for the last day of Oct.; given 
some ongoing fairly mild weather, perhaps some migrant species that are 
less-expected on into November will be still be found in the region, but 
clearly, onward migration has been on-going.  A Baltimore Oriole was hanging in 
at Madison Square Park, but this is not all that unusual for now & a few of 
that species have even tried wintering in N.Y. City in recent years.

The 1st American Coot has appeared at the Central Park reservoir, & to think, 
there most likely won’t be a NY Times article on that, nor any television 
coverage. A shame, as the lowly coot is in fact a lovely bird. (An escaped or 
released Mandarin Duck continues to get a lot of attention at Central Park’s 
Pond, while it’s been showing off next or near Wood Ducks & other 'fowls there. 
It is also not the first time that exotic species has occurred in Central Park 
- and outside of the zoo’s grounds, with previous finds of this same exotic 
there able to fly, at least modest distances.)

A reminder: some areas, especially in the southern third of Central Park, may 
be temporarily off-limits or more difficult of access, as prep. for the big NYC 
marathon is ongoing - this Sunday, 11/4 is the day of that hugely-attended 
event, the finish-line & some of the final miles being in that park, when most 
of the park will be even more busy than usual.

-  -  -
ALL of the boreal/irruptive passerines have by now been reported from NY state 
(as well as from other northern areas) & in addition, there are many recent 
sightings & reports of owls and so forth starting to arrive in the region. 
Please keep in mind that all of these birds, and in particular owls, need their 
own space in order to rest, and to be able to feed properly & normally; keep a 
distance and give the birds a break for their own good, thanks. 

- - -
The occasional legal reminder that playing of any amplified sounds whatsoever 
in Central Park of N.Y. City, without express permission (that’s a permit from 
the City of New York) is a violation of the law & this applies throughout all 
of the park and at all times, & year-round. (Signage regarding this is well 
posted within this park.)

good birding on into November,

Tom Fiore


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