Manhattan, N.Y. City - Sunday to Friday, 16 thru 21 June, 2019

The least-expected creature I saw at Bryant Park Thursday, around mid-day, with 
some breaks of sun & the sight of a patch of blue sky, was (an adult male) 
BAR-WINGED SKIMMER - no, that’s not some exotic 'long-winged Larid' from 
another land, it’s a fairly large odonate -a dragonfly in the genus Libellula- 
the species name is L. axilena, & it is a mostly-southern & mid-Atlantic 
lower-elevations bug, which however has made some appearances into the northern 
parts of its known range this spring, & possibly beyond to points farther 
north. It certainly is my first-record of the species for Bryant Park or in 
mid-town Manhattan. We do have records of Bar-winged Skimmer for Manhattan from 
Central Park, that thanks to Nicholas Wagerik’s fine efforts some years ago 
there as well as from other observers. The species is also being found in 
places scattered in the (mainly but not exclusively coastal plains) north & 
east of N.Y. City, once spring finally was sprung.

An update to add that the female Mourning Warbler at Bryant Park in midtown 
Manhattan will now officially be a summer occurence, as it’s remained there to 
Friday, 21 June. It is also joined by the species noted below for Thursday, 
6/20. This is an unusual lingerer for this county and I’m not sure if there are 
any precedents here for that species at the start of summer. I did not spend 
extensive time in the park for Friday early a.m.  It is best to get a close 
look at the warblers on the ground here if wanting to view the drab-ish female 
Mourning, so as not to mistake one of the 2 Common Yellowthroats there for it.

At Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan (located between Fifth Ave. & Sixth Ave., & 
42nd to 40th Streets), a female Mourning Warbler has lingered thru the very 
last full day of spring. There are also at least 2 female Common Yellowthroats 
lingering in this park, and at times, either of these may be confused for the 
shyer female Mourning.  Also still in Bryant Park (thru Thursday 6/20) were 
Gray Catbirds, E. Towhee, Song & Swamp Sparrow, & White-throated Sparrows (at 
least 5 in all of the park, including the Fifth Ave. library-side).  I’ll add 
that at least 2 hours were spent in the park, finding the preceding species, & 
as for all, but esp. the female Mourning, one may seek it esp. at the far n.-w. 
corner (42nd St. side, off Sixth) or in the southwest quadrant, where it can 
often be rather hidden at times, including under various dense flower & shrub 

In Central Park on Sunday (6/16), 7 warbler species were still present - 
Blackpoll (at least 2 females), N. Parula (at least 2 males), Black-and-white 
(female), Ovenbird, American Redstart (at least 3 females), Yellow Warbler 
(male), & Common Yellowthroat (at least 3 males, & 1 apparent female).  Some of 
these warblers, including Blackpoll and Black-and-white, were in the north end 
of that park.  

(As a side-note on late-running or lingering warblers, there’ve been a number 
of species detected in N.Y. City that were a lot ‘later’ than expected; one 
example might be a male Black-throated Blue found by A. & K. Mirth at the 
ecology-village section of Floyd Bennett Field in Kings County (Brooklyn, N.Y. 
City) on 6/15. In contrast, & also in coastal N.Y. City, the American 
Redstart[s] seen (now annual) at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, in the 
woodland areas, may well be breeding birds, as the latter species is very 
likely breeding in most -if not all- of the 5 counties of N.Y. City; at the 
least, it is regular in multiple locations in early summer in that city. It 
also is of course among the species which may begin to return south by early 

A Marsh Wren has been seen singing (at least to Wed. 6/19) in northern 
Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park area; there is a slight possibility of breeding 
(although this could be just a single bird for the area). Perhaps a bit less 
likely as a breeder for Manhattan, there also had been Scarlet Tanager (male) 
in the old-growth woods at Inwood Hill Park, and this species ought be watched 
for signs of possible breeding in N.Y. City. It is a regular & has been for 
years in the west Bronx (county) location of Van Cortlandt Park, in extensive 
old-growth woods there, in summer months: this refers mostly to singing males 
observed, however a few of us have seen females as well as, in the past decade, 
young birds in mid-summer.  This also applies to Rose-breasted Grosbeak, which 
may be more likely as a potential Manhattan nesting species, if a very scarce 
one - the species nests annually in the west-Bronx woods, N.Y. City, just a few 
miles away from Manhattan.

As noted multiple times to this list, White-throated Sparrow (a common 
wintering & migrant species in Manhattan), is also an uncommon summering 
species there, & has been seen thru June in multiple locations this year, 
including in the southern end & also northern end of Manhattan and in some of 
the larger & smaller parks in-between, including in Central Park. There is no 
evidence of any breeding. In some Manhattan places, multiple White-throateds 
are in very small groups thru the summer.  

Other species being seen this week in Manhattan include Wood Duck (at Central 
Park, & far less-regular also at Inwood Hill Park on Friday), Double-crested 
Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret (mainly as fly-overs, 
often from the n. end of Central Park, & seen with the preceding species also, 
late Thurs. eve. as flyovers moving east across the Hudson river, departing the 
New Jersey meadowlands for points east, as they do daily in late spring & 
summer; many of the early-morning fly-overs will be heading west, in contrast, 
but also in either an east or west flight-path), Green Heron (nests), 
Black-crowned Night-Heron (late evenings & very early mornings, with 
flight-paths as for the 2 egret spp.), Canada Goose (nests), Gadwall (nested in 
N.Y. County, downy young observeed), American Black Duck (scarce now), Mallard 
(nests), Osprey (more regularly in recent years into summer), Bald Eagle 
(fly-over sightings from far n. end of Manhattan), Red-tailed Hawk (nests, & 
many nest-attempts), American Kestrel (nests), Peregrine Falcon (nests), 
Killdeer (nests in N.Y. County), Laughing Gull (uncommon now, but some from 
lower Manhattan), Ring-billed Gull (very scarce now, but a few, mainly 
tattered-looking individuals not breeding), [American] Herring Gull (nests on 
Manhattan), Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern (nests in N.Y. County - 
Governors Island), Black Skimmer (at least a few skimming past Hudson River 
from mid & lower Manhattan), ['feral'] Rock Pigeon (nests), Mourning Dove 
(nests), E. Screech-owl (scarce natural nester), Chimney Swift (presumed still 
nesting sparsely, compared with decades ago), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (status 
of nesting uncertain-2019, but has nested), Red-bellied Woodpecker (nests), 
Downy Woodpecker (nests), Hairy Woodpecker (nests, sparsely), Yellow-shafted 
Flicker (nests), Eastern Wood-Pewee (nests), Eastern Phoebe (now-rare nester), 
Great Crested Flycatcher (nests), Eastern Kingbird (nests), Warbling Vireo 
(nests), Red-eyed Vireo (nesting, less-common in Manhattan than preceding 
species as a breeder), Blue Jay (nests), American Crow (nests), Fish Crow 
(nests), Tree Swallow (nests), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (relatively scant 
nester), Barn Swallow (nests), Black-capped Chickadee (nests), Tufted Titmouse 
(nests), White-breasted Nuthatch (nests), Carolina Wren (nests), House Wren 
(nests), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (scarce & intermittent nester), Wood Thrush 
(nests but with nest-failures regular as well at some locations), American 
Robin (nests), Gray Catbird (nests), Northern Mockingbird (nests), Brown 
Thrasher (scarce & shy nester), European Starling (nests), Cedar Waxwing 
(nests, but also can be quite late to migrate on in spring), Yellow Warbler 
(has nested), Common Yellowthroat (has nested), Scarlet Tanager (worth watching 
for poss. evidence of any breeding attempts), Eastern Towhee (very scarce as a 
nesting species), Chipping Sparrow (nests), Song Sparrow (nests), Swamp Sparrow 
(scarce in summer and most likely just summering), Northern Cardinal (nests), 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (should be watched for potential nesting in larger 
older-growth wooded area), Red-winged Blackbird (nests), Common Grackle 
(nests), Orchard Oriole (scarce nester), Baltimore Oriole (nests), House Finch 
(nests), American Goldfinch (may be watched for nesting, but also is a 
notoriously-late-season nester and can be moving about into summer), House 
Sparrow (nests & can be a pest-species to native birds’ nesting attempts).

Many butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and multitudinous other insects and 
arthropods have been out flying, crawling and creeping as spring drew to a 
close. Many summer flowers have already been in bloom with more coming along, a 
good many of these providing nectar & pollen for some of the insects, as well 
as cover and other forms of feeding & various deep co-dependencies and 

"Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding 
that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The 
birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be 
celebrated.” - Terry Tempest Williams (contemporary activist, and author of 
many books)

Happy Summer Solstice; good birding,

Tom Fiore


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