An interesting assemblage of birds, many of the more-unexpected for the late 
date[s] being normally neotropical-wintering species; with also a good showing 
by very-much expected species, including recent arrivals & lingerers which have 
been typical for this time of year (end of November, start of December) in New 
York City, and in these instances, in Manhattan and its waters &/or on the 
outlying isles that are politically in the same N.Y. county, which is New York 
County (>the state of New York contains 62 different counties, New York City 
has five of those counties, also known in city-governance & common parlance as 
boroughs, & among those, one is New York County; Manhattan island is entirely a 
part of the latter county… confused? Don’t be, it’s just politics, history and 
all that.<)  Below is an incomplete listing of all sightings that are verified, 
with some notes on a few species sight-reported. (There are NO mega-rarities 
mentioned herein.)

A *photo-documented* VEERY in New York City & ANYWHERE in the United States in 
December is very rare!!! - almost all sight-reports from after mid-Nov. are of 
mis-identified Hermit Thrush. Bryant Park’s ‘rep’ maintains… (n.b., there is a 
documented Veery record, discovered by Paul Lehman & Jon Dunn, from 
early-January 1980 [yes, that long ago!] at Greenwich Point, Fairfield County, 
Connecticut; and there are a handful [only!] of photo-documented Dec. sightings 
from Quebec, Canada, at feeders, etc. as well as one NYS winter-period 
photo-record in eBird files.

Perhaps the first of ICELAND GULL have been seen, with a sighting of a 
(Kumlien’s-type) bird at the Battery (park) at Manhattan’s south end, on Dec. 
1st, by A. Auerbach; sighted also in successive days.  Gulls have been 
gathering lately in numbers in multiple areas in the city, some are easily 
scoped in places, including (with care & courtesy) at the Central Park 

The most-observed uncommon-wintering species in Manhattan of the past weeks has 
been a RED-HEADED Woodpecker, staying by its oak trees at the western side of 
the North Meadow ballfields in Central Park’s north end, a bit west (usually) 
of ballfield number two. Listen for it calling at times; it is an immature, 
first-fall bird with no >obvious< red anywhere yet, but watch also for that to 
change soon, thru the winter…  it is also likely some additional of that 
species are about, & further seeking may reveal them. More of them are present 
within New York City lately…!

Among unexpected-for-date species have been: Baltimore Oriole, Lincoln’s 
Sparrow, at least 8 American Warbler species the more unusual for date being 
Black-throated Blue, and Yellow Warbler[s]; others include Pine Warbler, & 
less-unusual in Manhattan for December, Common Yellowthroat and Ovenbird, these 
last two in the multiple, and a minimum of 3 (three) Orange-crowned Warblers, 
in 3 disparate locations, plus briefly-noted Nashville (which is not that 
unusual in December in this city) and several others which for now, will go as 
Parulidae (warbler) sp. and a few more that may or may not have been warblers… 
plus-!- Wood Thrush (at least 2, photos) & reports of Veery (multiple, all 
sightings of Veery after October in New York should be photo or video 
documented for accuracy), plus E. Bluebird (expected but still uncommon/rare in 
Manhattan in general, can be seen in numbers on good flight days and movement 
can go into Dec. in some years, or even on calendar-winter days) and the 
very-expected Hermit Thrush (numbers have been fairly good) which is the only 
expected Catharus-genus thrush which winters in any numbers every year in the 
region, esp. in New York City… also an Eastern Phoebe, & a few other reports of 
possibly-interesting landbirds.

Sightings for New York County, Nov. 29 to Dec. 5th, 2019:

Snow Goose (many fly-overs)
Canada Goose
[Atlantic] Brant (many)
Wood Duck (Central Park)
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler (250++,  Central Park)
Northern Pintail (female, Central Park)
Green-winged Teal (Central Park, 1 or more lingering)
Ring-necked Duck (2, Central Park, 12/2/p.m./reservoir)
Bufflehead (many)
Common Goldeneye (several, past HellGate on E. River)
Hooded Merganser (multiple, Central Park)
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck (many, Central Park)
Red-throated Loon (N.Y. harbor)
Common Loon (N.Y. harbor)
Pied-billed Grebe (Central Park reservoir)
Horned Grebe (N.Y. harbor)
Great Cormorant (N.Y. harbor)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black Vulture (seen from Inwood area)
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk (few, late-movers but annual for dates)
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot (multiple, Central Park)
American Woodcock (many lately)
Ring-billed Gull
[American] Herring Gull 
Iceland Gull (as noted at top, at The Battery)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (in N.Y. harbor)
Great Black-backed Gull
['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Monk Parakeet (loc. intentionally-undisclosed)
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Great Horned Owl
E. Screech-owl (resident)
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker (as noted at top)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker
Eastern Phoebe (thru 12/1)
Blue Jay
Common Raven (several)
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch (just 2 noted)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren (scarce)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (scarce)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (late! - 11/30 & 12/1, Randall’s Island)
Eastern Bluebird (a modest flight)
VEERY (1 photo-documented at Bryant Park, Manhattan, thru 12/5/2019; also 
reported from other local parks & needs confirmation thru clear photos)
Hermit Thrush (many, as is typical into early winter in NYC)
Wood Thrush (many photos, & from several locations)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher (few)
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (scarce so far)
Eastern Towhee (multiple)
Dark-eyed Junco (many)
Chipping Sparrow (multiple)
Field Sparrow (few)
Savannah Sparrow (multiple, 12/1, Randall’s Island) 
[Red] Fox Sparrow (multiple)
Song Sparrow (common)
Lincoln's Sparrow (photos)
Swamp Sparrow (multiple)
White-throated Sparrow (abundant)
White-crowned Sparrow (several)
Red-winged Blackbird (mod. no’s.)
Rusty Blackbird (multiple)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole (several)
Orange-crowned Warbler (multiple, including Central, Morningside, Swindler 
Cove, & some other parks)
Yellow Warbler (female plumaged, rather rare for Manhattan so late in year; 
Nov. 30th was last sighting)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (uncommon but not unprecedented for Dec. in New 
York City)
Pine Warbler (male, lingering at Fort Tryon Park)
Ovenbird (multiple, as is ‘typical’)
Common Yellowthroat (multiple)
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (to 12/1+, Randall’s Island) 
Nashville Warbler (reported from Central Park, not unprecedented thru Dec. in 
New York City; a past NYC [specimen] record exists from February; and, n.b.- a 
bird of his species was photo’d Dec.05, 2019, in Brooklyn/Kings County, New 
York City)
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow 

*where unannotated, birds were at least fairly common IN PROPER HABITAT, &/or 
in well-known sites, ie: Central Park’s bird-feeding sites, etc. & etc.*

-  -  -  -
"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 and ethical birding to all,

Tom Fiore


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