A few readers have requested any photos of the Wood Thrush which spent much of 
the winter just ended around the southeast parts of Central Park - an unusual, 
unexpected but not wholly unprecedented winter visitor in N.Y. City, & also not 
new to Central Park in winter, although very rarely-documnted then - the 
species mainly evacuates N. America in winter to spend those months in Central 
America, as well as in parts of Mexico. Anyhow, some photos that are rather 
prettier than others esp. my own for this individual, were taken by M. Wulfe, 
back on Feb. 20, but that was neither the first month of that bird’s sightings 
in the same winter, nor the last; it may well have been present in the general 
area of Manhattan all thru the fall, and then lingered on. Here is a link, 
including some nice photos - https://ebird.org/checklist/S64794633 

Preface - New York state has 62 counties, & New York County is one of those.

New York County, including Manhattan (N.Y. City) - First full day of spring was 
Friday, 3/20…. and the week up to then -

A fair amount of migration, albeit much of it spotty and also a goodly amount 
bypassing the county this report covers! Still, in the week, & especially on 
the night that spring arrived by the calendar AND with very warm weather for 
the first full day of, that’s Thursday night and Friday, 3/20 - there was some 
reasonable migration, more so as the fog lifted a little, and more could be 
discerned, locally.  There had been modest movement on days earlier in the 
week, and some of that included modest departure of migrants & at least a few 
local winterers, from the county which includes Manhattan, N.Y. City. (Such 
species as for example, Snow Geese had smallish but notable movement, by 
Thursday if not also prior, & Song Sparrow among typically early-moving 
passerine migrants that had begun to swell hereabouts in early March & onward, 
now reduced (until a further batch, which are imminent). A rather little-noted 
migrant, Mourning Dove were moving a bit this past week in the area.  
Red-winged Blackbirds & Common Grackles moved past in fair numbers but most of 
those went thru in very early hours, &/or far out to the west of most of 
Manhattan, not that many dropping in to linger as spring visitors (some 
breeders showing on territories, though!)

Also, species that moved past, but (apparently) were not reported in N.Y. 
County this past week included some rails, especially Virginia Rail, and 
Wilson’s Snipe - each can be found in reports now going north well into if not 
beyond central New England & some of N.Y. state.  

Highlights of the week include a number of birds & species that were already 
here, some overwintered, some wintered not far away, and a few that likely 
arrived from somewhat farther south. 

Altogether these include - RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (*W), Wood Duck (*W), Common 
Goldeneye (*W), Greater Scaup (*W), Pied-billed Grebe (*W), Horned Grebe, Great 
Egret, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (*W), Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Laughing 
Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Osprey, E. Phoebe (*LW), Common Raven (*W), 
Tree Swallow (*LW), Golden-crowned Kinglet (*W), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (*W), 
Brown Creeper (*W), Winter Wren (*W), E. Bluebird, Hermit Thrush (*W), Brown 
Thrasher (*W), Gray Catbird (*W), Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow (*W), [Red] 
Fox Sparrow (*W), Rusty Blackbird (*LW), Pine Warbler (*LW), and Yellow-rumped 
[Myrtle] Warbler (*W).  - All those with a (*W) by the name are species that 
had at least one, or more individuals overwinter successfully, in N.Y. County 
somewhere. Other species with a (*LW) by their name include those which 
wintered IN New York City, somewhere. In addition, many of the species that 
wintered in N.Y. County also wintered in other counties of N.Y. City, and for 
some, the species may have been (and/or often is) a common winterer in the 
city, not necessarily in N.Y. County- which can appear depauperate in 
wintering-bird diversity, relative to other, more habitat-rich areas of the 
same city.  The above list is hardly comprehensive for these species that 
overwintered near or in N.Y. County in the season just past, but it can show 
that at least somewhat higher no’s. in certain species was evident for the 
season.  That would be expanded on, were one to look up regional records for 
some of these, and that some at least may have wintered in numbers in the 
region, and possibly some in near-record numbers, in a fairly overall-mild 
winter. Perhaps the best ‘new’ example could be Chipping Sparrow, for which by 
now, there are a lot of regional records in winter, but never in prior years so 
many in so many locations in the region, taking a whole winter on, and it seems 
from some reports, also surviving rather well. At least a half-dozen Chipping 
Sparrows, likely a few more than that, seem to have made it thru the entire 
past winter in N.Y. County, to either move on quite recently, or (a few) to 
linger and perhaps attempt breeding very locally as the scarce county-breeder 
they have been. ('Nothing much' when a couple of Painted Buntings also may have 
made it thru a winter in N.Y.’s southeast region, but still.)

More, with some attendant notes, from the past week in New York County (since 
Saturday, 3/14):

Snow Goose (modest no’s. were on the move)
Canada Goose (ongoing, but reduced no’s. now)
[Atlantic] Brant (very good no’s., an uptick in both numbers county-wide, and 
in sightings from many obs. & locations)
Mute Swan (1 or two reports but not generally noted by most obs. this week, 
including by me)
Wood Duck (minimum of 4 - 2 f., 2 m., have been present since at least last 
weekend, at least 4 on The Lake. Thanks to R.Zucker for 1st reports on this.)
Gadwall (good no’s. / in multiple locations)
American Wigeon (1 report for Central Park, worth some follow-up, poss. at the 
C.P. reservoir; usually rather scarce in Central, uncommon for the county)
American Black Duck (good no’s. / in multiple locations)
Mallard (common)
Northern Shoveler (high numbers remain, all winter, esp. on waterbodies in 
Central Park, totals of up to 300+ for the county)
Green-winged Teal (one report but a bit inconclusive- this WAS an uncommon but 
regular species in Manhattan, this winter)
Greater Scaup (few lingering, & some of those either females or non-breeding 
&/or younger males)
Bufflehead (still fairly common overall, but reduced from prior weeks)
Common Goldeneye (one female in very close at n. kill/creek along Randall’s 
island n.-n.w. shore, thanks to ‘Gloria-NYC' for an eBird report, still present 
& EASILY SEEN, 3/20; also up to 6 continued far off eastern side of Randall’s 
Island; scope helpful there; also some far-out in NY Harbor waters, on prior 
Hooded Merganser (at least several remained in Central Park)
Red-breasted Merganser (good no’s. / in multiple locations; virtually all are 
to be found on the waters surrounding the county, the rivers, harbor, etc.)
Ruddy Duck (small no’s. on the E. River, and modest no’s. lingering at Central 
Park’s waterbodies, a bit reduced, or just ‘mobile' in past week or so)
Red-throated Loon (not too uncommon now, on county waters - almost always found 
in scanning the waters surrounding the county - rivers, harbor, etc.)
Common Loon (uncommon so far, more are expected at any time - coming ‘soon')
Pied-billed Grebe (1 continued from all-winter-long, at Central Park’s 
Horned Grebe (non-br.-plumage, Tues., 3/17, off n. side Clinton Cove Park, near 
W. 55 St. at the Hudson River, w.of Manhattan)
Great Cormorant (multiple, in various locations, incl. East River, just e. of 
Double-crested Cormorant (multiple, but not all that many - yet)
Great Blue Heron (22 fly-bys in one hour, Thursday, 3/19, & a few more noted in 
foggy conditions in a.m., Friday 3/20 - all headed N. or N.-E.)
Great Egret (2 fly-bys at Randall’s Island, Friday 3/20, p.m., headed west 
towards upper Manhattan, approx. near East 108th Street & onward)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (at least 1, adult in Central Park, 3/20)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (just one, that overwintered successfully, Randall’s 
Island - and ongoing)
Black Vulture (multiple, ongoing sightings from mainly n. section of Manhattan, 
often seen to the west & often with or near T.Vultures)
Turkey Vulture (multiple, but fewer passing than in preceding week)
Osprey (few, not noted on Friday despite strong SW flow in the area)
Bald Eagle (few, including some from lower-mid Manhattan waterfront, also from 
Central Park, & n. Manhattan, & from Randall’s Island)
Cooper's Hawk (ongoing, some may be local-breeders and also poss. non-breeding 
juv’s. etc.)
Red-shouldered Hawk (at least several fly-overs only in several locations 
including Inwood Hill Park)
Red-tailed Hawk (common & widespread, city resident & breeder, both on some 
bldgs. and in trees)
American Coot (few in N.Y. County waters, most readily seen in Central Park, if 
rather scarce)
Killdeer (few lingering at Randall’s Island thru Fri., 3/20)
American Woodcock (few, seen earlier in the week - may be more to pass thru in 
coming weeks)
Laughing Gull (one, N.Y. Harbor, full breeding-plumage, Thursday a.m., 3/19 - 
from The Battery)
Ring-billed Gull (common & widespread)
[American] Herring Gull (common & widespread)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (non-breeding plumaged, 2nd-cycle in molt, Tuesday, 
3/17, Central Park reservoir dike, s. side; not re-found)
Great Black-backed Gull (fairly common, & widespread)
['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove (rather widespread, more so this week)
American Kestrel (multiple, some seen in or from Central Park, but regular all 
around N.Y. City, often on various bldgs.)
Merlin (several sightings this week, including in & over Central Park)
Peregrine Falcon (multiple - a regular city-resident & nesting species)
Monk Parakeet (1 ongoing, n. Manhattan)
Great Horned Owl (at least one in county)
Eastern Screech-Owl (resident on Manhattan island)
Belted Kingfisher (multiple in several locations, from Central Park to 
Randall’s Island, also a few elsewhere this week)

Red-headed Woodpecker (as noted at top - ongoing in the same place the one has 
been all winter-long, at the east side of the Central Park West Drive (road), & 
west of the N. Meadow ballfield’s s./w. section, often heard as well as seen - 
this bird coming nicely into breeding-color with much of the red ‘hood’ now 
visible, not quite full spring/adult colors, but closing on it! - the area is 
nearest from the park entrance at W. 97th Street & Central Park West. This bird 
could potentially stay another month or more, or it may depart sooner…)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (regular, not uncommon)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (modest increase, but also possibly some moved on; 
there’ll be more to come thru!)
Downy Woodpecker (fairly common)
Hairy Woodpecker (a few in some parks including Central Park, rather scarce)
Yellow-shafted Flicker (modest no’s. so far, a few more or less than the week 
Eastern Phoebe (max. of about a dozen thru the county, with more having 
departed, but also new arrivals as of Fri., 3/20)
Blue Jay (rather common, and some movement)
Common Raven (scant reports, but some have continued all winter, various 
locations, including semi-regular moving over Central Park)
American Crow (fairly common in past week, including some movements)
Fish Crow (small no’s. continue in several locations, & could be breeding)
Tree Swallow (modest no’s. moving on - esp. - Thursday, 3/19)
Black-capped Chickadee (rather scant this whole winter, a few moved thru - & 
still a very few here & there in Manhattan)
Tufted Titmouse (regular resident as well as variable short-distance migrant)
White-breasted Nuthatch (not that many)
Brown Creeper (numbers jumped a bit & then slowed again in past 2 weeks)
Carolina Wren (uncommon but regular, no’s. made it thru the winter)
Winter Wren (at least 2, in 2 parks, made it thru all winter-long - Inwood 
Hill, & Central Park)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (modest increase by Friday, 3/20; a few likely also 
overwintered in the county)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (modest no’s. and almost certain that all these had 
wintered locally or not very far away; main migration yet to come)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (one, male, Central Park, north woods, north of the 
Blockhouse, Friday, 3/20 - still quite early; a very few of this species were 
noted in past week in N.Y. City or nearby)
Eastern Bluebird (one male, Randall’s Island, Friday, 3/20 - near the ‘farm’)
Hermit Thrush (few, & ALL so far are likely still overwintered individuals, the 
main migration yet to come)
American Robin (good increases, ~ 500+ in Manhattan on Wed., 3/18, & increasing 
in most areas now)
Gray Catbird (relatively few, those here are ALL local winterers - a regular if 
uncommon winterer in N.Y. City; main migration weeks out still)
Northern Mockingbird (fair no’s., increasingly very vocal lately)
Brown Thrasher (small no’s. with a few being seen by many - these are all 
overwintered individuals, main migration yet to come; this is a regular if 
often secretive wintering species in N.Y.C.)
European Starling (ubiquitous…)
Cedar Waxwing (very scarce all winter here, a few seen in multiple locations 
this week)
Eastern Towhee (modest no’s. with what may have been a few early-movers 
appearing, in addition to some that overwintered in multiple parks and 
Chipping Sparrow (small no’s. with main migration yet to come)
Field Sparrow (few, more will likely pass thru soon)
[Red] Fox Sparrow (small no’s, with some possible departure & also some very 
modest arrival, a regular if sparse overwinterer)
Song Sparrow (many but also even more which already passed thru; more may show 
up soon)
Swamp Sparrow (small no’s. of which likely all overwintered, at least locally, 
various locations)
White-throated Sparrow (among the most-common wintering native passerine birds 
of Manhattan; many still around & more to come thru soon)
Slate-colored Junco (fair no’s. came in, & also some departed; more are likely 
soon; a smallish no. had overwintered)
Northern Cardinal (common resident-breeder)
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (few, & these likely overwintered nearby)
Pine Warbler (multiple, perhaps 10+ in Manhattan mid-week, & also some new 
arrival as of Friday, 3/20, multiple locations, one female by 3/20)
Red-winged Blackbird (common and many on passage in past week as well as prior 
Rusty Blackbird (from last weekend, not reported since?)
Common Grackle (common and many on passage, thru past month)
Brown-headed Cowbird (small no’s. in various locations, still more to come!)
House Finch (fair no’s with a few locations having very good no’s.)
American Goldfinch (modest no’s. most easily seen still at feeders)
House Sparrow (ubiquitous)
Notes, I covered about 110 miles on a pedal-pusher bicycle this week in N.Y. 
County, including visits to the south & north tips of Manhattan island, along 
both East & Hudson Rivers, 2 visits to Randall’s Island, and at least 14 parks 
esp. Central, Inwood Hill, and less time in Fort Tryon as well as Riverside 
Parks & others. Thanks to many dozens of keen observers who spotted and 
reported sightings in all corners of the county this week - many who also 
covered lots of ground, and watched skies and waters. My own birding was all 
solo this week, but when I did encounter others, birders and other friends or 
fellow New Yorkers, a distance of about 2 meters was mostly maintained, out of 
consideration to the good health of all of us, particularly those with any 
prior health issues & the very young and older fellow-humans. We are all in 
this situation together, as ever, & more so in a large/dense urban area. (and a 
huge thank you to all healthcare providers and all who give of their 
time-energy for the public good!) Let’s all be kind to each other and do all we 
can to help.

Safe and respectfully-spaced “spatial-distancing” (birding - &) in everything,

Tom Fiore,


NYSbirds-L List Info:

1) http://www.mail-archive.com/nysbirds-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html
2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L
3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01

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