A strong push of early migration occured over the region Thursday night to early Friday. The full list of birds seen by multiple observers, spread all around the county (including Manhattan & also outlying isles & waters) for Friday 3/27 was more than 100 species - and that is a lot for this early in spring, just in this one county, -New York County. We will see if March can finish out on such a strong bird-note.
Tremendous numbers of (in particular) Song Sparrows were noted, with up to 1,000+ for all of the county (which is likely very conservative; possible that many were in Central Park alone - at times, many observers found it possible to view 30, 40, 50, even up to 100 in a single discrete area, for example); also very numerous were Slate-colored Junco, a tremendous influx as well. Other species which increased their numbers on Friday included Yellow-shafted Flicker, E. Phoebe, Winter Wren (albeit modestly), Golden-crowned Kinglet (in excellent numbers), American Robin, & [Red] Fox Sparrow (the latter easily tripling or more in number just overnight), with other species also increasing a bit. One of the more-anticipated arrivals here was a single LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, found early Friday by Ken Chaya of Manhattan at the n. end of Central Park, a location where the 1st-of-spring for this species has been almost a norm; multiple others were able to come in & see this bird throughout the entire day. Some other species were also likely first-of-spring in the county, including Glossy Ibis, Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, N. Rough-winged Swallow (& likely Barn Swallow), & perhaps a few additional species. Among species that increased at least a bit included (with some as fly-overs): Wood Duck, Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, other migrating raptors including Red-shouldered Hawk & Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Fish Crow, Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet (very modestly), Hermit Thrush (very modestly), Eastern Towhee (modestly), Chipping Sparrow (modestly), Field Sparrow (modestly), Swamp Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. The long-lingering RED-HEADED Woodpecker continues at its typical location in Central Park, now showing off a bright red ‘hood’; it’s typically seen just east of the West Drive (park roadway) nearest the park entrance at W. 97 Street and Central Park West, and this is also just west of the s.-w. part of the North Meadow ballfields area. This bird has been present for over 5 months. A Yelllow-crowned Night-Heron was ongoing at Randall’s Island (N.Y. County) where the one individual had overwintered, an unusual occurrence for the species. N.B., at least 2 of this species were noted as returnees for a known breeding site in Queens County (N.Y. City) as of 3/27, that noted by L. Scheppke in an annotated eBird report. A male Purple Finch was visiting feeders in the Central Park Ramble on Thursday 3/26, with multiple observers; then Friday brought a number more - many as fly-throughs, although the cacophony of bird-song & calls may have somewhat drowned the occasional Purple Finch songs or calls from within some wooded parts of some parks on Friday morning. American Goldfinch also were a bit more widespread generally as of Friday. Icterid movement was notable, in part for multiple Rusty Blackbirds moving through, some perhaps stopping in, many not - and somewhat the same for far larger no’s. of Red-winged Blackbirds, for which some flocks also had no’s. of females; no’s. of Common Grackle did not appear too much greater than in recent days prior to Friday. I tried, without any luck, to see if any of the gannets being observed from the westernmost parts of L.I. Sound (including from the east Bronx, N.Y. City) could be seen/scoped from around Randall’s Island’s eastern end, but for me, at least it was not to be. Some of that flight has been mentioned to this list in recent days. It’s worth a note that American Bittern is expected to be on the move, indeed some have been in the past week, with sightings from around N.Y. state in recent reports. Also moving, & reported from some locations around the state have been Sora, Virgina Rail, & even Common Gallinule. Watching for migrating Cranes (almost certain to be Sandhills!!) could be worthwhile from some view-points, those have also been on the move lately. Among sightings, via 60+ observers in N.Y. County, including my own beginning 6:20 a.m. thru dusk on Friday, 3/27 (as far as I’m aware, all carried out with spatial-distanced observing practiced well, & from many dozens of locations - thanks to all, & a special note of thanks to those birding in mid & lower manhattan areas, sharing their sightings): Snow Goose (2 moving north, off Randall’s Island, mid-day) Canada Goose (multiple, including flocks on the move; some ‘smaller’ individuals also noted but inconclusive for any smaller species) [Atlantic] Brant (multiple, from many locations around Manhattan waters & vicinity etc.) Mute Swan (E. River) Wood Duck (minimum of 30 in & over Central Park alone, with sightings from 6:30 - 8:30 am including 4 on Lake, 8 drakes on reservoir, 7 at the Loch, and more than 1 dozen in flight headed NNW from the north end of the park) Gadwall (fair no’s. continue) American Black Duck (modest no’s.) Mallard (common and widespread) Northern Shoveler (many / ongoing at Central Park) Northern Pintail (1 report from Inwood Hill Park area) Green-winged Teal (pair at Randall’s Island Little Hell Gate) Greater Scaup (small no’s. moving north, in line with East River but farther east) Scaup species (at least a few of undetermined species, distant, on the fly) Bufflehead (modest no’s., many locations) Common Goldeneye (at least 1 continuing, off Randall’s Island) Hooded Merganser (several continuing at Randall’s Island & in Central Park) Red-breasted Merganser (modest no’s. with perhaps at least a few on the move) Ruddy Duck (East River well north of E. 96 St. and also some continued at Central Park) Red-throated Loon (small no’s. continuing in Manhattan waters, multiple locations & obs.) Common Loon (very scant flight, plus some appearing here & there in Manhattan waters) Pied-billed Grebe (one remained in Central Park’s reservoir, 3/27) Horned Grebe (few noted, off Randall’s Island, 3/27) Great Cormorant (multiple) Double-crested Cormorant (good movement as expected; also some lingering in many loc.) Great Blue Heron (good movement esp. in early a.m., some sightings of 10-12+ birds at once; also some lingering individuals) Great Egret (Friday brought the first-of-spring for Central Park & also elsewhere in the county, including some additional fly-overs) Black-crowned Night-Heron (still rather scant, a few here & there in known sites) Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (still just the 1 at Randall’s Island which is an overwintered bird) Glossy Ibis (2, moving from east to west, past Manhattan at E. 111 Street, a.m. - this species has only just been arriving in N.Y. City) Black Vulture (few sightings, but have been semi-regular in / from locations in northern Manhattan; 1 over n. Queens Co., seen from Randall’s Island) Turkey Vulture (multiple, in low double-digit no’s. in total for 3/27) Osprey (multiple, total more than ten) Bald Eagle (multiple sightings, some certainly moving north) Northern Harrier (several fly-overs, from east of Manhattan) Sharp-shinned Hawk (small no’s. in reports, also a few moving past at Randall’s Island) Cooper's Hawk (multiple, but not many; a few may still be lingering which overwintered) Red-shouldered Hawk (excellent spring movement; these may have been birds which came up the N.J. shore; 14 counted from Randall’s Island & more also seen elsewhere in the area) Red-tailed Hawk (multiple, with some apparent movement north as well - plus all of the many city-resident birds attending nests &/or remaining in Manhattan) American Coot (few still lingering in Central Park, 1 at Hudson River later in day) Killdeer (multiple, some on the fly, Randall’s Island, also seen elsewhere 3/27) Greater Yellowlegs (2, calling birds, Randall’s Island, 2 locations) Lesser Yellowlegs (3, calling birds, seen in comparison to above, Randall’s Island, 3/27) Spotted Sandpiper (east edge of Central Park reservoir shore-rocks, mid-a.m., 3/27; a bit early - at least a few of this species may have wintered in the region) American Woodcock (multiple locations in Manhattan, including some in Central Park) Laughing Gull (2, off Randall’s Island, mid-day, moving east-ish) Ring-billed Gull (common, widespread) [American] Herring Gull (common, widespread) Great Black-backed Gull (many, widespread) ['feral'] Rock Pigeon (abundant - all thru N.Y. City) Mourning Dove (rather common) American Kestrel (several, all may be local residents) Peregrine Falcon (regular resident & nesting birds of N.Y. City / N.Y. County-Manhattan) Great Horned Owl (continuing) Eastern Screech-Owl (resident in Manhattan) Belted Kingfisher (small no’s. noted, several locations incl. Central Park, & Randall’s Island + other sites) Red-headed Woodpecker (one remains in the same location where present for over 5 months now, near W. 97 Street inside Central Park; showing it’s spring plumage well lately) Red-bellied Woodpecker (common resident) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (increased somewhat, still not the big spring push) Downy Woodpecker (fairly common resident) Hairy Woodpecker (scant resident & possible visitors still in some locations) Yellow-shafted Flicker (multiple, including modest-expected diurnal movement, esp. in a.m. hours) Eastern Phoebe (multiple, with a modest diurnal movement also observed: 20+++) Blue Jay (fair numbers continuing in many locations; perhaps a bit of movement also) Common Raven (multiple sightings; some may be setting up nests) American Crow (many sightings) Fish Crow (multiple, some clearly in migration, on the move) Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2, moving past Randall’s Island, north up East River) Tree Swallow (multiple, moving past via East River; & also late in day past Hudson River locations) Swallow sp. - likely Barn (distant swallow moving north past Randall’s Island, almost certainly Barn) Black-capped Chickadee (scarce all this month, a few have continued in at least a few locations) Tufted Titmouse (a few appearing to be on diurnal movement; otherwise continuing - and rather few) White-breasted Nuthatch (modest no’s.) Brown Creeper (increased overnight to 3/27) Carolina Wren (modest no’s. continue) Winter Wren (slight increase overnight) Golden-crowned Kinglet (strong, obvious increase overnight) Ruby-crowned Kinglet (very minimal increase; at least a few had overwintered; more wintered in region) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (one, The Point/Ramble, 6:30 a.m., Central Park; & not the first of year but still a bit early) Hermit Thrush (relatively small arrival, with some also having successfully wintered as is typical of this species in NYC) American Robin (many hundreds on the move - likely more; some were exiting and moving on from Central Park north; more also later) Gray Catbird (a few, all of which are locally-wintered, exactly none have arrived from neotropical wintering areas - yet) Northern Mockingbird (fair no’s. / in many locations) Brown Thrasher (still scant no’s, & likely most if not all had wintered locally, but some regional movement also possible) European Starling (common) Cedar Waxwing (5, Ramble, Central Park, 6:45 a.m. 3/27) Eastern Towhee (very modest increase, & some had overwintered as well) Chipping Sparrow (very modest increase, some of these had overwintered) Field Sparrow (modest increase) [Red] Fox Sparrow (very good increase for Friday; many have been singing) Song Sparrow (uncommonly huge increase just overnight, easily 1,000+++ in the county on Friday) Swamp Sparrow (modest increase) White-throated Sparrow (numerous, as had been all winter in the county; possibly some increases) Slate-colored Junco (very numerous, many many hundreds around Manhattan on Friday) Northern Cardinal (common, resident) Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (very few, still well ahead of main expected arrival; a few that have pushed in are as likely part of regional-winterers) Pine Warbler (modest no’s., but possibly a small increase for Friday) Louisiana Waterthrush (1, multiple observers, Central Park north end, 1st found there by Linnean Society of New York current president Ken Chaya.) Red-winged Blackbird (at least 100’s on the move, some females in the mix; a fair number stopping off at least briefly in Central & Riverside Parks - esp. in Sweet Gum/Liquidamber trees) Rusty Blackbird (small no’s. on the move, a few flocks plus at least a few either continuing or added to foraging in Central Park, additional observ. from elsewhere; highest no’s. of year so far) Common Grackle (relatively modest no’s. detected; some are on potential territories now) Brown-headed Cowbird (modest movement as well as a small no. that have been lingering) Purple Finch (at least small no’s. detected - N.B., this locally-seen movemebt is surely a part of a very widespread recent ‘eastward' trend of this species as seasonal movements take place) House Finch (widespread, poss. some rather local movements as well) American Goldfinch (increased, no’s. fairly typical for time of year) House Sparrow (near ubiquitous in most of N.Y. City) Friday’s milder afternoon weather again saw various insects become active; among these were representatives of a number of different orders. Several sightings of Eastern Red Bat also came in, a species that has been observed on milder days through parts of winter as well. We’ve also had some recent groundhog sightings in Manhattan, in a location where at least semi-regular. --- Personal note: a reference to 'Arctostaphylos moorland' on Long Island put me in mind of our dear departed Rich Kelly, longtime Long Island, NY birder-botanist/naturalist; he’d smile down at us for having that native plant & habitat referred to in any bird-report, I suspect! Favorite oops-note; a “green catbird” was placed into a report for a location in NY state. (That species IS found in Australasia. Sharing part of a common English name, it and the other ‘catbird’ species of that region of the world are completely unrelated to the 2 Catbird species of the ‘new world’, our migratory Gray Catbird, and the sedentary Black Catbird of the Mexican Yucatan region. Australasian ‘Catbirds’ - there are several species - are related to their bowerbirds.) Good spring birding under trying times - maintain good safety, as it seems most birders have been. And Thank You again to all of our 1st-responders and to health-care workers everywhere, indeed: to all who are doing their best. Tom Fiore manhattan -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --