Even with the current situation [rightly] limiting longer-distance birding for 
many including myself, it seems fine to note the Crested Caracara that’s been 
confirmed as a fly-over sighting from Kingston (Ulster County), NY on April 4th 
- the report on that is in eBird.

A separate note of interest, one of 2 Cave Swallows were photographed at Cape 
May Point (New Jersey) on Monday, 4/6 & also there were probably more seen by 
experienced observers there on that same morning. (This is quite the rare 
sighting in spring in the larger region, even for a location like Cape May.)

It has been interesting to note reports, some also photo-documented, for 
certain neotropical-wintering migrants lately appearing in scattered fashion in 
the greater northeast; there appears to have been a ‘low-on-the-radar’ event 
(or events) bringing in mostly somewhat-expected species, in low diversity & 
fairly low (& scattered, but mostly coastal or near-coastal)  no’s. over recent 
days; some of these are species normally expected just a week or 2 later - but 
that is a big difference at this time of the early-spring season. 
…..
Manhattan & other N.Y. County locations (part of N.Y. City), Saturday-Tuesday, 
April 4 through 7, 2020 -

The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER of Central Park is still lingering, perhaps looking 
to make it a full half-year in residence at the east side of the park’s West 
Drive (roadway) and not much west of the s.-w. portion of the North Meadow 
ballfields; the closest park entry being at W. 97th St. off Central Park West. 
This bird is now in full, bright-spring plumage with a fully-red hood.  This 
bird’s been using the northern realm of it’s small territory and may be as far 
as 1 city block north (i.e. latitude of near W. 98th), also it may at times be 
very high up in smaller branches. A modest wait is usually enough to produce a 
sighting, with keen observing.

At the Central Park reservoir, a Horned Grebe & also Pied-billed Grebe 
continued at least to Sunday 4/5, along with various expected waterfowl, gulls, 
an American Coot or two, & Double-crested Cormorants. Out in the rivers & NY 
harbor, a diminution of Red-breasted Merganser and lack of some other duckage 
was evident; even Brant seemed a little reduced, although the latter perhaps 
just for local movements.  Gulls in the harbor & up along the Hudson have been 
cycling through, there have been some Laughings out on the harbor, none that 
close to one watch site in several visits this past week. (An Iceland Gull was 
seen and photo’d. by multiple other obs. at Croton Point, Westchester County, 
NY on 4/5, as 1 example of a rarer gull not far upriver from N.Y. City. There 
were others on that same day in the region as well, including near Rye on Long 
Island Sound in Westchester Co.)

An arrival of Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (as well as some of the other related 
herons & egrets) came to the local area, with at least 6 of the latter arriving 
at Randall’s Island (part of N.Y. County) just east of Manhattan, late Sat. 
eve. before sunset. These may or may not have all moved on.  Incidentally, 
Eastern Phoebe was a species that really pushed on into upstate NY & New 
England, even as no’s. in Manhattan may not have appeared to change that much 
from recent prior days or weeks. A fair number of migrant species have had 
small (or large, for a few select species) departures, along with the many 
arrivals being seen of late. 

For Palm Sunday, April 5th, there was a massive overnight (Saturday night) 
movement of migrants thru all of New Jersey & into the N.Y. City region & 
beyond; for much of Manhattan, a lot  of that migration simply passed right by 
in the night - however, we had the first-of-spring PALM Warblers arrive in 
small no’s. in at least 8 different locations in 5+ Manhattan parks including 
in several areas within Central Park, & also an increase in the no’s. of 
Chipping Sparrows all-around as well as Field Sparrows. Kinglets of both 
species increased again at least slightly. Fly-overs included Great Blue Herons 
(in moderate no’s. in the a.m.), Great Egrets (fewer), & some raptors, esp. 
Osprey in no’s. as well as multiple Bald Eagles esp. out along the Hudson 
river. Wilson’s Snipe were moving with a few sightings from 2 locations. I saw 
just 1 migrating Common Loon, fairly high & moving steadily NNW very early 
(pre-sunrise) on 4/5, from Central Park; it seems likely many others were on 
the wing in recent days (as shown by arrivals far to the north) but perhaps 
high as they moved by Manhtattan, or more inland.

(N.B., a hawkwatch & general birdwatch conducted by veteran watchers A. & L. 
Antony at Hook Mt. in Rockland Co., NY - about 30 miles north of N.Y. City - 
had a single Broad-winged Hawk along with numbers of other raptors, esp. 
Ospreys, Sharp-shinned & Cooper’s Hawks, & such other species as Palm & Pine 
Warblers, E. Bluebird, Common Raven, N. Rough-winged & Tree Swallows, Pileated 
Woodpecker, C. Loon, & many others all on Sunday, 4/5.  Hook Mt. has a long 
tradition of fall-season hawk-watching, yet can also be fairly good in spring, 
with dedicated observing. Another site very near N.Y. City, Montclair N.J. 
hawk-watch had seen at least 3 B.-w. Hawks so far this month, each coming 
singly on 3 different days. Also, for a sense of the hawk movement north at 
Bentsen/Rio Grande, Texas on March 31st, 11,025 migrating Broad-winged Hawks 
were counted. However a majority of (other) raptor species have been on the 
move for many weeks throughout North America.) The non-profit - 
http://hawkcount.org <http://hawkcount.org/> - will take you to many of the 
current counts and their respective sites; scroll down the page to see 
sightings.  For Tues., 4/7, at least 13,713 migrating Broad-winged Hawks were 
counted at Santa Ana, Texas’ hawk-watch. 

Monday, 4/6 - More arrival - a number of species increased for N.Y. County such 
as Yellow-shafted Flicker, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet (with a good 
additional influx of Golden-crowned Kinglet also seen), Hermit Thrush (rather 
notably so, in some select locations in Manhattan), Chipping Sparrow (further 
influx), Slate-colored Junco (more influx), Song Sparrow (a ‘late’ new influx), 
Swamp Sparrow, Palm Warbler (a further influx, after the previous day’s 
arrivals), YELLOW Warbler (early but consistent with very small no’s. appearing 
elsewhere in N.Y. City on this & previous day), and especially, BLUE-GRAY 
GNATCATCHER, which for many observers were first-of-spring sightings this day & 
some finding at least several of, on the day.  Several Rusty Blackbirds have 
been noted and some if not all may be freshly-arrived, as the peak movement of 
the species is upon us.  This last species will sometimes escape detection in a 
place like Central Park - or where there are a lot of birds and other 
‘distractions’ available, on a given day of much movement. (There was an 
unconfirmed report, lacking enough detail, of a Y.-br. Chat in Central Park, 
possible but less-likely for the early-spring date now.)

At one section of Manhattan at first-light - Battery Park (proper) - I tallied 
14 Hermit Thrush, & by behaviors all of these were freshly-arrived there. An 
observer who came there hours later did not report these Hermit Thrush numbers; 
they may well have dispered & gone on in the first few hours of daylight, to 
nearby greenspaces. An additional sighting was that of 1 Common Raven flying 
past the Freedom tower’s west facade, calling its typical deep croaks, moving 
off in the direction of New York’s City Hall (a short distance away).  In 
addition there were Hermit Thrush along parts of the Hudson River green-way 
path in Manhattan early Monday; here I made no exact counts but more than 10 
were seen even just in casual looks. One other species was extremely noticeable 
in same areas: Slate-colored Junco, which were seen in the low 100’s (with more 
than 100 in The Battery alone at sunrise). At least one N. Rough-winged Swallow 
went through & north along the Hudson, at modest elevation. There was in 
addition a steady movement of Yellow-shafted Flicker (I talled 36 in 1 hour) 
thru at least the first full hour of daylight, all were headed north, some at 
fairly high elevations.  Other observers in various locations around Manhattan 
found some of these species also on the move. I took in briefer looks at 
several city parks in lower Manhattan, but soon returned to Central Park, and 
later in the day, Randall’s Island and a few smaller parks in Harlem & ending 
in Riverside Park.  (All was done solo, and with no close contact with others. 
I did see a very few birding friends in Central Park, & shared a -distanced- 
few moments with them before moving on again.)

Tues., 4/7 - I had a solo visit to the north end of Central Park and across to 
Randall’s Island, where a hen Common Goldeneye remained, almost certainly the 
same individual present at the Bronx Kill (creek), on the n. edge of that 
island; this time out by the east mouth and with only a couple of hen 
Red-breasted Mergansers for company. The visit was somewhat ‘quiet’ for true 
diversity, yet 50+ spp. of birds were recorded in under 3 hrs. - later visits 
included Central Park again, Morningside & Riverside Parks, & several parks in 
& around Harlem (in Manhattan) including Riverbank S.P. (in which it has still 
been possible to maintain proper distancing). A further arrival of swallows, 
with Northern Rough-winged, Tree, & Barn all accounted for & others also just 
possible by this date (although very early yet for some).  The 3 species noted 
were seen in Central Park, with N. Rough-winged the most-viewed, & also from a 
variety of locations on the Hudson river, as well as from Randall’s Island.  
Numbers of Hermit Thrush had increased again on Tues, as did Palm Warbler.  My 
small watch for any raptor activity (migrants, that is) did not pan out, with 
winds remaining very light where I set up, at Riverbank S.P. along the Hudson 
in w. Harlem, Manhattan. I did see 3 Turkey Vultures ‘chased’ off the tower of 
Riverside Church by 6 American Crows in the a.m., which was a first (on that 
church) for me.  The watch did provide a few migrant-type butterflies, mostly 
ladies (likely American Lady) & 2 anglwings of orange color, thus somewhat 
likely Question-marks. Other butterflies in Manhattan today included ongoing 
Cabbage Whites, E. Comma, and Mourning Cloak.  Oh, and there was again an 
ongoing light flight of Yellow-shafted Flicker through much of the morning, the 
rate I was noting about 3-4 per hour - so very intermittent.

At least 6 warbler species were seen thru the 4 days, all but one still being 
found as of Tues. 4/7: Yellow (as of 4/6 & 4/7, early!), Pine, Palm (decent 
numbers), Yellow-rumped [Myrtle], Louisiana Waterthrush, and Black-and-white 
Warbler (the latter seen again on Sat. 4/4, in nearly same area as had been 
previously in Central Park & the likely same individual).

Birds noted for the 4-day period, 4 thru 7 April in N.Y. County (N.Y. City) -

Canada Goose (fairly common, ‘feral' birds will linger & are nesting)
[Atlantic] Brant (still in good no’s in various locations; 210+ counted just at 
Randall’s Island- all shores/waters, 4/7)
Wood Duck (much decreased no’s. from last week)
Gadwall (not at all rare, in various locations)
American Black Duck (small no’s. still about)
Mallard (common)
Northern Shoveler (modest no’s. still around in Central Park)
Green-winged Teal (2 moving through on 4/4)
Bufflehead (decreased no’s.)
Common Goldeneye (female lingering off NNW side of Randall’s Island thru 4/7)
Hooded Merganser (lingering in Central Park)
Red-breasted Merganser (still some but diminished no’s. by this week)
Ruddy Duck (more of this species on East River; fewer in Central Park)
Red-throated Loon (relatively few, although one observer noted 4 in a stretch 
on 4/7 at the Hudson river off lower Manhattan)
Common Loon (still relatively few)
Pied-billed Grebe (Central Park, to at least 4/6)
Horned Grebe (Central Park reservoir to at least 4/5)
Great Cormorant (East River at least to 4/5)
Double-crested Cormorant (increasing)
Great Blue Heron (many on northbound migrations)
Great Egret (modest no’s., with some migrators and local movements too)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (small increase this week)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (as noted above; quite scarce in N.Y. County in the 
past)
Black Vulture (small no’s.)
Turkey Vulture (fair no’s.)
Osprey (fair no’s.)
Bald Eagle (multiple sightings)
Northern Harrier (1, Sunday 4/5)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (modest no’s.)
Cooper's Hawk (frelatively few)
Red-tailed Hawk (resident & breeder throughout N.Y. City)
American Coot (lingering at Central Park to at least 4/7; also a few sightings 
in Manhattan’s rivers)
Killdeer (several)
Wilson's Snipe (several; including 2 seen together at Inwood Hill Park - N. 
Souirgi)
American Woodcock (few this week)
Laughing Gull (scarce, harbor area)
Ring-billed Gull (common throughout)
[American] Herring Gull (common)
Great Black-backed Gull (fairly common)
['feral'] Rock Pigeon (ubiquitous)
Mourning Dove (fairly common)
American Kestrel (multiple; one seen expertly catching a Song Sparrow on 
Randall’s Island, 4/7)
Peregrine Falcon (regular city resident & breeder)
Great Horned Owl (at least 1)
Eastern Screech-Owl (Manhattan resident)
Belted Kingfisher (few lingered)
Red-headed Woodpecker (ongoing now-brightly-plumaged bird, Central Park, as 
noted above.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (common)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (increased no’s., many locations)
Downy Woodpecker (common)
Hairy Woodpecker (uncommon)
Yellow-shafted Flicker (increased no’s. including regular & expected early a.m. 
diurnal migration)
Eastern Phoebe (still passing through in modest numbers)
Blue Jay (very numerous, some fairly light movement on some days)
Common Raven (multiple sightings from around Manhattan & beyond)
American Crow (fairly common)
Fish Crow (small no’s. & likely nesting in at least a few N.Y. County locations)
Tree Swallow (modest no’s. detected; all I’ve seen strictly fly-overs so far - 
which is normal in Manhattan in early spring)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (seen from multiple locations, multiple 
observers, from 4/5, more by 4/6, & esp. by 4/7)
Barn Swallow (scarce, but still slightly early for this in any no’s. - seen in 
100’s of locations by now through the NE region)
Black-capped Chickadee (very scarce now)
Tufted Titmouse (scarce)
White-breasted Nuthatch (in low numbers)
Brown Creeper (in diminished no’s. by 4/7)
Carolina Wren (regular breeder in N.Y. City)
Winter Wren (multiple, but not that many)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (ongoing, but fewer than prior week)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (increased greatly in the report period)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (small no’s., but many sightings and locations)
Hermit Thrush (near-common by 4/7; some observers finding 30-40+)
American Robin (common, nesting locally; & also migrants continuing)
Gray Catbird (very few: some that wintered are still present, such as at Bryant 
Park, Manhattan & elsewhere)
Northern Mockingbird (near common)
Brown Thrasher (small no’s. continue)
European Starling (ubiquitous and problematic to native nesting birds)
Eastern Towhee (modest no’s. continue; both sexes are regular now)
Chipping Sparrow (large increase in this report period)
Field Sparrow (small no’s. continue, perhaps small increase this week)
[Red] Fox Sparrow (modest no’s., but some decrease since last week)
Song Sparrow (common with many migrants again pushing through, plus 
local-nesters in place)
Swamp Sparrow (increased no’s. this week)
White-throated Sparrow (high no’s. continuing; one of the more-common songs of 
any larger park & some smaller as well, this week)
Slate-colored Junco (numerous, some further influx & passage)
Red-winged Blackbird (modest no’s., including some still moving through)
Eastern Meadowlark (1, fly-over at Battery Park up Hudson river, early a.m. 4/6)
Rusty Blackbird (few, in multiple locations)
Common Grackle (fairly common including some local breeders)
Brown-headed Cowbird (modest no’s., mainly all migrants going to be departing)
-
Yellow Warbler (minimum of 2, 4/6, one at w. edge of Central Park lake, another 
on n.e. side of Central Park Meer; early!)
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (very few & not expected in any no’s. for weeks)
Pine Warbler (multiple locations; some may have lingered, some newer arrivals)
Palm Warbler (good influx with the first seen by Sunday, 4/5, and far more into 
this week)
Black-and-white Warbler (1, Summit Rock area of Central Park, 4/4 - likely same 
individual as first-seen on 4/2)
Louisiana Waterthrush (at least several in Central Park - several locations 
there)
-
Northern Cardinal (common resident breeder)
Purple Finch (at least 1 male, Central Park Ramble, 4/4)
House Finch (fairly common breeder)
American Goldfinch (modest no’s. this week)
House Sparrow (ubiquitous, pestiferous as they can interfere with native 
breeding birds)

More & more trees, shrubs & other plant life coming into bud &/or bloom. One of 
many trees now showing its odd but lovely bloom (which emerges ahead of its 
leaves) are American Redbud. Insect and invertebrate life is also increasingly 
active with the milder patch of weather. All to the good for many hungry birds 
just arriving in and/or passing through the region.

…..
Wishing all who observe a Happy Pesach (Passover) and well-being to each and 
everyone.

Safe spatial-distancing & good birding to all,

Tom Fiore
manhattan



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