The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER which has been present for nearly 6 full months 
continues in Central Park, near the West Drive (park roadway) & between the 
North Meadow ballfields’ southwest sector, & the cindered bridle path 
immediately east of the park’s W. Drive - watching for this bird can be 
fruitful by staying on a path down next to the ballfields’ fence, looking west 
& scanning all around including very high in trees; the bird is rather active & 
in full / bright spring plumage, so if it flies or moves, the sighting is 
fairly likely with a bit of patience. The nearest park entry to this area is at 
W. 97th Street, off Central Park West - the bird may be a bit n. of that 
‘latitude’ by up to 100 yards at times, but usually by less. One further note - 
this area has a lot of room for spatial-distancing, the more so if one steps 
off of various paths in the area.


Blue-headed Vireo (first on 4/8 at Central Park; heard singing from high up 
6:45 a.m., later seen & confirmed, & thanks to M.B. Kooper), Purple Martin & 
Broad-winged Hawks (on Friday, 4/10). Northern Parula first noted by “north 
ender” & bird photographer Ron Lugo, at the Central Park Meer, this is fairly 
early but not wholly unprecedented (&, N.B., a great many N.Y. City & Manhattan 
records are not in eBird.) This is now at least the 7th warbler species of 
spring to have arrived on Manhattan. Another arrival 1st-noted on Sat. 4/11 
were several (at least 3 but possibly more) Chimney Swifts, moving past the 
North Woods, as seen from the Meer in the mid-morning - also a bit early (& 
which goes with sightings of the latter in at least 5 N.Y.S. counties by now, 
as well as some areas in New England).  

There coud well have been some other new arrivals, as the pattern has seemed to 
be of very modest no’s. of a fair variety of neotropical-wintering species 
coming in (as 1st, or initial arrivals only! - this is NOT the same as 
peak-time of occurrence for ANY species - some of which may arrive en-masse in 
as much two or three weeks time!  Probably the least-understood of factors on 
migration is the difference of 1 week, & vastly more-so of 2 or 3 weeks. It’s 
why a casually-reported “Veery” in March or the start of Aprll is rightly 
subject to scrutiny… & same of scores & scores of other migrant species - Veery 
is merely an example, & a fairly good one, as non-vocal Catharus genus thrushes 
are MUCH more complex in subtle plumage variation, & much-mistaken by even some 
birders with experience. It’s also not so simple to denote a Catharus thrush 
solely on call-note, if one is not very familiar with all of the species that 
pass through, & their varied calls & songs. The same can be said for many, many 
other songbirds, & for ‘calls’ only, for many other non-passerine species.)

Wed., 4/8 -
A purposed sky-watch over the Hudson river from a viewpoint in Riverbank State 
Park (west of W. 145 St., Manhattan) from 9:15 thru 11:15 am came up with 8 
migrating Ospreys, 1 Turkey Vulture, 6 Great Blue Herons, 2 Great Egrets, 1 
Common Loon (at high altitude), and some other smaller migrants, including 1 
Tree Swallow, 7 Yellow-shafted Flickers (all separately moving north) & a 
smattering of American Robins, Common Grackles, & 2 Brown-headed Cowbirds.  
There were also multiple Double-crested Cormorants but they all seemed to be 
headed every-which-way, & some were landing on the nearby river.

Rain & then increasing cool winds kept migration a bit low for Thursday, 4/9 -
I was slightly surprised to see a single Sharp-shinned Hawk being blown near 
sideways (to the NE) as it attempted to work towards the northwest, over 
Central Park in-betwen rains on Thursday; it may have not made a lot of 
progress.  Many migrants had been able to depart Manhattan over Wed. night, 
leaving a lot of greenspaces quieter than in prior days.  There were at least a 
few Ospreys & Turkey Vultures on the move on Thursday.  Some of the species of 
recent prior days were sticking around, this included at least 4 warblers spp. 
(Louisiana Waterthrush, Pine, Palm, & Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warblers), as well 
as Blue-headed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers & others in much-lowered numbers. 
The diminution in White-throated Sparrow & Song Sparrow numbers was 
particularly notable, over these 2 days - more of them will be passing through, 
particularly the former species, which has not peaked on passage thru NYC yet.

Good Friday, 4/10 - A brief snow-shower (but maybe not much more than a few 
flurries moving through Manhattan) was interesting for the date. Also 
interesting was the perhaps first-of-year Purple Martin moving through at about 
7:30 a.m. over the Central Park reservoir - unfortunately this one did not seem 
to linger (as they rarely do in that park, thus sightings are quite rare there) 
but the species should be watched for, and had already been starting to arrive 
in several surrounding-area counties. The hirundines which did stick around & 
briefly swelled to a modest number at the C.P. reservoir were Barn, N. 
Rough-winged, & Tree Swallows, with the ‘roughies’ perhaps staying in best 
no’s. longer. All 3 of these were seen by multiple (separate) observers & 
should grow in the coming days & weeks. All 6 of NY state’s known-breeding 
hirundine species have been seen in potential breeding areas by now, scattered 
through parts of the state, although still a bit early for some.  

Best surprise, not for the date but in the gusty winds at 20-25mph, mid-day, 
were 2 adult Broad-winged Hawks passing by the north end of Manhattan as seen 
from near the high point over Highbridge, in upper Manhattan. Also seen were at 
least 3 American Kestrels & 4 Osprey all of which looked to be heading north, 
although being ‘pushed’ a bit to the east, as were almost any birds in the air 
at Friday's mid-day hours. A bit of precipitation clearly did not stop raptor 
migration locally, as both Montclair and Hook Mtn. hawk-watches both had decent 
early pushes of Broad-winged Hawks and some other raptors.  At least 3 Bald 
Eagles also were seen from n. Manhattan, & this is no longer a rare sighting, 
even in summer with the several nests in the vicinity (although not on 
Manhattan itself, as far as is known!)  Another species no longer seen as 
remarkable, Common Raven put in an appearance - as they have from one end of 
Manhattan to the other, & in all the rest of NYC’s 5 counties.

Also continuing in Central Park were at least 4 spp. of American warblers, a 
few Louisiana Waterthrush, Palm & Pine & (few so far) Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] 
Warblers. Also continuing were Blue-gray Gnatcatchers & both Kinglet species, 
as well as modest no’s. of Hermit Thrush. The sparrows seem to have rejuvenated 
a little after a 1-day (thursday) minor abandonment, with departures from Wed. 
night - on Friday, many White-throated, and another slight uptick of Field 
(especially) and Swamp Sparrows.  A small no. of [Red] Fox Sparrows also 
continued, as did fair no’s. of both E. Towhee and Slate-colored Junco. A small 
number of Laughing Gulls have been around in multiple locations, including the 
East River, & at times, the Central Park reservoir.

Sat., 4/11 - As to birds of passage, not quite a repeat of the prior day. It 
seemed that some migrants must have departed Friday night, and precious few 
came in as replacement, not surprising given the not-ideal migration weather. 
There were nonetheless some typical diurnal migrants, such as Bald Eagle, 
Osprey, and Turkey Vulture, plus at least a few others in the raptor dept. For 
fly-bys as well as new & (at least temporarily) grounded birds, Snowy Egret 
came through in very modest no’s. - this and Great Egret can be sought flying 
over Manhattan island, most commonly in the ‘latitudes’ of from about 72 St. to 
about 135 St. but esp. so for 96-120 Streets - and virtually always flying 
either east or west across Manhattan (they are moving between the New Jersey 
meadowlands & some sites in the N.Y. City East River estuary or beyond) in the 
months more expected of May to Sept., but getting a ‘head-start’ this spring.  
From Central Park an indicator for some departure flight, and also a modest but 
concerted ‘push’ to make it north-north-north was that the far northern end of 
that park was a lot ‘birdier’ than other areas on the morn’ of this day, which 
is fairly typical in spring when there is either a strong departure of migrants 
&/or a push that for the most part passes by & keeps on moving, past Manhattan 
at least. At top, noted were first-of-spring Chimney Swifts & Northern Parula.

Waterfowl have been moving on, but at least some were still hanging in. 
American Coots are down to just a few, it seems. It also has so far not been a 
big season for loons in migration past Manhattan, OR there may have been, but 
mostly-missed. It’s still very much peak-time for them to move north.

Far more trees, shrubs and other plants have been coming into bloom locally. 
Some of the latest included flowering-ornamental crabapples, which are fairly 
common in N.Y. City, as well as flowering-ornamental pear trees, which had been 
in full bloom for a few weeks. The season advances botanically, & this seems to 
be a modern pattern with tree bloom & leaf-out well ahead of some migrant bird 
arrivals.  However, it could be that some of those migrants are shifting their 
timing; indeed for at least some species this seems true.  And in Manhattan 
itself, already in first stages of leaf-out are a variety of tree species, 
including some of the oaks which are favored by many arriving insectivorous 

Birders I have seen, from respectful distances, & others at far distances seem 
to be maintaining safe space & other protocols in local birding.  This is good 
- & necessary - as we all are in this fight together. Keep that up - for all 
who venture out in any ‘busy’ areas.

Good & safe birding,

Tom Fiore


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