A quick note.  I first birded with Paul Desjardins in CT in the mid-1970s. He 
is among the most pure and dedicated birding aficionados I ever met (don't 
blush, Paul). I was thrilled over the moon to hear he'd gotten CT's first 
Townsend's Warbler, a fitting tribute to such a fine field naturalist. (And I 
was able to reconnect, as it turns out he'd lost track of my current e-mail and 
hadn't been able to get in touch).

All good.

Birding lasts a lifetime,

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-124572506-3714...@list.cornell.edu 
<bounce-124572506-3714...@list.cornell.edu> On Behalf Of Thomas Fiore
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 2:42 PM
To: NYSBirds-L@cornell.edu
Subject: [nysbirds-l] Manhattan / N.Y. County, NYC 4/17-18-19-20

Of note - & not all too far from NY state - was a Townsend’s Warbler in the New 
Haven, Connecticut area, a long-awaited state-first record, & discovered by 
Paul Desjardins, a long-time observer of that state’s birds; the warbler was 
later seen by many others & apparently all able to social/spatial distance well 
at the site of the rare western vagrant bird; discovery happened Friday, 4/17, 
& with scores of add’l. observers on 2 days afterwards.

Here are five other (non-western-area of USA) sightings of Townsend’s Warblers 
for this month of this year: 
on April 7, Forsythe NWR (‘Brigantine’), New Jersey - prob. male, photos of 
lower-res. (Bill Elrick’s sighting) On April 10, at Palm Beach, Florida - 
female, photographed.  On April 14, at Galveston, Texas - male, photos.
On April 16 & onwards, near Chicago, Illinois - male, many photos/obs. [n.b., 
this last bird may have been present somewhat earlier at the Illinois site].  
On April 19, in eastern Massachusetts (a state which also had Yellow-billed 
Loon & W. Tanager on this same date)

* Late-breaking updates for part of Tues., 4/21 include Manhattan arrivals of 
White-eyed Vireo & somewhat early (male) Scarlet Tanager in Central Park; the 
W.-e. Vireo reported from near The Point. in the C.P. Ramble by J.Spindel.    
Also, a Vesper Sparrow found Monday in Central Park was again present in early 
morning just south of the Meer, in a lawn & brushy area roughly 50 yards east 
of the high ‘fort’ area above (s. of) the south/southeast shore of the Meer, 
associating with some Field & Chipping Sparrows. Also a modest further general 
arrival of Chimney Swifts - but a further report with more news, sometime in 
coming days.
Congrat’s to Jack Rothman of City Island, The Bronx, N.Y. for a fabulous find 
for his own backyard ‘patch’, a Least Bittern, photographed on April 19th - 
this is prop’s & love to east Bronx. 
Manhattan / N.Y. County - Friday, April 17 thru Monday, April 20th:

The long-staying RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was still present in Central Park thru 
Monday, 4/20, seen & photographed again in same area as it’s been for now 6 
full months. The woodpecker is in full bright breeding-type color, & is often 
quite active these days.  It could depart any day now, & would be slightly 
surprising should it stay on into May (although we have a precedent for that of 
past wintering Red-headeds).  The area to seek it is as it’s been, but lately 
the woodpecker may range just slightly more to the north / uptown than it had 
over the winter; watching from not far from the ballfield fence (N. Meadow 
ballfields, southwest sector) near by the park’s West Drive, and scanning up 
high in addition to lower, even occasionally on the lawn or the ballfield, may 
produce a sighting. The closest 2 park entry-exit points are W. 97th & W. 100th 
Streets, & the woodpecker has shown itself roughly in the middle of those 
streets’ latitude; this is east of Central Park West, and just immediately east 
of the park’s W. Drive roadway. There is ample space in this area for a lot of 
social-spatial distancing (if even required right there).

Arrivals thru the 4 days of this report included GREEN HERON, YELLOW-BILLED 
YELLOWTHROAT; and there was a VESPER SPARROW which is a first-of-spring record 
this year for the county.  The star bird of all of the sightings was a PILEATED 
WOODPECKER, as that is a very special find for Manhattan, a genuine rarity for 
the county.  It is probable that that woodpecker, as with others of its species 
very rarely seen in Manhattan previously, was displaced, by elders- by its’ 
parents, or possibly by a sibling, to ‘push’ it away from an already occupied 
territory, & this species does nest in areas less than 10 miles away, including 
across the Hudson river in adjacent northeast New Jersey, where there are woods 
that support them.

Friday, 4/17 - A genuinely rare sighting for Manhattan (although not a 
first-ever) was a PILEATED Woodpecker found at Inwood Hill Park (where the 
species has turned up at least a few times previously, as well as in adjacent 
parks in northern-most Manhattan); heard (& also seen later) by J. DiCostanzo, 
& 1st seen independently by D. Karlson, both regular observers in that park - & 
later on by multiple further observers.  (Thank you, Danny & Joe!)

Green Herons arrived in Central Park, and this was simultaneous with a larger 
movement of Black-crowned Night-Herons, & Snowy & Great Egrets, more of which 
were seen as flyovers (esp. pre-sunrise with the night-herons) & a number of 
each even stopping in, the 2 Snowys that did so a bit less commonly-seen as 
drop-ins at Central. There were also more of the 2 egret species moving past 
Randall’s Island, & seen moving over parts of East Harlem & later on, in 
central & west Harlem (Manhattan). A Northern Parula was seen again near the SW 
corner of Meer, adjacent to but not on the small island in the meer. This 
almost certain to have been the same individual of recent prior days there.  
The 5 other warblers of recent prior days also were seen, with Yellow-rumped 
[Myrtle] & Palm Warblers making up the majority & Pine still in modest no’s. 
There was a small uptick yet again in Hermit Thrush numbers. Rusty Blackbirds 
also continued.  Some reports from other parks in Manhattan had continuing Palm 
Warbler, & a few had Pine as well.  I had a short look at Randall’s Island but 
was not that impressed in early morning: Snowy & Great Egrets, a small flight 
of Blue Jays, a larger flight of Barn (& few Tree) Swallows, & notable 
sparrows. There were more than 350 [Atlantic] Brant on the e. ballfields.

Sat., 4/18 - Very interesting, good numbers of some migrants as well as a 
number of first-of-year arrivals, all through a prior night that featured some 
drizzle, fog, & later at night heavier showers which were in narrow bands, plus 
WSW wind. That wind did shift, eventually from the north, but that did not 
happen until roughly 11-noon, at Manhattan NYC.   New arrivals on the day 
included Virginia Rail (non-released, at s.w. part of Central Park), 
Yellow-throated Vireo & Prairie Warbler (Inwood Hill Park), Ovenbird, Northern 
Waterthrush [at least 2] (Central Park), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Inwood Hill, & 
Central Park).    

Also, Saturday featured a good overnight arrival of Hermit Thrush, as well as 
Savannah & Chipping Sparrow, & a little less obviously of more Field, Swamp, & 
White-throated Sparrows, & also more Blue-headed Vireos & Ruby-crowned 
Kinglets. Of semi-local interest, a Louisiana Waterthrush seen in Riverside 
Park (northern section) is always a good find there, even if annual in 
migration. There were at least 7 Louisiana Waterhrush reported from that number 
of locations, no record by any means, but a nice count for Manhattan. Of the 
sparrows seen on Sat., of note was a high count of 23 Savannah Sparrows in just 
one park: Inwood Hill, by a keen observer, & good counts of that species were 
also noted from multiple parks throughout the county, including on Randall’s 
Island.  Also, the Yellow Warbler seen at The Pond in Central Park made for a 
total of 9 warbler spp. noted on the day, a small indicator of increasing 
diversity just overnight. It was also possible that more birds / species came 
in on this ‘wave’ and were unseen due to less observation & less time for 
observations (due to morning rains).

Sunday, 4/19 - With winds going lighter & part of Sat. night also from the SW, 
more birds were able to move, and with a diurnal flight component added for 
Sunday.  Some of the previous day’s birds also moved on.  A bright male Indigo 
Bunting appeared at a small field in the north sector of Riverside Park.  There 
were both species of Vulture seen, with Black Vulture from a number of 
locations, although numbers of Turkey Vulture were greater, as is the usual for 
the 2 species. For raptors, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Sharp-shinned Hawks made up 
the bulk of definite migrants over Manhattan & vicinity, none in any high no’s. 
this day. 

Again, at least 9 warbler spp. on the day in Manhattan - Worm-eating Warbler 
(City Hall Park), Warblers in Central Park: Ovenbird, Yellow, Black-and-white, 
Palm, Pine, & Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern 
Waterthrush.  House Wren, which had been reported by a few observers, was found 
in a site where it has sometimes nested in Central Park.
Large renewal of Slate-colored Juncos, with more than 50 in Central Park & far 
more (of even more expected) Chipping & White-throated Sparrows. It’s first 
thing (first-light) when the highest no’s. of birds like juncos, some sparrows, 
& sometimes other migrants are found on the lawns, paths etc. in a place like 
Central Park or other very popular-with-people places, as those birds later 
move to trees & spend much time in the trees, where less-fully observed.
Monday, 4/20 - A southwesterly airflow overnight on Sun. night, & many more 
birds again moving up from the south, despite some showers in some areas of the 
region. Some species of migrants greatly increased, & there were fresh arrivals 
of some new-for-spring migrants. By far, the members of the sparrow tribe 
(including towhee and junco) were in the majority for sheer numbers that 
dropped in; there was also a push of warblers with as expected, Yellow-rumped 
[Myrtle] Warblers making up the bulk of those, and a fair number of those 
moving on in the first 2-3 hours of daylight, esp. under the conditions of low 
clouds, and relatively light winds (which picked up later & shifted to being 
out of the NNW).  I returned to City Hall Park in lower Manhattan in hopes of 
re-locating a Worm-eating Warbler there (near the n. end) but it was not 
refound & further that park was again very quiet for native or migrant species, 
beyond a fresh batch of Chipping Sparrows, (more) White-throated Sparrows, & 
Slate-colored Juncos.  The Battery (just down a short way from the latter park) 
had over 200 Chipping Sparrows and more than 30 Slate-colored Juncos, but only 
a smattering of other birds of any note, early-ish in the morning. A scan over 
to the areas near Governors Island revealed 2 terns, apparently of Sterna 
[genus] type, but too distant to make much of other than that - they remained 
out by the western or NW edges of the island, in flight for a while but not 
coming in any closer to The Battery. To be totally ‘safe’, I am just naming 
them as ‘tern sp.'

We had at least 10 species within the sparrow ‘tribe’, seen in N.Y. County on 
the day, including: Vesper, Savannah, Field, Chipping, Swamp, Song, [Red] Fox 
(the latter now pretty scarce), White-throated (superabundant now) & also the 2 
tribal members, Slate-colored Junco, and E. Towhee. Still waiting on some of 
the other expected sparrow arrivals which may or may not be soon in coming.

Spotted & Solitary Sandpipers both arrived, with Spotted at least reaching the 
northernmost park & part of Manhattan at Inwood Hill’s inlet (N.Souirgi); 
Solitary Sandpipers were at the Meer at first-light, but not seen later (by me) 
there, nor in some of the sites where they sometimes like to appear.

Marsh Wren, & additional House Wrens as well as Winter & Carolina Wrens made 
for very nice diversity in that tribe for Manhattan’s Monday. The one Marsh 
Wren I know of (and saw) was along the east shore of the Meer in the noon-hour. 
 Areas in Central Park that had House Wrens included the Great Hill (both upper 
s. & lower e. slopes), the Conservatory Garden’s pergola, & at least several 
locations south of the reservoir to the s. end of the park, which included 
several within the Ramble - a good arrival.

A Wood Thrush initially found & reported from Inwood Hill Park on April 16 
(H.Russ) was very likely the same bird seen, in precisely the place where 
earlier reported, & this day (4/20), also photographed. Either date is an 
arrival that can be seen as on the early side - before the end of April for 
N.Y. City.

Several Common Yellowthroats came in to various parts of Central Park on 
Monday, all apparently adult males, with some song as well as calls heard. Also 
noted for warblers in Manhattan on 4/20 were Ovenbird (several, including one 
likely to have been same individual in the farthest-north woods in Central), 
both Waterthrush species, Yellow (very few), Black-and-white (& those even in 
several street locations, away from parks), Pine (in modestly-increased no’s as 
well), Palm (not as common on the day as one might have expected, given all the 
rest of the migration seen), Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] in modest no’s. but some in 
early diurnal-flight mode also.  It is quite possible that a few addditional 
warbler species made it into Manhattan; some others have been seen around N.Y. 
City & vicinity in recent days

A Virginia Rail was seen & photographed in Central Park on Thursday, 4/16; this 
was likely a locally-rehabbed & then released bird, in a location where this 
has been done before. This bird remained at the same general site for some 
days, as was the case with others of this speces released in the same location 
- indeed, 3 more Virginia Rails were seen as they were being released at the 
same location on Sunday 4/19 & as the 1st-released rail was still present, with 
a ‘crowd’ of watchers. Hopefully all of these will make their way to a far 
better area where they might see better prospects for keeping out of harm’s way 
in urban-storm-flight (and hopefully birders will continue to exercise 
commonsense precautions as they seek to observe or photograph birds, whether 
common or even rarer species, for the good of each other, as well as for the 
birds best interests).

Some of the species found in 4 days, 4/17 hru 4/20 -

Canada Goose
[Atlantic] Brant
Wood Duck (1 drake in Central Park)
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler (becoming very scarce) Bufflehead (still in double-digit 
no’s. thru the period) Ruddy Duck (scarce now) Red-throated Loon (few, mostly 
from E. River &/or N.Y. harbor) Common Loon (a few fly-overs & a few here & 
there on the rivers) Double-crested Cormorant (common, esp. for migrating 
fly-overs) Great Blue Heron (several lingering) Great Egret (fairly common, 
mostly as fly-overs) Snowy Egret (now regular as fly-overs - best areas are 
north of 96th St. generally, for Manhattan sightings) Green Heron (several) 
Black-crowned Night-Heron (ongoing) Black Vulture (multiple sightings, all of 
fly-overs) Turkey Vulture (more common than preceding) Osprey (multiple 
fly-overs) Bald Eagle (multiple, & a few sightings of perched birds, including 
the Riverside Park-north section adult) Northern Harrier (1 or 2 in flight - 
migrants) Sharp-shinned Hawk (multiple fly-overs - migrants) Red-shouldered 
Hawk (several sightings, fly-overs) Red-tailed Hawk (regular, & breeding city 
residents) Virginia Rail (all but 1 were known to be released from re-hab, in 
Central Park; there was a likely big flight in recent days) American Coot (at 
least to 4/19, Central Park) Killdeer (ongoing, Randall’s Island, in N.Y. 
County) Greater Yellowlegs (at least 2, fly-bys) Solitary Sandpiper (Central 
Park Meer, 4/20, first-light) Spotted Sandpiper (several, by 4/20) American 
Woodcock (still one at Bryant Park, to 4/18) Laughing Gull (multiple but not 
many, E. River & N.Y. harbor) Ring-billed Gull [American] Herring Gull Great 
Black-backed Gull
* Tern species (Probably Sterna [genus], 2 together, distantly, off Governors 
Island, 4/20) ['feral'] Rock Pigeon Mourning Dove American Kestrel Merlin 
(several reports) Peregrine Falcon Yellow-billed Cuckoo (1, reported in Central 
Park’s Ramble, 4/18) Great Horned Owl Eastern Screech-Owl Belted Kingfisher 
(multiple) PILEATED Woodpecker (at Inwood Hill Park, 4/17, as noted above; 
photos taken - a rare bird for Manhattan) Red-headed Woodpecker (one - ongoing 
in Central Park thru 4/20) Red-bellied Woodpecker Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
(increased, with 20+ seen by 4/20) Downy Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker (scarce 
but some are lingering in several locations in Manhattan) Yellow-shafted 
Flicker (fair no’s., including some in diurnal flight on some mornings) Eastern 
Phoebe (multiple, a slight uptick yet again for 4/20) Blue-headed Vireo (now 
fairly regular, many many locations) Yellow-throated Vireo (1, Inwood Hill 
Park, 4/18 - a bit early) Blue Jay (common with some diurnal morning flights on 
some days) Common Raven (multiple locations, usually 1 or 2 at any one site) 
American Crow (fairly regular, many locations) Fish Crow (uncommon but in 
multiple locations) Tree Swallow (regular, still not at all common) Northern 
Rough-winged Swallow (regular now) Barn Swallow (regular & some migration seen 
in no’s. on some days) Black-capped Chickadee (very, very few) Tufted Titmouse 
(scant) White-breasted Nuthatch (many locations) Brown Creeper (a small no. 
still passing thru) Carolina Wren (multiple locations) House Wren (by at least 
4/19: then very nice arrival and esp. so in Central Park by 4/20) Winter Wren 
(slight uptick for 4/20) Marsh Wren (at least one, Central Park, 4/20; possibly 
more that were overlooked) Golden-crowned Kinglet (very few still passing thru 
by 4/20) Ruby-crowned Kinglet (increased again, near-common and in some 
locations, very numerous by 4/20) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (good no’s., including 
the occasional sighting outside of a park or greenspace) Hermit Thrush (huge 
arrival by 4/20 - easily 500++ for all Manhattan on thre day, with 200+++ in 
Central Park alone, conservatively!) Wood Thrush (one photographed by 4/20 in 
precisely same location where 1st reported on 4/16, at Inwood Hill Park - in 
the “clove”) American Robin (abundant) Gray Catbird (a few here & there, mainly 
still birds that had wintered locally) Northern Mockingbird (regular, breeding) 
Brown Thrasher (slight uptick by 4/20 including a few seen in very odd sites) 
European Starling Eastern Towhee (major arrival for 4/20, easily 100+ for all 
of Manhattan on the day; with 30+++ in Central Park alone, many locations) 
Chipping Sparrow (major arrival for 4/20, easily 2,000+ for all of Manhattan on 
the day; with 800+++ in Central Park alone, also many in the smallest of 
greenaspaces) Field Sparrow (numerous - but a bit overshadowed by the above, by 
4/20!) Vesper Sparrow (one found in Central Park’s nortn end near the Meer, 
4/20 - first sighting of spring 2020 for N.Y. County) Savannah Sparrow 
(numerous with some mini-fallouts on some days & certain sites; also 
possibility of more than 1 subspecies) [Red] Fox Sparrow (seemingly very few 
remained to 4/20) Song Sparrow (common, a breeding species, while some migrants 
also continue on) Swamp Sparrow (very good fresh arrival by 4/20 - many 
hundreds for all Manhattan) White-throated Sparrow (abundant, and fresh 
arrivals to boost no’s. further for 4/20) Slate-colored Junco (very strong 
fresh arrival, 4/20) Northern Cardinal Rose-breasted Grosbeak (few, arrivals 
apparent by 4/18, but still very scant thru the period; check elm trees, in 
particular - & listen) Indigo Bunting (male, Riverside Park - northern sector, 
4/19; sought again on 4/20 with no re-find) Northern Parula (to 4/17, Central 
Park north end, and very likely same individual that arrived quite early) 
Yellow Warbler (very few thru 4/20) Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (multiple 
with slow & steady increases, but hardly the big push yet; some in morning 
flights as well) Pine Warbler (nice if modest increase, on 4/20, & more females 
also coming thru) Prairie Warbler (4/18, male, seen singing at first, not heard 
later in morning, Inwood Hill Park) Palm Warbler (still on the move & could be 
for another two weeks) Black-and-white Warbler (modest but noticeable increase 
by 4/20) Worm-eating Warbler (1, found in City Hall Park, 4/18, near the n. end 
of park close to Chambers St.- sought & not re-found there 4/20) Ovenbird 
(several by 4/20, including at least 2 in Central Park, both of which silent, 
other than chip-notes at times) Northern Waterthrush (multiple but not that 
many so far) Louisiana Waterthrush (ongoing) Common Yellowthroat (several by 
4/20, only males seen, some singing & calling also heard) Red-winged Blackbird 
Rusty Blackbird (few still seen thru 4/20, mostly in breeding or near-breeding 
plumage now) Common Grackle Brown-headed Cowbird Purple Finch (several heard; 
see note near top, regarding a feeder-bird that was NOT a Purple but an 
unusually-bright male House Finch) House Finch (fairly common & widespread 
nesting species) American Goldfinch (many, some moving in mornings, and many 
singing from a lot of various parks) House Sparrow (ubiquitous)

. . . 
Trees & shrubs have continued in full spring bloom for multiple species & 
varieties; a lot of the later-blooming ornamental cherry trees are surely at 
their peak right now, and the same for many crabapples as well. The leaf-out of 
various trees slowed a bit, with cooler weather - but is ongoing still. More 
lilac varieties are coming into bloom.

Mammal sightings have again included some E. Red Bats both asleep & in flight, 
some woodchucks (or groundhog, if you prefer), many E. Chipmunks, Racoons, & 
the usual 2 color-forms of E. Gray Squirrels (which are gray, as well as 
black).   Insects & other invertebrates continue to emerge & increase in number 
& diversity, & all to the good for the huge fresh arrivals of hungry birds!

Thanks to all the many who help us through these difficult times, above all the 
health-care workers of the world. And thanks to all who are doing their part to 
be of help by practicing safe & sensible precautions as advised by responsible 
health & public-safety experts.  We are all in this fight against a worldwide 

Good & safe birding,

Tom Fiore

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Please submit your observations to eBird:



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