Manhattan (in N.Y. County), N.Y. City - Tues. 28 April thru Thursday 30 April -

An EASTERN WILLET (a very rare find for N.Y. County) was seen moving up the 
East River (A.Farnsworth), Wed., 4/29. A super sighting, Andrew! Persistent 
observation pays off (and having an idea when to make the efforts also is 
helpful).

A fly-over SANDHILL CRANE seen by at least 3 observers & photographed, from 
Central Park’s north end, was likely the 2nd-rarest of birds seen in N.Y. 
County for the week. The crane was observed in the afternoon, the flight path 
was east to west; it happened on Wed., 4/29 & is in eBird, w/2 ‘grainy' photos 
as the bird was soaring past, & in one, the characteristic red cap can be seen 
- congrat’s. to K.Chaya, U.Mitra, & Tom Perlman who spotted it initially, w/ 
all 3 observers immediately able to see.

A male Blue Grosbeak continued at Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, having 
moved ever so slightly in area. A Grasshopper Sparrow continued its extended 
visit in Central Park.  Both of these were ongoing thru Thursday, 4/30. The 
Blue Grosbeak in & never far from the Heather Garden area in Ft. Tryon Park; 
the Grasshopper Sparrow ongoing in Central Park in the area of a low outcrop of 
bedrock with lawns to its north & south, immediately east of the park’s West 
Drive, & locally called “sparrow rock”. The Grasshopper was feeding in loose 
association with some Field, & (as of 4/30), quite a lot of Chipping, & at 
least a few other sparrow species such as Song, White-throated, a Swamp or two… 
This area can sometimes be visited by unleashed dogs so some patience may be 
needed at times.

New arrivals included:  AMERICAN BITTERN (see notes below), EASTERN WILLET, 
FORSTER’S TERN, EASTERN KINGBIRD, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER,  YELLOW-THROATED 
VIREO, VEERY, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, 
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART - & further 
numbers reinforcing many other species which had been seen in minimal numbers 
prior to this period.

For American warblers on Manhattan in the 3-day period of this report there 
were at least these twenty species: 
Blue-winged Warbler (multiple, but not many, first noted from 4/29; only in a 
few locatons & primarily in Central & Riverside Parks)
Nashville Warbler (scarce; a few detected in this period, & only from Central 
Park? mostly 4/29, also present previously but v. scarce)
Northern Parula (good no’s. in the larger parks, some also at smaller parks or 
greenspaces, some females now as well, still not at all peak-time)
Yellow Warbler (many, in many many locations, now including females; reports 
come from as many as 25+ greenspaces and parks in the county)
Magnolia Warbler (scant no’s., all I am aware of in Central Park, starting 
4/29; at least 4 or 5 locations; not ‘early’ but the peak period is always in 
May)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (multiple; male 1st noted in Hallett Sanctuary 6:20 
a.m. 4/29; multiple others also on the day in Central Park)
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (a fairly good flight, strongest of the spring 
so far on 4/29, but still not at all abundant; some females and many males)
Black-throated Green Warbler (few; seen from multiple locations, multiple obs.)
Yellow-throated Warbler (singing male seen at Central Park Loch area; also 
presumed same near park’s 102nd St. cross-drive connector later, 4/29)
Pine Warbler (very small no’s. by 4/30, many either female &/or drabber 
1st-spring individuals of both sexes; in multiple parks)
Prairie Warbler (very small no’s. & all I know of being males, of which most 
were singing, Central & a few other parks, thru 4/30; better no’s. noted 4/29)
Palm Warbler (many, including no’s. of females, spread all through the county 
thru 4/30, with some in odd locations, not abundant however)
Black-and-white Warbler (multiple, including a modest no. in odd sites, plus 
more in the larger parks, incl. at least a few females by 4/29)
American Redstart (few, some photographed, Central Park, from 4/29)
Worm-eating Warbler (at least 2 locations in Central Park, n. of the Pinetum, & 
n. of the Loch, 4/30; also a poss.-heard-only at Riverside Park at approx. W. 
107th St. area near the wall, 4/30)
Ovenbird (multiple locations in various parks and other places, but not really 
widespread yet)
Northern Waterthrush (multiple areas; some by song only, but many also seen)
Louisiana Waterthrush (still some thru 4/30, but in lower no’s. than prior week)
Common Yellowthroat (multiple areas, now including some females)
Hooded Warbler (at least 3 in Central Park beginning 4/29, all males; at least 
2 continued into 4/30)

----
An American Bittern, perhaps 1st-of-spring for New York County, was detected 
thru nocturnal flight call listening & analysis (A.Farnsworth), moving past the 
east side of Manhattan over Tues. night, really Wed. morning 4/29.  Also heard 
were first-of-spring Veery (multiple), and some others which included Green 
Heron, Spotted & Solitary Sandpipers, Wood Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 
Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, & some other species - again, these were all 
nocturnal observations by flight-calls. Addionally, all of the passerines and 
the 2 shorebird spp. were seen in the daytime, Wednesday 4/29 in Manhattan, by 
various observers. And then, there were more than 130 species, & over 20 spp. 
of warblers, on Wednesday alone in Manhattan. That’s how quickly migration can 
happen this time of year.  It also may give a wrong impression; numbers of most 
species of migrants are still quite low & for many have just barely begun to be 
found locally. The coming month will provide a better picture of what is 
happening in this spring migration.

A flock of at least 14 Forster’s Terns were seen and heard calling in the N.Y. 
Harbor adjacent to Governors Island (which is closed & may still be through 
May), from a ferry passing by that island, on 4/28.

The long-staying (over 6 months) RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was still in its favored 
territory in Central Park thru the period. A YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was found 
at the Loch in the north end of Central Park on Wed. 4/29, & that bird had 
other observers although also went high & was difficult to find for many hours 
on day of its discovery. It seemed to move a bit south as the day went on, 
staying high in tall trees, possibly moving to the NW corner grove or vicinity 
of the N. Meadow (some of which is fenced). While a first for Manhattan, it is 
not at all first for N.Y. City as at least 3 other boroughs (counties) have had 
the species noted this season, the first of those quite early, in Queens 
County, NYC. (That early-bird was reported from a small state park along the 
East River in westernmost Queens, Gantry S.P., but was not re-found in the 
following days).

--
Tuesday, 4/28 - Light northerly winds from Monday night into Tues. a.m. helped 
keep some birds already present in place, while also allowing for some exodus 
and some new arrivals & reinforcement, albeit modest, of species that had 
(barely) been arriving.  Tempertaures started out quite cool but warmed to well 
into the 60’s [F.] by mid-afternoon.

A (1st-summer) male Blue Grosbeak continued at Fort Tryon Park in northern 
Manhattan. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were again seen in Manhattan, as was 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird. For at least 6 days in a row, the lingering 
Grasshopper Sparrow at Central Park continued to have onlookers. Modest no’s. 
of fly-over species were noted, including some Bald Eagles, one of which (an 
adult) overflew the C.P. reservoir causing a ruckus for many of the gulls & 
other birds there (& not the first time for that, this spring); also noted were 
a few Black Vultures along with more-common Turkey Vultures. A Bank Swallow was 
photographed at the C.P. reservoir; also seen there were the 3 other 
more-common swallow spp. that are regularly found in migration in Manhattan, 
and Cliff Swallow, which is an annual migrant thru Manhattan, but 
less-commonly-seen, was also found at the C.P. reservoir.  Warbling Vireos were 
‘discovered’ for some additional observers in Central Park, where a few had 
been singing for more than several days.  Warblers were found in very minimal 
numbers yet there were still at least 10 species of them noted on the day in 
Manhattan. 

--
Wednesday, 4/29 - Winds went very light to near-calm on Tues. night, and a LOT 
of migration occured just about all much thru the region. By far the strongest 
migration arrival for diversity of neotropical-wintering birds of the spring so 
far, as reports will attest to; very cool (for the date) weather, with low 
clouds & some fog meant that many just-arrived migrants were feeding about 
non-stop for most of the day.  THE birds of the day for rarity were (as noted 
above) the EASTERN WILLET seen moving north along the East River, & the 
SANDHILL CRANE photographed & observed by three birders both on 4/29. Both are 
remarkably rare for N.Y. County.

A Wood Thrush was singing from one observer’s Manhattan yard in the W. Village 
before sunrise-hour.  There were at least single Wood Thrush[es] in these 
smaller Manhattan parks: Bryant, Union Square, Washington Square, Tompkins 
Square, U.N. headquarters plaza, St. Nicholas, Battery, & probably some others 
as well - a fairly strong push of the species; yet more will be on the way soon.

Also among all these ‘new’ birds were a very strong push of Yellow-rumped 
Warblers, often an indicator (when so many are noted) that a lot of other 
species are possible in the area. And this proved to be so for this day:  
Warbler species-diversity at least doubled on the day & some species were seen 
in their first good numbers for the county (such as Yellow Warbler, for 1 
example, & Black-and-white Warbler, for another).  The flight in first hour may 
have had some many hundreds of Myrtle [Yellow-rumped] Warblers, but that is 
somewhat ‘light’ by comparison to typical big arrivals of the species in which 
thousands, or many thousands, can be moving in one morning’s early a.m. 
flights.  There were 20 species of warblers (that I am aware of & also saw) for 
the 1 day, 4/29. That’s quite good for this spring, but is hardly an 
unprecedented species-diversity at that date in this city.  We will hope for 
some far-better migrations to come.

Gray Catbirds came in, esp. on 4/29, but the bigger arrival is still to come of 
that species; to find perhaps 40 or 50 in a park the size of Central is very 
nice, but is not yet the mass that will soon be found.  There were also still 
at least a few of these in locations and exact numbers from when those few had 
overwintered, a prime example being Bryant Park, where on the morning of 4/29 
for a short visit, I found just 1 almost-certain new arrival to that location, 
a single Wood Thrush (Hermit Thrush seen there may well have wintered, & few of 
the latter were noted by me; there were no warblers at all found in my short 
25-minute walk there).

More than 300 Chipping Sparrows at the n.w. corner lawn areas of Madison Square 
Park (mid-Manhattan) at 9:30 a.m. on 4/29. Oddly, very few other migrants there 
relative to that major single-species fallout, & a partial-proof that indeed, 
“birds of a feather [can] flock together”.  On 4/30, a single flock of 128 
Chipping Sparrows on the Central Park lawn-bowling green, near about W. 70th. 
There were other good counts of this species in the 3-day period; notable too 
that these can be fairly easily missed in such no’s. when the majority go into 
tall trees, where they may take cover, & also feed at length.

--
Thursday, 4/30 - Rain moved in overnight from late Wednesday, while there was 
quite a lot of migration taking place ‘ahead’ of that rain’s arrival into the 
NYC area. Winds strengthened out of the east, & temperatures did not moderate 
all that much thru the day, but some brightening of a leaden sky was helpful 
and welcomed, & may have inspired a bit more song from a variety of 
newly-arrived or lingering (& resident) birds. One bird in particular I spent a 
bit of time seeking to re-find on Thursday was the Yellow-throated Warbler seen 
in & near the Loch of Central Park on Wed., 4/29 by only a few observers, & no 
photos obtained as far as I know. My Thursday search for that was unsuccessful, 
but that is a species which can hang in & may be yet in that area; worth 
keeping ears & eyes out for one. It was a first for the county, but not for 
N.Y. City this year; other counties have seen a few.  Some, or perhaps even 
many, of species found on the big arrival day of 4/29 were still present to 
4/30, however many individual birds also moved on.

--
Among the many species seen in this 3-day period, in N.Y. County -

Canada Goose (many including some pairs with goslings)
[Atlantic] Brant (many continue on the waterfront in some locations)
Wood Duck (drake still present at the Meer in Central Park)
Gadwall (multiple)
American Black Duck (multiple)
Mallard (common)
Northern Shoveler (very few remaining on Central Park waterbodies)
Green-winged Teal (1 noted from United Nations HQ area, e. side/Manhattan,4/29 
- A.Farnsworth)
Bufflehead (multiple, but not many remain now)
Ruddy Duck (very few remain now)

Red-throated Loon (few, all either as fly-overs, & 1 or 2 on lower East River)
Common Loon (multiple fly-overs, esp. on 4/29)
Double-crested Cormorant (many, including many flyovers, & in northbound groups 
thru the period)

American Bittern (1 detected on Nocturnal Flight, thru analysis-listening to 
calls, moving past East River side of Manhattan, after 1 a.m. on 4/29; 
A.Farnsworth)
Great Blue Heron (small no’s. of fly-bys & also several still around favored 
feeding areas in a few locations)
Great Egret (many fly-bys, & smaller no’s. in parks at favored feeding areas)
Snowy Egret (many fly-bys, esp. so within the well-known established flyway 
east-west & reverse, over Manhattan in the ‘latitudes of between about 96th to 
125th Streets, also elsewhere)
Green Heron (a nice find for Morningside Park was this species seen & photo’d. 
there by S.Chang on 4/29)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (multiple; a lot of these may be seen in after-dark & 
pre-daylight hours)

Black Vulture (multiple sightings, some of up to five together over Manhattan)
Turkey Vulture (multiple sightings and multiple birds)

Osprey (multiple fly-bys)
Bald Eagle (multiple; a fair no. of reports from 4/28 in particular)
Northern Harrier (fly-over reported from lower Manhattan, 4/28)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (at least several)
Cooper's Hawk (few reports, still some moving)
Red-shouldered Hawk (several reports & at least one photo’d., all on the move)
Broad-winged Hawk (few reports, all of fly-bys or of distant soaring 
individuals; N.B. - major passages of this species recently along NYS’ Lake 
Ontario shores, via hawk watch reporting)
Red-tailed Hawk (widespread in NYC; many will be nesting now)

Virginia Rail (still being seen at Loch of Central Park at least to 4/28)
American Coot (one continuing on in Central Park, at The Pond thru the period; 
not sure of sightings for the C.P. reservoir now)
SANDHILL CRANE (one seen by 3 observers flying over north end of Central Park, 
4/29; afternoon; 2 photos - K.Chaya, U.Mitra, spotted by T.Perlman)

EASTERN WILLET (ultra-rare for Manhattan; 4/29, flying north up East River - 
A.Farnsworth)
Killdeer (several sightings on Manhattan and also present at Randall’s Island)
Greater Yellowlegs (one dropped in at Inwood Hill Park, 4/28, multiple obs., & 
then 5 were seen at Inwood on 4/30, by N.Souirgi & also by N.O’Reilly)
Solitary Sandpiper (several on 4/28-29-30; several locations)
Spotted Sandpiper (multiple, inclding some along waterfront areas of Manhattan, 
esp. along Hudson river)
Wilson's Snipe (at least 1, 4/29 near Harlem 125th St. piers)
American Woodcock (1 report from 4/29, lower Manhattan)

Laughing Gull (small no’s. esp. on the East River, also on NY Harbor, with 
effort; and some other locations)
Ring-billed Gull (still in modest no’s.)
[American] Herring Gull (common)
Great Black-backed Gull (fairly common)
Forster's Tern (flock of 14 out near n. end of Governors Island in N.Y. County, 
from ferry, 4/28)

['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove (common)
American Kestrel (fairly widespread, many are nesting)
Merlin (a few reports of fly-bys)
Peregrine Falcon (frequently reported; nesting taking place in NYC, including 
multiple Manhattan locations)
Eastern Screech-Owl (resident on Manhattan)
Chimney Swift (fairly numerous by 4/29, some flocks of several dozen at times; 
many observers, locations)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (multiple locations & observers by 4/29)
Belted Kingfisher (at least a few ongoing, plus passage migrants)

Red-headed Woodpecker (remaining in its 6+ months-long territory in Central 
Park, near West 97-99th Sts.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (widespread)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (not yet ‘rare’, some are lingering in small 
greenspaces, also still passing thru larger parks)
Downy Woodpecker (fairly common)
Hairy Woodpecker (modest no’s., a bit more likely found in northern Manhattan)
Yellow-shafted Flicker (still fairly common, with passage migrants on 4/28 & 
4/29, but not in very high numbers)

Eastern Phoebe (still few lingering &/or some late-ish passage migrants; 
multiple parks & a few other locations)
Great Crested Flycatcher (4/29, Central Park- north end; by 4/30 there were 
more sightings in more locations, but not that many yet)
Eastern Kingbird (first found at Fort Tryon Park, 4/29; various other sightings 
same day, including Central Park & elsewhere, multiple obs. -N.B. this species 
regularly breeds in N.Y. County)

White-eyed Vireo (several, esp. detected in Central Park by both song, calls, & 
of course visually)
Blue-headed Vireo (many)
Yellow-throated Vireo (at least several in several parks, & more than one in 
Central Park)
Warbling Vireo (starting to be detected by more observers, and from multiple 
parks & locations within parks; a further fresh but modest arrival, 4/29) 

Blue Jay (many, including some nesting for a while already)
Common Raven (at least several; multiple locations including Central Park)
American Crow (multiple, also nesting in many locations scattered all over)
Fish Crow (few noted, nesting some areas)

Tree Swallow (more common than is realized, some around that are feeding & thus 
fairly low, but also pronounced passage still ongoing)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (fairly common now, many locations, including 
fly-bys on passage)
Bank Swallow (continuing, & also nicely-photo’d. on 4/28 by P.Shure at Central 
Park reservoir)
Barn Swallow (now common, many fly-bys at many locations, and regular over some 
fields, lawns, water-bodies, also along both Manhattan-side rivers: East, & 
Hudson)
Cliff Swallow (still present early a.m. at Central Park reservoir; multiple 
observers in recent days)

Black-capped Chickadee (scarce, a few from a few locations)
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (no reports for the period that I’m aware of - ?)
Carolina Wren (fairly common, scattered locations, mainly noted in the 
mid-to-larger parks)
House Wren (increasing no’s. & some on territories)
Winter Wren (less-common now, at least a few still being found thru the period)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (at least one to 4/29, getting late, in Central Park; 
several observers)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (fairly common, can be overlooked a bit with the stronger 
push of brightly-colored species in these good arrival-days)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (multiple, but not that many, both sexes & some in 
smaller parks & greenspaces)

Veery (nice albeit modest arrival by 4/29, in at least several parks & a few 
greenspaces, & some also photo’d.)
Hermit Thrush (by far - for now - still the most-noted Catharus-genus thrush, 
in the hundreds thru all of the county for 4/30 & prior days)
Wood Thrush (fairly good further arrival by 4/29, in multiple locations in 
multiple parks & other greenspaces, a few also in courtyards & so forth)
American Robin (abundant, many also nesting)

Gray Catbird (modest arrival, for a species that will soon be very common, by 
4/29 although at least some arrival had been noted previously; in many more 
locations by now)
Northern Mockingbird (common & widespread)
Brown Thrasher (now uncommon, some may be nesting - do NOT disturb nesting 
birds, please; this is a species in decline in some regions)
European Starling (superabundnat)

Eastern Towhee (numbers dropped off - and yet still many around thru the period)
Chipping Sparrow (many hundreds on passage, some also acting like on territory)
Field Sparrow (still in numbers and multiple locations)
Savannah Sparrow (still not too uncommon, and many locations)
Grasshopper Sparrow (ongoing at Central Park, same location, thru Thursday 4/30)
Song Sparrow (still f. common)
Swamp Sparrow (widespread)
White-throated Sparrow (still very many passage migrants, in all sorts of areas 
in the county)
Slate-colored Junco (much less numerous, but still here & there in mostly-small 
no’s. at a time)

Scarlet Tanager (few so far, still on ‘early’ side, in several parks thru the 
period; many more should be seen in May)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (increased by 4/29; both sexes; multiple locations, many 
observers)
Blue Grosbeak (as noted above, the 1 first-year male continued at Fort Tryon 
Park, thru 4/30)
Indigo Bunting (very scarce since initial sightings in Manhattan)

Red-winged Blackbird (the later flights of these have continued; I found a 
flock of about 75, including many females, on the Great Hill of Central Park in 
the a.m. rains of 4/30.)
Rusty Blackbird (few, at least to 4/29)
Common Grackle (common, also some still on the move thru the period)
Brown-headed Cowbird (very common, & many on the move)
Orchard Oriole (multiple locations, including a few in odd sites; also in some 
sites where breeding has occurred in the past)
Baltimore Oriole (not yet common, but now widespread in some of parks where 
they breed & also many passing through)
House Finch (fairly common and breeding)
American Goldfinch (many, many locations, often high in trees at this time of 
year, also often singing and NOT yet breeding)
House Sparrow (ubiquitous)

- ALL of the 20 species of American warblers noted from this 3-day period are 
listed above in this report; the peak-diversity for them SO FAR was 4/29. Many 
(most) species are yet to arrive in the expected numbers on migration.

——
Best wishes for a better - & birdier - month of May to all. Please continue to 
follow best protocols for the times we are living in.

Tom Fiore
manhattan




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