In looking back, a Nashville Warbler was likely the first warbler of the year 
reported (& photographed) for N.Y. County since one was found on Randall’s 
Island, by J.Keane, on January 4, 2020.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continued on in Central Park, at its 6+ months-long 
territory into May, seen into Monday, 5/4.   A nice surprise-visitor stopped by 
to see the Red-headed Woodpecker of Central Park on Sunday - it was Lotus 
Winnie Lee!  ... Oh, another person also passing by that location on 5/3, doing 
a literal drive-by, in his big black SUV surrounded by a large escort, was the 
mayor of N.Y.C.  Note: when viewed v. early a.m. on Monday 5/4, the Red-headed 
was ‘back’ in part of territory a bit closer to the 97th St. Transverse, 
although still at least 100 feet to the north of that; it was active & moving 
around in several trees as well. It may utilize trees in a south-north ‘line' 
of up to 400+ linear feet.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was found & photographed a bit southeast & then moved to 
the west of the Great Lawn in Central Park on Sunday, 5/3. (my brief notes to 
this list on that day included the latter location.) This species has become 
less-rare in recent times as the breeding range has been expanding into the 
east & northeast of N. America. It is still far less-common in spring than in 
fall, at least in the NYC area. This individual had many obsevers & 
photographers.  (A Clay-colored Sparrow also turned up in Rye, Westchester Co., 
NY Monday, 5/4, photo’d. by G.Benson & with T.Burke, our RBA compiler for the 
southeast region of NYS.)

A (first-year male) SUMMER TANAGER was photographed in Central Park on Sunday, 
5/3 by James Roberts; the location was Strawberry Fields; report w/photo is in 
eBird. Another (or same) of that species was seen again in Central on Monday, 
5/4, around Turtle Pond, but seems it was a full-adult, ’new’ 2nd individual 
for the Monday. And there was still another Summer Tanager, a molting-to-red 
male, seen in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan on 5/4.

A male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER appeared at Turtle Pond in Central Park on Sunday 
5/3; then later sightings came from The Pool, 1 mile north, and this may have 
been the same bird from farther south in the same park, but may not have been. 
The bird at the Pool is likely the one which then moved to the Loch, which 
flows from the Pool’s eastern end waterfall. And a late-day sighting at the 
Meer could well have still been the one bird on Sunday, 5/3. There have (rather 
rarely) been more than 2 (& multiple times, have been 2, sometimes together 
incl. female/male) of Prothonotarys in that park, in past years of occurrences 
there. In addition, another Prothonotary -by description a likely male- was 
reported at the n. end of Riverside Park’s sanctuary area, next to tennis 
courts; this being about near W. 122nd St. & west of Riverside Drive (this area 
has had that species over past years, albeit v. rarely).

Hooded Warbler as well as 2 Cape May Warblers were seen & photographed 
(A.Auerbach) at Riverside Park near W. 84th St. on Monday, 5/4, with 6 
additional warbler species in that area.  Many parks in Manhattan - other than 
Central - have hosted a very good array of migrants, and other parks can be 
much less-crowded than is Central Park on most spring days.

Two (slightly ‘early') Common Nighthawks were seen on the evening of May 3rd, 
by Andrew Farnsworth, in flight in the vicinity of the East River to the east 
of Manhattan.


Friday, May 1st - After overnight rain, the wind continued from the east, 
shifting south & SW much later during the day, allowing some warming even 
without sunshine. Some new species for the year were uncovered; whether all had 
actually just arrived, or may have been present in very low numbers a day or 
more prior is hard to know; in any event, some new-for-year species were found. 

A bit oddly unexpected (for the date) was the return of a female Long-tailed 
Duck to the Central Park reservoir, after few-to-no reports of them lately from 
Manhattan’s waters (although others of the species were still in the region), a 
sign, perhaps, of an individual bird not able to or with much incentive to 
migrate onwards; there are many examples of this in waterfowl of many different 
species, which sometimes simply summer in a ‘wintering’ location, & this has 
been seen many times in the past, esp. at such well-watched sites as the 
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in N.Y. City, for one nearby example. It’s also 
found worldwide, for waterfowl.  

A male Blue Grosbeak continued at Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, and a 2nd male 
Blue Grosbeak for Manhattan which was first noted by 1 observer in Central Park 
on 4/30 (later in the day) was re-found (& also photograhed) in the same area 
for 1st of May; like the bird staying on at Fort Tryon, the Central Park bird 
was also in 1st-spring male plumage, bright but not quite all the way into that 
‘blueness' as a full-on breeding adult would appear.  Also, an Orange-crowned 
Warbler was seen by multiple experienced observers in same area of Central Park 
where the 1st-year Blue Grosbeak was seen on 5/1. The Orange-crowned was 
watched for many minutes and was well-described, & was identified on-site as it 
was observed by more than 5 birders. Two Hooded Warbler remained in Central 
Park, at opposite ends of that park. A few Red-eyed Vireos were the probable 
first-of-year of the species in N.Y. County, & from parks other than Central.

Saturday, May 2nd - Winds from the northwest, shifting west, with clearing 
skies, warming up well into 60’s [F.] by afternoon; birds on the move both 
overnight & thru the day. By day’s end, at least 26 species of American 
warblers had been seen in Manhattan.

Arrivals included at least a few Least Flycatchers (vocal & seen ‘singing’ & 
calling) from several parks; Blackburnian Warbler in Fort Tryon Park & Central 
Park; Cerulean Warbler (male, seen singing) at Highbridge Park, north section, 
a bit south of the east end of Dyckman St (N.B.- on same day, Cerulean Warbler 
also was found at least 400km. northeast of N.Y. City in eastern 
Massachusetts); Cape May Warbler (n. end, Central Park near e. part of the 
Meer), & at least a few Chestnut-sided Warblers in several parks.  An 
Orange-crowned Warbler remained in the vicinity where first found & 
photographed on 5/1, at Central Park.  Hooded Warblers were seen in at least 4 
Manhattan parks, as were Worm-eating Warblers. Bay-breasted Warbler was found 
at Fort Tryon Park (several observers). A singing male Yellow-throated Warbler 
was re-found (likely same individual of the same general area a few days prior) 
at the far-NE edges of the Loch, in Central Park’s n. end, in the area of the 
skating rink-pool that is west of the Meer. The total number of warbler species 
on the day was at least 26, for all of Manhattan. Given that, it was 
interesting that there was still not a truly sizable (day-visible) 
mass-movement of Yellow-rumped Warblers. It seemed that to some extent, the 
northern half of Manhattan held more migrants than the southern half. That 
apparent effect may simply be partly due to more & more coverage of that area 
in general, by many observers, more perhaps than in prior years.  
Black-and-white Warbler reached a point in numbers which for some, may have 
appeared as though ‘more-common’ than Yellow-rumped, however many many 
Yellow-rumped Warblers were in treetops and there was still some early a.m. 
flight, even if less so than could be expected with an arrival of magnitude & 
good diversity that was seen in Manhattan on the 2nd of May.

Sunday, May 3rd - Some showers passed thru the region overnight Saturday into 
Sunday’s ‘wee’ hours, with winds coming from the SW. The strongest overall 
migration night of the spring season (so far) took place.  Overnight temp’s. in 
the city just barely dropped off into the upper 50’s (with showers) but mainly 
had stayed in the 60’s (F.) overnight, and much milder air came in following 
the early shower activity - with many birds out in front of that warm-air mass.

There were a minimum of thirty species of American warblers found in Manhattan 
island, NYC for the period May 1-4, listed below. (and very possible a few more 
species also occurred, unreported) And of these, 28 species were present on May 
3rd alone.  The one hybrid (Blue-wingedxGolden-winged) is not ‘added' to these.

- Hybrid “Brewster’s" type Warbler (at least one of this type in Central Park, 
5/3; likely several others as well)
Blue-winged Warbler (ongoing fairly good no’s. - with a few showing strong 
hints of being hybrid forms)
Tennessee Warbler (several, seen singing as well as heard-only, multiple 
locations, including 1 not in a park, multiple obs., beginning by 5/3)
Orange-crowned Warbler (first found 5/1 in Central Park, n. end; still present 
in same area 5/2; at least one more reported on 5/4 in different area of 
Nashville Warbler (many locations)
Northern Parula (many locations)
Yellow Warbler (very many locations)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (few, beginning 5/1)
Magnolia Warbler (multiple locations, not all that many yet)
Cape May Warbler (singing male seen at n. end of Central Park, 5/2; near the 
Black-throated Blue Warbler (multiple locations, not all that many yet)
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (modest flights, but not universally witnessed; 
these have been lower in no’s. for the month so far than is typical by this 
Black-throated Green Warbler (multiple locations)
Blackburnian Warbler (first seen 5/2; several in several locations)
Yellow-throated Warbler (one continued to at least 5/1 in Central Park’s n. 
end; few observers, however)
Pine Warbler (still in the multiple, but diminished no’s., a fair number are 
now 1st-year &/or females)
Prairie Warbler (multiple locations)
Palm Warbler (many locations, still in fairly good no’s. for the dates)
Bay-breasted Warbler (5/2, Fort Tryon Park; multiple observers)
Blackpoll Warbler (several by 5/3; not at all uncommon for a few to arrive with 
such a diverse mix of other warblers in spring; in some years even in late 
Cerulean Warbler (singing male seen at Highbridge Park, 5/2; north end, just 
south of Dyckman St.)
Black-and-white Warbler (very numerous & widespread)
American Redstart (modest no’s. so far, more still to come)
Prothonotary Warbler (up to 3 reported for Manhattan on 5/3; two separate birds 
in Central Park as seen by dozens & dozens of obs., & one also reported at 
Riverside Park’s sanctuary area; further, there was a very-late-day sighting in 
Central Park at the western island in the Meer, which may or may not be same 
individual seen at the nearby Loch)
Worm-eating Warbler (multiple sightings from multiple parks by 5/2)
Ovenbird (common & widespread)
Northern Waterthrush (fairly common, widespread)
Louisiana Waterthrush (now uncommon, as is expected by the date)
Common Yellowthroat (many, but still more will be arriving)
Hooded Warbler (multiple, perhaps 8+ in Manhattan, in multiple parks & areas of 
those parks)
Wilson's Warbler (several, with multiple observers, 5/3)

Many new birds (both species & further reinforcements of species that had 
arrived in prior days) came in all through Manhattan. There were 108 Gray 
Catbirds in just one portion of Battery Park (lower Manhattan), the NW corner 
of that park, counted early Sunday, 5/3. Oddly there seemed not be a great 
variety of other migrants, although a modest passage of Myrtle [Yellow-rumped] 
Warblers took place there, and at least several other common species of 
warblers were about, as well as Orchard & Baltimore Oriole, and my first of the 
day White-crowned Sparrow - which was to be first of a good number of that 
latter species for Manhattan on the day.  The sightings from a very hasty visit 
to Bryant Park indicated obvious migrants, but not ‘enough’ to warrant a 
lengthier stay; Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orchard & Baltimore Oriole[s] were the 
main arboreal species. The warbler selection seemed limited to some 
ground-loving species, mainly Common Yellowthroat & esp., Ovenbird. Sparrows 
were about, including another White-crowned, but the numbers of all sparrows 
(besides “house”) seemed low.

Monday, May 4th - Some showers mainly off-shore of NYC moved past to the south, 
while winds shifted around out of the northwest as the day got underway, 
eventually gusting in the 20+ mph range… and clearing out from the early 
morning low clouds & dampness.  

At least a few Yellow-billed Cuckoos were showing in at least 3 Manhattan parks 
on Monday, & also still a very good diversity, and just somewhat better numbers 
of select migrants (not all) than in prior days, while certainly some birds 
also had moved on.  Worth noting that while a lot of attention is given to 
migrants in Central Park, the potential for excellent birding is found in many 
other Manhattan parks, a few of which are not covered that often by birders, 
while some are - and thus have the sightings to show for it.  At least 28 
species of American Warblers were found in the 4 days of this report which were 
NOT only in Central Park, although all of those 28 plus 2 more were found in 
Central.  Diversity of species has obviously increased dramatically, yet 
overall numbers of some species have yet to be seen in typical peaks for a 
spring here, and of course many more migrants will be expected, and 
anticipated, including a good number of later-moving migrants.   Plenty of 
migrants to see… and of many, to hear.

Among the many birds for the first 4 days of May, in N.Y. County -

Canada Goose (fairly common & some goslings are also out)
[Atlantic] Brant (multiple, all waters surrounding Manhattan)
Mute Swan (further reports from E. River)
Wood Duck (1 or 2 drakes continued at least to 5/3)
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler (at least a few into this period)
Bufflehead (scant no’s. still in several locations)
Ruddy Duck (few)
Red-throated Loon (few sightings, all fly-overs)
Common Loon  (multiple sightings - fly-overs)
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern (1 reported as fly-over, Ft. Tryon Park, 5/2 - P.Markee)
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret  (multiple sightings)
Snowy Egret  (multiple sightings)
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black Vulture (up to 3 seen on 5/3; also some singles in various locations; all 
are fly-overs)
Turkey Vulture  (multiple sightings)
Osprey  (multiple sightings)
Bald Eagle (multiple sightings)
Northern Harrier (1 flying by The Battery, s. tip of Manhattan, moving WNW, 
very early on 5/3)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (small flights of migrants on 2 days, 5/3 & 5/4)
Cooper's Hawk (few)
Red-shouldered Hawk (very few; still on the move)
Broad-winged Hawk (possible sightings, “smaller buteos”)
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot (thru at least 5/2, at The Pond in Central Park)
Killdeer (ongoing in at least one regular area)
Greater Yellowlegs (several fly-bys)
Lesser Yellowlegs (1, Inwood Hill Park, 5/2 - J.DiCostanzo; H.Russ; also seen 
later, B.Lowden)
Solitary Sandpiper (several)
Spotted Sandpiper (few on 5/2; more, 5/3)
Laughing Gull (modest no’s, mainly around N.Y. harbor or along the rivers)
Ring-billed Gull
[American] Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (at least several locations by 5/4)
Eastern Screech-Owl
Common Nighthawk (2 moving by East River, seen from east side of Manhattan, 
evening of 5/3; A.Farnsworth)
Chimney Swift (now regular)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (multiple sightings & locations)
Belted Kingfisher (small no’s.)
Red-headed Woodpecker (brightly-plumaged now; ongoing 6+ months visitor in 
Central Park, near W. 97th-99th Streets just east of the park’s West Drive)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (multiple, ongoing in a number of greenspaces, smaller 
& larger parks)
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (uncommon to scarce)
Yellow-shafted Flicker (modest numbers)
Least Flycatcher (small no’s. in many locations, some heard calling &/or 
Eastern Phoebe (few)
Great Crested Flycatcher (many locations)
Eastern Kingbird (multiple, but still not quite common)
White-eyed Vireo (few)
Blue-headed Vireo (still in some no’s. to 5/4)
Yellow-throated Vireo (became more numerous thru this period)
Warbling Vireo (widespread & some aleady on territories in N.Y. County)
Red-eyed Vireo (all 5 of the regularly-occurring spring migrant vireos seen in 
NYC every year have arrived; the least-regular passage migrant of the vireos 
here in spring is Philadelphia)
Blue Jay (fairly common & a bit of diurnal flight still going thru)
Common Raven (a few reports but fewer sightings this period)
American Crow (fairly widespread, nesting too)
Fish Crow (some have nested in the county & are doing so again now)
Purple Martin (2 in high flight, reported on 5/3)
Tree Swallow (common, esp. in extended sky-watch sessions)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (fairly common & widespread)
Bank Swallow (at least several for the period, several locations)
Barn Swallow (very common, many in migration as well seen on some territories)
Cliff Swallow (probably some passage, but apparently not reported in this 
Black-capped Chickadee (one at Battery Park on early morning of 5/3 was 
slightly notable, a presumed late migrant)
Tufted Titmouse (modest no’s.)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren (multiple)
House Wren (now v. common)
Winter Wren (a very few lingered to at least 5/2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (good passage, & less common by 5/4)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (still in fairly good no’s. to 5/4)
Veery (still in modest no’s.; more will be coming thru)
Swainson's Thrush (very few so far, & still a bit early)
Hermit Thrush (many continuing thru the period, but less common than a week or 
more prior)
Wood Thrush (fairly common, & a few probably on territory; this species 
struggles to nest in Manhattan in some parks)
American Robin (ubiquitous)
Gray Catbird (far more numerous by 5/3 - a major arrival)
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher (still a few moving thru, also some on potential nest 
territories in Manhattan)
European Starling
American Goldfinch (good numbers as more keep passing thru; these are not 
nesting at this time here)
House Sparrow 
Cedar Waxwing (several small flocks on more than 1 day, including 5/4)
Summer Tanager (1st photo-documented sighting of spring in N.Y. County, in 
Central Park, 5/3; and C.Cooper found 2nd one, an adult male, 5/4, also Central 
Scarlet Tanager (became f. common by 5/3, many in many locations and both sexes 
Eastern Towhee (still somewhat numerous, both sexes, to 5/4)
Chipping Sparrow (still in f. numbers, but a bit reduced by 5/4)
Clay-colored Sparrow (1, 5/3, Central Park, many observers & photos; quite 
scarce in spring migration in NYC)
Field Sparrow (still at least a few to 5/4)
Vesper Sparrow (Central Park, 5/3 - photographed by D.J. Ringer; also reports 
from other areas within Central)
Savannah Sparrow (few lingering or still passing)
Song Sparrow (still some apparently passing thru)
Lincoln's Sparrow (small no’s., beginning on 5/3)
Swamp Sparrow (very common, many locations)
White-throated Sparrow (very good passage, many continuing into 5/4)
White-crowned Sparrow (multiple; mostly singles, but occasionally 2 at once; 
many parks & other areas by 5/3)
Dark-eyed Junco (a few still here & there thru 5/4, getting a bit ‘late’ for 
this city in a 'more-normal' spring season)
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (at least to 5/1 in Central Park)
Common Grackle (modest no’s., many locations)
Brown-headed Cowbird (still ongoing passage)
Orchard Oriole (good arrivals, more were in by 5/3)
Baltimore Oriole (common to near-abundant by 5/3; excellent passage, also some 
on territory already)
House Finch (many locations)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (very nuerous, many many locations)
Blue Grosbeak (several, 5/3: 1 Central Park, another in Harlem neighborhood 
park, & also in upper Manhattan)
Indigo Bunting (multiple, including at least one sharing an area of Central 
Park with a Blue Grosbeak)

ALL warbler species found for the report-period are noted above.

Likely at least a few additional species in such strong migrations. Kentucky 
Warbler has appeared in a couple of other counties of N.Y., as of 5/4.  Many 
trees are leafing-out, the better to hide many small birds in fresh new foliage.

good birding and safe spatial-distancing,

Tom Fiore


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