Manhattan (part of N.Y. County, in N.Y. City) - May 8th through May 13th: Arrivals included LEAST SANDPIPER, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, KENTUCKY WARBLER, MOURNING WARBLER - as well as many species of migrants that heretofore had been rather sparingly or even just singly. A few “gray-cheeked” type thrushes were apparent by Monday, 5/11. The single Bobolink seen by many in Central Park and a ‘lifer’ for some newer birders, was one of a number passing thru recently, which typically are not quite as obliging (or tired of flighting high winds) as the single male seen Saturday in the Ramble. For a bit of diversion, there was also a Yellow-breasted Chat very nearby to that bobolink & also seen by multiple observers, eventually on Sat.
The amazing (6+ months staying) RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in Central Park stayed on into the 2nd week of May, seen to at least May 13th (many many observers). And there were two, with a 2nd passage-migrant Red-headed arriving for Central on Wed., 5/13. - - Friday, May 8 - A mix of drizzles, rain, clouds, but a start of the day with 90+ minutes of sun. Tremendous day overall for warbler-diversity, in particular. A singing male Kentucky Warbler present all day at Central Park’s Loch was among the highlights along with a (continuing) male Golden-winged Warbler in Riverside Park, a not-so-high Cerulean Warbler at the s. end of Central Park, & a minimum of a dozen Cape May Warblers in various locations around Manhattan (likely many more than that, in all), with a total of at least 29 American warbler species found on the day just in Manhattan alone. More than 60 observers were out & about, finding migrants in many, many locations, all around town. That Riverside Park warbler was almost certainly the most-visited bird of that park since the long-lingering male Evening Grosbeak that had been a fixture in a prior recent winter into spring, which brought hundreds & hundreds of visitors over its’ long, long stay. The Golden-winged at times received up to 30-40 observers at one time, & far more in total for its full stay - thanks again to A.Drogin for his reporting and his birding a dedicated ‘patch’ around that very nice park. A [Red] Fox Sparrow was photographed in Central Park (A.Simmons) & seen by multiple observers; there were a couple of reports of American “tree” sparrow which at such an extraordinary late date for Manhattan should be photo or video documented; note: some spring Chipping Sparrows can have a hint of a central breast-pin, &/or feathers out-of-place in windy conditions. -- Sat., May 9 - Big west winds, with temperature dipping into the 30’s (F.) & not far north of N.Y. City, a bit of snow for this 2nd weekend of May. Later in the day, temp’s. moderated very slightly into the 40’s. An American Bittern, at least the 3rd appearance in New York County this spring, sat in a tree in Central Park for the first in-place showing of the species there for the year. Yellow-breasted Chat made its appearance, also in Central Park - an annual, but often shy visitor to the city & to Manhattan’s parks & greenspaces. Also annual, usually both spring & late summer-fall, but rather rarely detected, Bobolink made a drop-in-&-stay a while appearance and in the Ramble, where a lot of folks could actually view (a male), in Central Park (as others made it thru and likely did not linger as the one did). Both of these were photographed, the bittern in particular by dozens & seen by dozens & dozens more, including curious passersby. Several Cliff, Bank & the 3 more-typical & commonly-seen swallow species were found over the Central Park reservoir, watching from west & NW edges, throughout the day, esp. afternoon. The least common of these is actually Bank, in terms of well-described sightings for the location, overall. The few Tree Swallows seen may not have lingered, while Barn were by far most numerous, into the many dozens at all times. Chimney Swifts were also present in fair numbers over the reservoir (& elsewhere) and on the water there were at least 2 lingering Bufflehead (down from the minimum of 7 of that small diving-duck, from 5/5 at same location, as seen then also by many obs.) The 2 seen on 5/9 were female & male, & together. (It is not at all rare to find various duck species mate or at least act-out mating ritual, well before reaching a breeding-area, even when they may be very far from such an area; this is indeed fairly common, in many duck spp. in our region as winter gives way to spring and duckage is closely-observed.) Once again, at least 29 American warbler species were found in Manhattan, plus a Y.-br. Chat which is an unusual species not quite placed in a category with warbler, icterid, nor tanager. (birds with the common English epithet of ‘chat’ are many in the world, and this one, the Yellow-breasted, is unrelated to pretty much most of the rest of the ‘chats’ in other areas; see a list of birds of the world for a bit more, & some of the taxonomic thinking is spread thru many scientific papers, articles, and some relatively recent books in print.) - - - - - There were again quite decent numbers of some of the more-numerous & more-readily-spotted migrant birds in Manhattan this day, with some species likely reaching either their peak or near-peak passage in this county for the spring. A possible example was Scarlet Tanager, with some individual observers finding 10 or more in a birding-session even in just one park, & multiples of the species being seen in small greenspaces, street trees in many locations, and in general in very good numbers through all of the island of Manhattan - one can readily expect that many hundreds or more were in N.Y. County just on the day. There were a few instances of 5 or more individuals of the species visible at once simultaneously, which is hardly so unusual at peak migration, but also not so commonly-obsevered here. As is often so, some of the best sites to find many of this species were near the Hudson river (parks) and in particular, in northern Manhattan, which still has some very mature old-growth woods. -- Sunday (Mom’s day), May 10 - Winds beginning to quiet (and esp. so for parts of late Sat. night into pre-dawn of Sunday), & temp’s still very much below-normal for the date, although much better-milder than the day prior with a recovery to above 60 (F.) by late-day. As previously reported, a male BLUE Grosbeak was found by B.Inskeep at the north end of Central Park, & photographed by she & I in the morning. A bit later, B.I. also spotted the lingering RED-HEADED Woodpecker at its usual area, & we also saw it fly across the park road, then back to its most-regular grove of trees. -- Monday, May 11 - A west-southwesterly flow of slightly milder air arrived from Sunday night. A further extensive migration occurred - one which propelled some migrants far far north, on into Canadian breeding areas, as well as throughout the northeastern U.S. in many places. There were many Great Blue Herons on the move, as well as both Great & Snowy Egrets; the Great Blues seemed far more to be working on getting north, while the egret fly-bys were more so in the east-west / west-east fly-way that exists over Manhattan (which are birds going to & from the N.J. Meadowlands areas to & from the Long Island Sound region, on a daily basis from now into late summer or early-bird ‘autumn’). Olive-sided Flycatcher was a new arrival for spring in Manhattan; one seen in Central Park. Least Sandpiper was perhaps new for the county, with at least 5 found on the Inwood Hill Park lagoon mudflats by N.Souirgi. Multiple Gray-cheeked Thrush were recorded, some by Nocturnal Flight Call operations in the night by A.Farnsworth, & others also seen in a few locations; the species-group (with Bicknell’s also possible now) had been reported by at least a few observers for a few days by now. Very late were a couple of reports of [Red] Fox Sparrow in Manhattan; these however somewhat in keeping with the overall ‘lateness’ of much of local (& beyond) migration and in particular with some species lingering here & there, which gets an extra measure of attention in heavily-birded areas. Male Summer Tanagers were reported from at least a few very widely separated locations in Manhattan, including East River Park (Corlears Hook area) & from Central Park’s north woods, & possibly elsewhere as well. It was a tremendous day for Cape May Warbler, with sightings from many locations on Manhatttan, & at least 15 seen by 2 of us birding Central Park for 12 straight hours (+ 1/2 hr. lunch break), 5:25 - 5:55 p.m., & one area having up to 7 individuals including 5 males seen at once with 2 1st-spring drab females. At Inwood Hill Park in the northern-most end of Manhattan, a minimum of 4 of this species were found, & several more also at Fort Tryon Park. One was noted at Union Square Park much farther south in Manhattan, and at least 2 from E. River Park, farther downtown or south in Manhattan, as well as one noted at Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan; there have been many others of this species recorded in various smaller parks & greenspaces in recent days. A total tally of more than thirty for Manhattan on the day seems not at all high, & is more likely low. A singing male Yellow-throated Warbler was found by J.Spindel in the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park, later having moved a bit north of there; a tough bird to see later due to its’ being mostly high to very high in fairly leafed-out trees, although still vocal at times; multiple obs. & photos - of the yellow-lored subsp./ ‘dominica’ type. A single European Goldinch was seen in Central Park’s Ramble; this species has formed small flocks at times in N.Y. County at Governors Island, & has been semi-regular in few counties of N.Y. City & southeastern N.Y. at times over a long long period, although how extensive these birds have wandered is an open question, & there may still be escapees from private ‘keepers’. -- Tuesday, May 12 - Wind turned from the W/NW by Mon. eve. & night, with colder overnight temp’s. returning - & a cooler day. Migration may have been light, but it included some exodus locally, particularly for many sparrows. A Prothonotary Warbler was seen in the Central Park Ramble / Lake shore area, early a.m., which became harder to find later in the day. Other warbler highlights for many were several Bay-breasted Warblers including 2 that showed very well at times in Central Park on the Great Hill. There were also multiple Hooded Warblers, continuing in several areas. Running late by now, at least one Palm Warbler was seen, again not far from the reservoir in Central, where a late-lingering Bufflehead continued. Cape May Warbler continued to show well for Manhattan with sightings from one end of Manhattan to the other, esp. continuing through in Central in numbers. Seen mid-morning or later, a first-year male Blue Grosbeak, in the lawn areas a little north of the W. 77th St. Central Park West entrance to Central & this bird was found by a young woman with camera or taking a phone photo and then B.Inskeep & I both photo’d this bird as well, until an American Robin vigorously chased it to near the park’s perimeter wall a bit to the north of where it had been at first. An uncommonly-seen ‘orange-variant’ male Scarlet Tanager was seen near the Pinetum of Central Park; this was my own 4th-ever sighting of this color form of the species, this being a first-spring bird; a bit of a shocker whenever I’ve first encountered this. My first-ever was well over 30 years prior, at the wonderful little Greenbrook sanctuary of northeast New Jersey. There was a very strong diurnal movement of Scarlet Tanager locally, with observers from one end of Manhattan reporting the species, in dozens of locations, and with some reports by individual observers of well past a dozen on the day. At Central Park, some were seen flying above treetop-level going both n. & south thru the morning. A visit to the Hallett Sanctuary at the s.-e. corner of Central Park provided views of 11 warbler spp. including male Canada; all seen within the sanctuary itself, in mid-late morning. A Mourning Warbler was reported in Central Park by an experienced observer, without particular comment on the sighting but from the n. end of that park. A now quite late [Red] Fox Sparrow was again seen in the Central Park Ramble & photographed (P.Reisfeld). A Yellow-breasted Chat was reported again, continuing in the Central Park Ramble (B.Yolton) where it had recently been semi-regular, but skulking in the area known as “Tupelo Meadow”. --- Wednesday, May 13 - Winds which had been gusting from the WNW much of the previous day went far lighter at night, along with (again) low temp’s for mid-May in the 40’s (F.). Some further migration occurred at least locally. Some of the migrant species present on prior days were still about in multiple parks. A Yellow-breasted Chat continued in Central Park’s Ramble. In some parks, there was still decent variety of migrant songbirds, but generally not truly great numbers of most species, and some species are still far from a peak flight or passage this spring. Very slowly, some species were increasing, such as Empidonax [gemus] flycatchers, E. Wood-Pewees, and both regular cuckoo species for the northeast. --- An attempt to include most of the birds seen in the 4 days of this report is below, but likely excludes at least some species - Canada Goose [Atlantic] Brant (still present on the rivers around Manhattan, as well as the N.Y. Harbor) Mute Swan (along East river) Wood Duck (several sightings) Gadwall (ongoing, modest no’s.) American Black Duck Mallard Bufflehead (multiple, with at least 3 lingering on the Central Park reservoir thru May 11th; 2 - male & female seen & photo’d on 5/13) Common Merganser (1 drake, fly-over as of 5/13, an oddly late sighting for N.Y. County - seen flying west high over Manhattan) Red-throated Loon (few fly-overs) Common Loon (relatively scant fly-overs) Double-crested Cormorant (many) American Bittern (Central Park, May 9 - 80+ observers thru all of the day) Great Blue Heron (strong northbound migrations on several mornings) Great Egret (good numbers, reguilar fly-overs) Snowy Egret (most often seen as fly-overs) Green Heron Black-crowned Night-Heron Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (one was detected in the vicinity of the East River, nocturnal) Black Vulture Turkey Vulture Osprey Bald Eagle Red-tailed Hawk Killdeer (scarce) Greater Yellowlegs (few) Solitary Sandpiper (relatively few so far) Spotted Sandpiper (still fairly modest no’s.) Least Sandpiper (small numbers so far) Laughing Gull (modest no’s. esp. on the E. River & in the harbor) Ring-billed Gull [American] Herring Gull Great Black-backed Gull ['feral'] Rock Pigeon Mourning Dove American Kestrel (fairly common city residents) Merlin (apparent in photo (E.Goodman) from 5/9, Central Park - low fly-over) Peregrine Falcon (city residents) Black-billed Cuckoo (multiple but modest no’s., esp. as of 5/11 & afterwards) Yellow-billed Cuckoo (multiple, in modest no’s.) E. Screech-Owl (resident on Manhattan island) Chimney Swift (still mostly modest numbers, some occasional flocks in the 20-30+ range) Ruby-throated Hummingbird (modest no’s. ‘ongoing’ - & passing through) Belted Kingfisher (one or two into report period) Red-headed Woodpecker (ongoing, at Central Park - with TWO individuals in 2 locations as of 5/13 there - one lingering & a 2nd adult-breeding-color bird simultaneously on the Great Hill) Red-bellied Woodpecker (rather common) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (still in the multiple, & in many locations scattered around Manhattan) Downy Woodpecker (fairly common) Hairy Woodpecker (few) Yellow-shafted Flicker (modest numbers) Olive-sided Flycatcher (one report, Central Park) Eastern Wood-Pewee (very few, all thru the report period) Willow Flycatcher (few, some are calling) Least Flycatcher (not uncommon by 5/11) Great Crested Flycatcher (many, common on passage, & also a rare breeding species here) Eastern Kingbird (common passage migrant, and not-rare breeding bird throughout N.Y. City in appropriate habitat) White-eyed Vireo (multiple locations, a few just possibly lingering) Blue-headed Vireo (ongoing thru the period, but rather fewer than for the week prior) Yellow-throated Vireo (ongoing, nice numbers being found thru the report period) Warbling Vireo (common passage migrant, and not-rare breeding species in N.Y. City in appropriate habitat) Red-eyed Vireo (not that msny sd of 5/13, uncommon to not-rare breeding species in N.Y. City in appropriate habitat) Blue Jay (common & widespread and still some evidence of v. light movements some days) Common Raven (regular, from multiple locations and observers) American Crow (regular breeder in N.Y. City) Fish Crow (less-common than above crow species, but does nest in Manhattan) Tree Swallow (rather uncommmon) Northern Rough-winged Swallow (uncommon now) Bank Swallow (at least one over Central Park reservoir, 5/11) Barn Swallow (common) Cliff Swallow (1 or two at Central Park) Black-capped Chickadee (nearly nonexistent now in most of Manhattan) Tufted Titmouse (scant) White-breasted Nuthatch Carolina Wren (multiple) House Wren (now nesting as well as some poss. still passing through) Winter Wren (several photographed, late lingerers, this report period) Marsh Wren (several, including one lingering a bit at Inwood Hill Park) Ruby-crowned Kinglet (far fewer than 1 week prior, many females now) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (ongoing; a rare breeding species in Manhattan) Veery (increased greatly in this period) Gray-cheeked Thrush (a few of this ‘type’ began to appear in this period) Bicknell's Thrush (possible - none yet confirmed, this period) Swainson's Thrush (increased in this period, some singing at times) Hermit Thrush (late movers still around - a slightly late migration overall) Wood Thrush (now very common, some attempt breeding in Manhattan) American Robin Gray Catbird (many) Northern Mockingbird (fairly common) Brown Thrasher (scattered locations) European Starling Cedar Waxwing (flocks of up to 80+ in total on 5/11, in particular) Summer Tanager (several, some lingering a day or more, & most seemingly not) Scarlet Tanager (common in this period, even almost very common, almost all are passage migrants, but can be watched-for as June comes along) Eastern Towhee (still on passage in this period; this is also a rare nesting species in Manhattan, much-declined from long-ago) "American Tree” Sparrow (these reports require full vetting, should have photos / video, it is exceedingly late for the species in N.Y. City, where not usualin spring) Chipping Sparrow (still in some numbers, some stay and attempt to breed in N.Y. County, & some succeed) Clay-colored Sparrow Field Sparrow (few remaining) Savannah Sparrow (still present in Manhattan to 5/13) [Red] Fox Sparrow (extremely late individuals, at least one photographed, to May - - - - - - -) Song Sparrow Lincoln's Sparrow (many in this period, many locations in multiple parks & greenspaces) Swamp Sparrow (common, but fewer than in prior week) White-throated Sparrow (still common, but now starting to move out; a very few may summer, a non-breeder in N.Y. City until proven otherwise) White-crowned Sparrow (excellent passage of this species, with dozens of individuals in almost 20 different parks & greenspaces, some places with multiples in 1 site) Slate-colored Junco (quite late, still a few seen in this period; often almost ‘gone' by May 1st, in Manhattan) Northern Cardinal Rose-breasted Grosbeak (very common; some may breed in the northern parks; watch for & listen in June there) Blue Grosbeak (multiple, with a few female types added to the multiple males of previous week - a very good showing of this once-quite-rare species; breeds in N.Y. City & other parts of N.Y. state in probably-low numbers; one in Central Park as recently as 5/12, a first-spring male - photographed by 3 of us) Indigo Bunting (common on passage, has nested in Manhattan in the modern-age period) Bobolink (several nice sightings for many observers - males in each case in Central Park) Red-winged Blackbird Common Grackle Brown-headed Cowbird Orchard Oriole (multiple) Baltimore Oriole (many) Yellow-breasted Chat (one, very brightly-plumaged, ongoing to 5/13, Central Park, in the Ramble - photos to 5/13) - Blue-winged Warbler (modest numbers) Golden-winged Warbler (an un-banded male continued into the start of this report’s period at Riverside Park, with more than 100 observers in total, since A.Drogin’s initial find of it there) Tennessee Warbler (very very scant to 5/13) Orange-crowned Warbler (one or more reports that included photos) Nashville Warbler (many) Northern Parula (very common) Yellow Warbler (fairly common, many more females thus of course less singing overall by this species) Chestnut-sided Warbler (increasing) Magnolia Warbler (increasing) Cape May Warbler (excellent no’s. in many plumages, with ongoing adults still fairly regular in multiple locations) Black-throated Blue Warbler (common, of both sexes) Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (fair numbers, but a truly awesome push of this species had not occurred as of 5/13 in Manhattan) Black-throated Green Warbler (many, both sexes) Cerulean Warbler (one on 5/8, s. end of Central Park) Blackburnian Warbler (good numbers continued) Yellow-throated Warbler (1 or 2 still being turned up, to at least 5/11) Pine Warbler (still one or two thru the start of this report’s period) Prairie Warbler (many) Palm Warbler (several sightings, with photos, to at least 5/12 and poss. still on 5/13) Bay-breasted Warbler (modest no’s., so far) Blackpoll Warbler (modest no’s. so far, many locations) Black-and-white Warbler (still rather common) American Redstart (increasing thru this report’s period) Prothonotary Warbler (one in Central Park on 5/12, multiple observers, photographed) Worm-eating Warbler (multiple, and thru the report-period) Ovenbird (extremely common) Northern Waterthrush (rather common, & as usual on passage, some seen far from obvious water of any kind) Mourning Warbler (one, Central Park, 5/11) Common Yellowthroat (very common indeed) Hooded Warbler (multiple areas and parks, with some females) Wilson's Warbler (good numbers, increased within report period) Canada Warbler (modest numbers so far) - Purple Finch House Finch American Goldfinch European Goldfinch (just a note that one of this species was wandering into Central Park recently; I don’t have more details; the species has been seen on Governors Island & elsewhere in N.Y. City over recent times, but may or may not be breeding? And there may be escaped pet birds even now?) House Sparrow ------ This is a link to an article that appeared in the New York Times, as an opinion piece, regarding bird-watching as we also all live through a pandemic and its many repercussions - it’s by David Sibley. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/opinion/sunday/bird-watching-coronavirus-lockdown.html <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/opinion/sunday/bird-watching-coronavirus-lockdown.html> (I have no vested interest, personal or professional, in Mr. Sibley’s work nor that of the N.Y. Times.) I might add, in this short and straightforward list of ‘tips’ and ideas, there is one which has struck me, as a birder for a long time, a very long time. There is a tremendous amount of information available to us as observers of birds if we are watching, in seeing the bill of a bird or birds. And if & when we are also listening, then the information that is available is tremendous. To pay attention, real attention, long and studious attention, to just these two things about many birds, is to learn a great deal. (As an aside; some 22 years ago or more, I had the luck and honor of going into the well-known Ramble of Central Park in manhattan with 2 birders: Kenn Kaufmann and David Sibley. After a delightful time in a leisurely walk, we three came out to the edge of the wooded area, and I assumed the walk was about done for us. Maybe they also did. And then, a bird sang. It was a Black-throated Green Warbler, and was neither particularly near nor very far off, for a trio who each had binoculars, and some ability to listen. It was a quiet, cool day in the park. And then, to me rather magically - and very unexpectedly, these two birders whom I barely knew other than by reputation, through their art and works, started to discuss the warbler we were observing - aurally and visually observing. That discussion went on for one full hour and had some of the most nuanced and impassioned private conversation on a single bird, on observing (listening and watching, taking note, paying attention, close attention) and on thinking about the 'nature of nature’, that I have encountered in the ‘field’ - what otherwise had been a casual, friendly, and ‘easy’ walk in the park. The quality of information conveyed between these 2 birder-naturalists was, to put it mildly, stunning, fascinating, mind-opening, and revealing, as well as humbling. Yes, the thought came over me that I wasn’t ‘meant’ to overhear all of this. So what was discussed? How to think about a bird, and what is the real nature of observation - and of understanding and trying to learn. And learning, and trying to understand. Part of that conversation revolved simply on what was happening with just the forward-most parts of that one bird - its bill, its eyes, & its vocal assembly. I’ve never quite watched or listened to any birds anywhere in the world the same way as prior to that day, that hour, since then.) I thought it was in part an illustration in action of what science is, of what art can be, and of what we as humans may be capable of when we simply pay attention. ------- “I am the originator. I am the emancipator. I am the architect.” - from an American original. R.I.P. Richard W. Penniman - 'Little Richard’ from Macon GA, to the world - The Rill Thing. good birding to all; please continue to practice safe protocols in times of world-wide pandemic. Tom Fiore manhattan -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --