Manhattan (in New York County, a part of N.Y. City) - Thursday thru Saturday, 
May 14, 15, & 16th.

AMERICAN PIPIT, & possibly some others as well.]

I visited as many as fourteen different parks in Manhattan, as well as 
Randall’s Island, in these 3 days; other observers have reported from as many 
as 30+ locations, including all of the larger parks on Manhattan island, with 
many hundreds of observers out & about in total. ALL are thanked for their 
tremendous efforts and reporting.

Thursday, May 14 - A changing day of weather, with some slight warming.

Semipalmated Sandipers were reported from Inwood Hill Park and are a confirmed 
record in eBird, with 10 individuals on Thursday (A.Barry). This Manhattan park 
has had the best shore-birding for the county so far this spring, even if the 
species-variety can’t be compared with high-quality sites on the shores of Long 
Island-N.Y.’s coast or some other NYS shorebirding sites. There were a minimum 
of 12 Least Sandpipers also seen at Inwood Hill Park by other observers, the 
latter the somewhat more-regular small shorebird of N.Y. County in migration 
(although also more regular in the return / southbound migration in general).   
There have been some shorebirds recently at the Central Park reservoir - 
observations of these are not that regular nor prolonged.

The long-long-long staying Red-headed Woodpecker was seen by a roost-tree it 
often favors, near about W. 98th St. on the west side of Central Park 
(photographed).   There are multiple Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers still in 
Manhattan which have been in some areas for weeks, if not months, & it will be 
interesting to see if any remain all the way through May - not expected to, yet 
a few just may actually summer (absolutely not breeding), as happens at times 
for a wide variety of otherwise-migrant-only species that also can & do 
overwinter, &/or some that are strictly migrants in general - such as 
Black-and-white Warbler that has more than once summered in a Manhattan city 

A Kentucky Warbler, the 2nd of spring for Manhattan, was found & photo’d. in 
the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park. An Orange-crowned Warbler was near 
the south side of The Pool in Central Park, but flew east some way. Another 
Orange-crowned was in the vicinity of the United Nations H.Q., mid-town 
Manhattan. Also seen in the latter area was a Yellow-breasted Chat, a Mourning 
Warbler, & just south - at a large construction lot (empty & weedy) - a Blue 
Grosbeak.   There were again easily 2-dozen++ Cape May Warblers around 
Manhattan island, & within Central Park alone, more than a dozen (scattered in 
many locations, a few of which had 3 to 5 or so in one single discrete area). 

This day featured first larger arrival of Swainson’s Thrush for the season in 
Manhattan, and the door was opened a bit more for the chance of the other 
later-migrating Catharus [genus] thrush species, which are Bicknell’s and 
Gray-cheeked.  This day also featured a modest uptick in Empidonax [genus] 
flycatchers and also Contopus [genus] flycatchers, the latter being E. 
Wood-Pewee, and Olive-sided Flycatcher, of which a few arrived.  Interesting 
for N.Y. County are a couple of perhaps-just-very-late E. Phoebes, although a 
few of these may breed where not many birders look (which means, in part, 
places other than super-celeb.-Central); and absolutely-certainly NOT going to 
breed, but running late, are [Red] Fox Sparrow, and Winter Wren, in Manhattan.  
Also still lingering were Palm Warbler and (not all that late yet) Ruby-crowned 

Late in the day at Riverside Park, a wet area providing water for birds to 
bathe & drink gave looks at some migrants & a few resident or breeding species, 
including a Worm-eating Warbler & 14 additional warbler spp., plus 4 thrush 
spp. besides Robin (Hermit getting late, Wood, Veery, & Swainson’s Thrush) as 
well as Red-eyed Vireo above & some other assorted fairly common birds of May.  
This wet area is in the n. section of Riverside, west of W. 120th St.

Friday, May 15 - A day of warmth & humidity! (the first such in a while here.) 
Winds had switched from west to SSW, and a very strong arrival of additional 
migrants of many many kinds took place.  Some passing showers in the pre-dawn 
hours thru N.Y. City & north; with more showers late in the day as well.  This 
was the warmest day of the year thus far, in Manhattan & likely also in much of 
the local area.

At least 4 Semipalmated Sandpipers were found at Inwood Hill Park’s marsh for a 
2nd day of this uncommon-in-county (esp. in spring) species by same observer as 
the prior day’s discovery.

A single CASPIAN Tern was the highlight of a 150-minute visit to Randall’s 
Island (part of N.Y. County just east of Manhattan island) early Friday, a 
fly-by, & calling as well, headed roughly due west, from perhaps off Long 
Island Sound, or anyhow on a flight-path that brought it through part of NW 
Queens County to Randall’s and thence over Harlem which is north of Central 
Park (& is as large an area as that park) in Manhattan.  Great numbers of 
Laughing Gulls (more than 60) were in-transit above Randall’s Isl. during my 
visit there, all rather raucous in vocal volume.  I did a full count on the 
[Atlantic] Brant present ON Randall’s alone, 328 was the tally, in 4 discrete 
feeding groups, with one group by far the largest.  Warbler-ing was quite good 
(for a location I don’t expect to be great for that group in spring migration); 
many of the warblers were in oaks & some other trees in the northwest portions 
of the island’s sectors, or more-simply, to the west of the railroad bridge and 
mostly n. of the foot-bridge to Manhattan. Also there are more than one 
fresh-water feature on Randall’s, & the less-observed one can actually be the 
better for many songbird migrants. It’s fenced, not accessible for full walk-in 
views, but can be seen reasonably well from along the fence-line - & it usually 
contains some running fresh water, as well as very mature older trees.

At Central Park, 4 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS flew by at the viewpoint of Sheep 
Meadow’s northeast fence, just past first-light on Friday. One (at least) 
clearly headed for the Ramble area and the 3 others may have gone on 
north-bound. All were adults, with bright red ‘hoods’ showing well.   The 
reservoir at Central, in particular on its’ south, east, & west shores, as well 
as the Pond, the Lake, the Pool, & even the Conservatory Water (perhaps 
briefly) all had some shorebird passage, with the reservoir surely having the 
most - 15 shorebirds of at least 3 species, 2 Least Sandpipers the ‘least’ 
likely of them and a minimum of 12 Spotted Sandpipers, which could be viewed 
simultaneously, plus a Solitary SP also there at same hour; other sites had the 
Solitary including a few places not really other than puddle-places, and 
Spotted SP’s, for multiple locations, the latter also in multiple Manhattan 
parks on the day.

A male GOLDEN-WINGED Warbler was among the 30 spp. of American Warblers found 
in Manhattan for the day; the G.-winged was at Central Park’s Shakespeare 
Garden. A Kentucky Warbler continued on at the same location as previously (in 
Central Park). Tennessee Warblers came in, with multiple locations for 
sightings.  Mourning Warblers were found in a few locations.  A Yellow-breasted 
Chat remained in the same area of the Central Park Ramble.  At least 4 parks in 
Manhattan came up with 20 or more species of warblers on Friday - Inwood Hill, 
Fort Tryon, Riverside, and (hooray!) Highbridge Park (including both n. & s. 
sectors of the one park) - meanwhile, with 10-times the numbers of observers as 
all of these other parks, Central Park managed to achieve 30 species (+ Chat, 
no longer classified as a warbler).

Still more thrush migration, with a lot of the local-lingering Hermit Thrushes 
clearing out, and many more Swainson’s Thrush arriving, now to be the 
near-default Catharus thrush of the week ahead… or for longer thru May.

Saturday, May 16 - A most interesting weather scenario for this region and the 
again-strong migrations, taking place Friday night into Sat. morning, with 
rains on a ‘cool’ front pushing through & reaching the local N.Y.C. metro area 
late, with the last remnants of the rain system going on east thru the city 
just around daybreak Saturday.  A lot of birds were able to move out & onward, 
yet there were still many which lingered, & some new arrival also seemed to 
have occurred. 

An American Pipit, seen / heard in flight moving past the east side of 
Manhattan headed west, is a rarely-reported mid-spring migrant here, but not 
wholly unprecedented; could be called “late” if there were enough reports in 
the county in all seasons, to have more of an established phenology, but ‘late’ 
anyhow, and perhaps in keeping with a lot of late sightings this spring right 
to this date & perhaps, for some species of migrants or ‘winter’ visitors, even 
later still to come! (A.Farnsworth, obs.)

A Mourning Warbler was one of at least 1 dozen American warbler species 
attracted to a termite hatch, at Inwood Hill Park (many observers).  Riverside 
Park between West 72 Street & West 124th St. enjoyed at least 25 warbler 
species, & a small water-feature in that park’s north sector had, in over 4 
hours of close observation, at least 17 warblers show in the water; some only 
very briefly, some for multiple visits. A great many warbler spp. were seen 
north of W. 97th St. all the way to the last bits of woods south of W. 125 St. 
- one of those was Mourning Warbler.

As can often happen with the species, a Yellow-breasted Chat has been ongoing 
in the same areas of the Ramble of Central Park for many days & could well 
continue on for yet more; it’s been most-often detected in either the area next 
to or in “Maintenance Field” or in “Tupelo Meadow”, these are each in the east 
& central areas, respectively, of the Ramble.  

Two Kentucky Warblers graced totally separate locations in Central Park, & in 
some instances were being observed simultaneously in their respective 
locations, w/ multiple observers of each. Each individual also was photographed 
in their respective locations, one by multiple observers.

A minimum of 3 Summer Tanagers were found, almost simultanously in 
widely-separated areas of Central Park (& in 3 different plumages, female, 
first-spring male, and adult male); this a part of a very good & broad passage 
of the species through the region in recent days/nights. Scarlet Tanager also 
continued in good numbers, with many females also evident in addition to males.

A Yellow-crowned Night-Heron made a slightly-unexpected appearance in Central 
Park, in almost precisely the same location one has visited in other years in 
mid-spring.  This species remains uncommon at best in N.Y. County, even if seen 
in the winter months (at a different site in the same county; also very 
unexpected - into 2020).

For those (including myself) who are out listening for birds early or ‘very’ 
early, there have been thrushes singing wonderfully in many locations.  For me 
on Sat. morning, those locations included, amongst others, the Hallett 
Sanctuary/Pond area of Central Park, Battery Park, East River Park, Tompkins 
Square Park, Union Square Park, & (even before-first-light, for Wood Thrush 
only) Riverside Park-south. Gray-cheeked Thrush was heard at Hallett Sanctuary, 
through about 8:20 a.m. and the other parks each had singing Wood & Swainson’s 
Thrushes, and at Union Square, a single Hermit Thrush was amazingly giving some 
song; also Veery, in some of these locations. In addition, Gray-cheeked Thrush 
were seen in multiple areas of Central & Riverside Parks later on. There were 
‘candidates for’ the other thrush that was once-lumped in with Gray-cheeked, 
and even one call heard most-characteristic of that other species, but not seen 
and not heard to sing, yet. 

Listed below are at least some of the species found in the 3 days of May 14, 15 
& 16 within N.Y. County:

Canada Goose
[Atlantic] Brant (many on Randall’s Island have been lingering, also some on 
rivers, & at the harbor area)
Wood Duck (still a few on the move)
American Black Duck
Bufflehead (last known to be around on May 13th…)
Common Loon (multiple fly-overs, but not very many)
Loon species (a few poss. Red-throated as v. high flybys)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (still some numbers on the move, and a few lingering as well)
Great Egret
Snowy Egret (almost all seen are fly-overs moving generally east or west over 
the “Central” parts of Manhattan)
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (one individual in Central Park, 50+++ observers)
Black Vulture (mainly from northern Manhattan watching to the west & nearby)
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle (few)
Cooper's Hawk (either v. late or…)
Red-tailed Hawk
Killdeer (scant)
Greater Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper (nearly-common in numbers)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (one reporter, for 2 days in one location only)
Least Sandpiper (in a few locations - mainly at one park)
Laughing Gull (regular now, in numbers in some N.Y. County locations)
Ring-billed Gull
[American] Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern (few, seen over East River from east edge of Manhattan; obs. 
Forster's Tern (few noted, N.Y. harbor areas)
['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
American Kestrel - city residents and nesting. (Merlin also reported in this 
period, with few details)
Peregrine Falcon (city residents and nesting)
Black-billed Cuckoo (multiple, and in multiple parks)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (from many locations by 5/16)
Eastern Screech Owl (Manhattan-resident)
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher (continuing at one site)
Red-headed Woodpecker (possibly all cleared-out by 5/16. Further migrants are 
still possible, but less-likely in late May)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (multiple lingerers, late but hardly unprecedented, & 
a few could end up summering in Manhattan)
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher (multiple parks, many photographed of those seen, many 
many observers)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (near-common by 5/16)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (reports of a few, all should be observed for 
possible calls or even any rare singing)
Acadian Flycatcher (singing & calling at 2 sites in Central Park, one 
under-the-radar it seemed, in a frequented birding area)
Alder Flycatcher (reported calling & also singing a bit in a few sites)
Willow Flycatcher (several heard singing, with more seen calling)
Least Flycatcher (still by far the commonest Emidonax-genus on passage)
Eastern Phoebe (one, in an interesting location where the species has been seen 
in other years into June)
Great Crested Flycatcher (common)
Eastern Kingbird (common & a bit of diurnal flight for at least 5/15 & also 
less so on 5/16)
White-eyed Vireo (several locations, including on Randall’s Island)
Blue-headed Vireo (still some on the move thru 5/16)
Yellow-throated Vireo (multiple parks, many observers, some with photos; not at 
all unexpected now)
Warbling Vireo (common and very vocal in literally hundreds of locations)
** (Philadelphia Vireo - a possible sighting but briefly at Riverside Park, but 
no photos obtained, 5/16)
Red-eyed Vireo (common & singing in many locations)
Blue Jay
Common Raven (a few sightings or reports)
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow (common, widespread)
Cliff Swallow (still a few on the move, to 5/15)
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren (one was still present in Central Park to May 14, a very late 
Marsh Wren (an individual lingering at Inwood Hill Park - multiple observers, 
some photos & video)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (still a few at least to 5/16, in several sites)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (still not that uncommon)
Veery (multiple, but lowering no’s. by 5/16)
Gray-cheeked Thrush (many, with some singing in some locations at first-light, 
or dusk, etc.)
** (Bicknell's Thrush - a possibility in the county by now)
Swainson's Thrush (mass-arrival, thousands upon thousands in all of the county 
by 5/16, with many hundreds in some individual larger parks)
Hermit Thrush (still at least a few - but getting scarce quickly)
Wood Thrush (widespread & still many passage-migrants that will clear out in 
coming days & weeks)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
House Sparrow
American Pipit (as noted at top, a rarely-seen May migrant)
Cedar Waxwing (modest no’s. but certainly increasing, as is expected now)
Summer Tanager (multiple, perhaps up to five individuals for the county, & in 
varying plumages)
Scarlet Tanager (ongoing good movements, rather common, some obs. finding 10+ 
in a single park in a day)
Eastern Towhee (scarce now)
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow (few)
Savannah Sparrow (very modest no’s., in a number of locations to at least 5/15)
[Red] Fox Sparrow (very late-running individuals to at least 5/15)
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow (in many locations)
Swamp Sparrow (still fairly good no’s.)
White-throated Sparrow (much lowered numbers by 5/16, but hardly ‘scarce’ yet)
White-crowned Sparrow (few lingering)
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (still in no’s. thru 5/16, a few may nest in Manhattan’s 
wilder n. sector)
Blue Grosbeak (a few sightings to 5/14, but most seem to have moved on from 
prior locations)
Indigo Bunting (rather common & widespread, in many many locations)
Bobolink (multiple, esp. fly-throughs, some singing males; one also 
photographed extensively at Randall’s Island, on 5/15)
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Yellow-breasted Chat (the one in Central Park’s Ramble, seen by many, and 
sometimes a real skulker, i.e. a normal-Chat)
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler (one male at Central Park, in the Shakespeare Garden on 
Tennessee Warbler (increased, with many observations of singing males, many 
parks & other greenspaces)
Orange-crowned Warbler (one at Central Park - The Pool, 5/14; & possibly a few 
additional reports)
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler (dozens & dozens in multiple locations, thru the period; some 
sightings of 8++ in one day)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler (finally some pronounced flight, a good but not 
huge number on 5/14, 5/15 & still going on 5/16)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler (a few reports, but not all are verified)
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler (late and very scarce, to at least 5/15, several)
Bay-breasted Warbler (good no’s. in many, many locations thru the 3-day period)
Blackpoll Warbler (still not really common, but in fair no’s. by 5/15)
Cerulean Warbler (a few reports, not all are verified)
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart (became very common in the report-period)
Prothonotary Warbler (at least one, 5/14, & some other reports which are 
unverified & without many, if any, details)
Worm-eating Warbler (scarcer by 5/16)
Ovenbird (also scarcer by 5/16, although still in some numbers)
Northern Waterthrush (common and many in ‘odd’ locations on passage)
Louisiana Waterthrush (a few reports that lack good details or documentation, 
thus not considered to be that likely)
Kentucky Warbler  (at least 2 thru 5/16, in Central Park, each photographed and 
with multiple observers)
Mourning Warbler (very few, as is expected in a ‘late’-running spring overall)
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler (still a few, w/ more females by now)
Wilson's Warbler (in good numbers)
Canada Warbler (increasing)
Purple Finch (1 report which was ‘confirmed’ for Central Park)
House Finch (common & very widespread)
American Goldfinch (ongoing, numerous lingerers and passage migrants, of this 
often-much-later-to-breed species)

Some butterfly sightings of recent days in N.Y. County include:  Cabbage White, 
Orange Sulphur, Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush 
Swallowtail, Azure (perhaps so-called Summer Azure, which can emerge in 
mid-spring here), Red-banded Hairstreak, White-M Hairstreak, Question Mark, 
Eastern Comma, Red Admiral, American Lady, & Monarch. There have been many 
hundreds of other insect sightings, some of those identified to species-level, 
some to genera, some to only family, also some not beyond their order[s].  
Mammal sightings have included increasing numbers of Racoons, but decreasing 
numbers (of sightings, that is) of Coyotes. And some ongoing bat species, the 
one ID’d and documented of those being E. Red Bat.

Human-sightings also seem to be increasing, in most of Manhattan…  PLEASE 
continue to practice safe protocols including the use of face-masks or 
coverings, as the toll from Coronavirus in New York is still ongoing, the 
threat is not over and will not be all over until & unless all humans are 
inoculated by a vaccine, which is not yet made. Practice spatial-distancing as 
is possible as well, for optimum safety of others as well as your own good 
health. The pandemic is not over and the risk is still very much with us. Clean 
hands, & also equipment used, as much as is feasible with real cleanser such as 
soap & water, or a high-strength alcohol-based cleanser. We are all in this 
viral pandemic together - whether one wants it to be that way or not.

Good -quiet, safe, ethical and responsible- birding and outdoors-ing to all,

Tom Fiore


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