Manhattan (in New York County, & in N.Y. City) 
Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, May 29:

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Tuesday, 5/26 - Great migration overnight Monday-Tues., for much of N.Y. state, 
a bit less for the city than points to the west & north but a lot of fresh 
arrival anyhow, into the early locally-dense fog. At last, some of the 
later-moving migrants have been showing in numbers, Red-eyed Vireos for one 
clear example, 2 weeks later than a more-typical peak arrival. Also coming in 
large numbers at last were American Redstart, and a number of other warbler 
species in at least modest fresh arrival. The sounds & sight of Eastern 
Wood-Pewee at last also made itself more known all around - a few were even 
noted out in street-trees in the early foggy morning. As many as 22 species of 
American warbler showed in Manhattan this day, a fairly good diversity for the 
date. Hooded, Worm-eating, Prairie, & even (at least a few) Yellow-rumped 
[Myrtle] Warblers joined the fray.  Several Summer Tanagers were again seen 
with at least one in Central Park, & also one (a singing male) seen in Fort 
Tryon Park quite late-day, w. of the Heather Garden area there.

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Wednesday, 5/27 - Another night (Tues.) of good migration area-wide, with the 
flow of birds much more inland & away from N.Y. City… but some arrival as well 
as onward-exodus. There is also, as in many recent days, a fair morning-flight, 
one that can be hard to see, but is there for some time as birds continue to 
move in the preferred direction (& some also re-orient, in various directions 
besides northerly ones) for a few hours as first-light commences at about 4:40 
a.m. and onward, locally in N.Y.C.  It’s been good to see & also see reports of 
Chimney Swift in numbers more akin to what is expected for May & particularly 
by the latter part of May. Also finally showing in more reasonable numbers, 
albeit for 2 spp. that can be quite late to pass on spring migration, have been 
both Black-billed & Yellow-billed Cuckoos. 

A fairly typical sighting of Mourning Warbler was obtained in Central Park, 
with one at The Pond (C.Weiner) & that just one of what may have been a modest 
number of the species passing in the last 10 days or so. By now, a lot of these 
have reached various breeding areas, however the species can also still be 
moving, passing through, well into early June. Often tough to find if not 
singing, but now & then they are a bit more cooperative. (There’ve been some 
others in Manhattan, and likely the most-watched having been a different 
individual in Central Park).

The at least 7 Semipalmated Sandpipers found & photographed (J.DiCostanzo, et 
al) at Inwood Hill Park’s lagoon flats were the most-notable occurrence of 
migrants on the day. A rather late Blue-headed Vireo was seen at Riverside Park 
(A.Drogin) although that, and many other species of migrants, were late to very 
late in still being seen nearing the end of May, in a city where many do not 
breed, as with the latter bird - but also, that species has been showing in 
other boroughs (counties) of N.Y. City as well, none expected to breed in the 
city.

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Thursday, 5/28 - The migrations kept on - and, for most part, went over & 
around & beyond Manhattan, at least in comparsion with all of the prior 4 weeks 
or so. Even with 11 warbler species tallied up for all the day around 
Manhattan, & a scant diversity of other actual migrants, the feeling was of 
near-end-of-May…!  The 6 Killdeer (4 of them youngsters) on Randall’s Island 
were seen again, & parents doing a good job as defenders, and a Yellow-crowned 
Night-Heron continued there as well. A steady procession of Barn Swallow were 
going north from the northeast tip of Randall’s. While there are dozens of 
locally-nesting Barns, these were birds not returning to any nests or coming 
around; just pushing on - north & north. (As an aside, for some wonderful 
summer or anytime reading, see if a library or other source have the 
non-fiction book, “A Single Swallow. Following an Epic Journey from South 
Africa to South Wales”, by H.Clare [2009] - it is about the migration of the 
Barn Swallow, the swallow that is also found in so much of the rest of the 
world. It’s also about Africa, as that’s where so many of the U.K.’s Barn 
Swallow are found in their non-breeding months.)

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Friday, 5/29 - Ongoing southerly wind-air flow kept some migrants moving yet 
again. A lot kept going again, north and west of N.Y.C. - but, in terms of 
diversity, at least some still in evidence with a small number of lingering 
migrants, & at least a bit of new arrival, mostly of very common species such 
as Red-eyed Vireo, & also swallows. A bit more vocal in some areas of 3 parks 
(Central, Morningside, Riverside-north) were E. Wood-Pewee, & there were a few 
Empidonax, including Acadian Flycatcher, vocal in the morning. The northern 
half of Central Park was on my beat & I was comparing sound & sights directly 
to a route I’d been on in prior days, also taking in other parks later. A drake 
Wood Duck has remained in Central Park, not unprecedented as a summering bird 
there.  Cedar Waxwings showed they’re continuing to move, with some modest 
flocks -above ten in numbers- seen flying high and northbound, in the first 
hours of Friday.

Some of the warbler species still being seen in Manhattan (a very few of them 
also at Randall’s Island) in N.Y. County for this week so far...

Blue-winged Warbler (scarce now)
Tennessee Warbler (become esp. difficult to state it mildly, once females of 
this sp. are passing, high in fully-leafed-out trees much of time)
Nashville Warbler (scarce now)
Northern Parula (far fewer than prior week)
Yellow Warbler (ongoing, esp. in areas where they may at least attempt breeding)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (not common but still some non-singing as well as some 
males that are)
Magnolia Warbler (fewer than prior week)
Cape May Warbler (now scarce)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (fewer than prior week)
Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler (scarce)
Blackburnian Warbler (scarcer by now)
Prairie Warbler (scarce by now)
Bay-breasted Warbler (few now)
Blackpoll Warbler (still f. numerous to Friday, 5/29 - likely the most-common 
warbler of the week)
Black-and-white Warbler (few)
American Redstart (fewer than prior week)
Worm-eating Warbler (scarcer by now)
Ovenbird (rather scarce now)
Northern Waterthrush (a very few have lingered, in same sites for days & days - 
plus a few here & there in odd ‘out-of-habitat’ passage-places, at times)
Mourning Warbler (a typicaly-under-reported species which is not rare;  hope 
for singing birds & learn the species calls as well)
Common Yellowthroat  (ongoing, esp. in areas where they may at least attempt 
breeding)
Hooded Warbler (very few that are being seen)
Wilson's Warbler (now few)
Canada Warbler (few)

So, yes that is 25 species of American warblers… however, many were in low 
single-digits, & a few may have been singletons found, for the entire week (?) 
In just Central Park on Friday a.m. I found 11 of these warbler spp. in the 
north end, defined as north of the 96-97th St. transverse to 110th Street. A 
few additional spp. were in other parks, as well as in lower Manhattan &/or in 
other sections of Central.

Very tough to find now have been migrant thrushes, the exception being perhaps 
Gray-cheeked, with at least some of that species having been found and also a 
few singing - making it clear that they were not the also-migrating in late May 
Bicknell’s Thrush.  And of course there are some Wood Thrush here & there as 
that species attempts to breed annually in Manhattan, with at least a bit of 
success, the more so where their habitat is less-disturbed.

Some of the lingering birds are still in some smaller greenspaces & parks, an 
example being Bryant Park, in midtown, which still had an Am. Woodcock, along 
with female E. Towhee, and some of the other species that have been there for 
many weeks, & some much longer. Also lingering on have been a very few Y.-b. 
Sapsuckers in some small parks in Manhattan, White-throated Sparrows & a few 
warbler spp. of which some can even be seen to summer occasionally in the city, 
without breeding.

Migration will continue on as it always does into June, and there can be 
unexpected surprises too.  Many many more insects & arthropods are emerging in 
warm summer-y weather. Trees locally have been coming into full leaf, and some 
summer flowers are already in bloom, as are many that used to be most-typical 
of June.

good -and safe- birding & nature-observing to all,

Tom Fiore
manhattan 




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