Manhattan (part of N.Y. County, in N.Y. City) 
Saturday, 5/30 through Tuesday, 6/2, 2020 -

New spring sightings (as fast-flyovers only) included Mississippi Kite, 
Semipalmated Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher. 

Sat., 5/30 - Several lines of showers as part of a weather front pushed thru 
the region overnight; migrants were on the move, many kept on and at least some 
dropped in, as well as some migrant birds still lingering.

Black Vulture was reported from northern Manhattan, near the Harlem river / 
Sherman creek and cove, east of Dyckman St.  Cuckoos were around the county 
again, esp. so of Yellow-billed.  Flycatchers, especially of a couple of 
Empidonax spp. - Yellow-bellied, Acadian, & Willow/Alder - these latter ID’d 
only by voice if & when vocal. And a tremendous fresh movement of Cedar 
Waxwing.   Numbers of American Redstarts actually seemed a bit higher than all 
other warblers, even the now somewhat-common Blackpolls. 

In Nocturnal Flight Call recording, fly-bys of some shorebirds that are 
rarely-reported from N.Y. County were noted (A.Farnsworth), in particular: 
Semipalmated Plover & Short-billed Dowitcher, as well as some other shorebirds, 
and a variety of other migrants.

Sunday, 5/31 - A weather change with winds from NW overnight; migration was 

For some context, it was & still may be a sort of ritual of late spring, for 
those who frequented the place, to see if, and then how many, Mississippit 
Kites might come past Cape May, New Jersey in the last week or so of May & on 
into early June.  And for years, it also was wondered what became of those 
kites that came through, heading north from that southern point of New Jersey. 
Now we know that a fair number get into the northeastern states & some nest as 
well, while there are surely some that don’t at least not in a 1st pass into or 
thru the region. It will be interesting for those watching in another 
quarter-century, what these kites, and so many other once “southern”-ish 
species will have done in terms of occurrence, including nestings, by then.

Otherwise not too much that was as unexpected or unusual on this day, with 
still at least a dozen warbler spp. found on Manhattan for the day, and also 
both Scarlet & Summer Tanagers (in Central Park) & a variety of other typical 
late-spring migrants, including both Yellow-billed & Black-billed Cuckoos. And 
still not the last-hurrahs of the Blackpoll Warbler, although numbers of them 
have slowly increased and females of the species also on the rise.

Monday, 6/1 - NW winds again, a rather chilly start to a first-of-June day here.

An American Woodcock was continuing on at Bryant Park, midtown Manhattan. That 
park is known to ‘hold’ birds for unusually long periods; there also are still 
multiple White-throated Sparrows there plus Eastern Towhee, and a very few 
warblers & also a few thrushes, at least one of which, Hermit Thrush, might 
have been there for many months - if it’s one of those which had overwintered. 
Various other small parks & greenspaces of Manhattan also have long-lingering 
birds that might be expected to have moved-on, for breeding grounds.

More generally, there were still a variety of expected later-moving migrants, 
in low to modest numbers for the date. There continue to be small numbers of 
Catharus thrush of several species, the scant and potentially-nesting Wood, a 
very few Swainson’s, & Gray-cheeked ‘types’, some of which could also be 
Bicknell’s, & of which a very few of the latter have been heard & possibly 
photographed this latter part of migration. The 2 cuckoo species continue 
moving, with Yellow-billed still more regularly found than Black-billed overall.

Tuesday, 6/2 - Winds were lighter in the night, & flow may have been from 
northwest, yet also more variable than prior 2 nights, with some light precip. 
in a few places far to the south; many birds were again on the move overnight, 
this likely included many waders (a.k.a. shorebirds in the U.S. parlance) along 
with a variety of other types of migrants.

A drake Wood Duck is lingering on at the Meer in Central Park; it’s not 
unprecdented for one or more of this species to summer in that park. At least 2 
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were again seen at Randall’s Island (part of N.Y. 
County) & that species might be watched for a chance of breeding as it does 
breed in most of the counties southwest, just east & just north of this one, 
and has increased somewhat in the current millennium-era.  There were still a 
few vocal Empidonax [genus] flycatchers in at least 3 of the larger parks today 
including Acadian, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers plus non-vocals which may 
have been “Traill’s” type (willow or alder), and there was a slightly-late 
Olive-sided Flycatcher on the Great Hill of Central Park (seen singing). 

Some Gray-cheeked & even a few Swainson’s Thrushes continued, as did a very few 
Scarlet Tamagers, & warblers of at least the following species (thru all of the 
county for the day): Northern Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape 
May, Black-throated, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, 
Wilson’s, & Canada Warbler[s], plus American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern 
Waterthrush, & Common Yellowthroat, which totals 16 species of these still 
passing thru, the 2 exceptions which do breed in the county being Yellow & 
Common Yellowthroat (with 1 other rather less-likely, but at least possible 
from other years).  It’s possible that 2 or 3 of the species noted on the day 
were seen only as singles (Blackburnian, Cape May, and poss. Bay-breasted) 
while just 4 or 5 of these made it to double-digits for the county as a whole 
on the day. American Redstart may have edged-out Blackpoll as most-seen warbler 
of the day, but perhaps not of the last 4 days.

good birding- and stay safe while out in the world,

Tom Fiore


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