Really amazing to see all the sightings of Roseate Spoonbills, including the 
several from several N.Y. state counties, and quite the numbers of the species 
from mid-Atlantic states - what has happened here (!); these are not simply a 
result of the recent passage of storm “Elsa”, since many of the multiple 
spoonbills in the states south of N.Y. had started to be found well ahead of 
that storm’s arrival; there is something more and perhaps bigger behind the 
near-irruption of this species so typical of (in N. America) subtropical 
locales, including of course coastal areas in Florida.  It is also notable that 
there are other wading-waterbirds such as certain herons and egrets appearing 
in inland areas (in mid-Atlantic & northeastern states) where they are 
generally rare, or even ‘new’ to particular locations.  

Somewhat farther north, in eastern Canada, a Steller’s Sea-Eagle seen (& 
photographed) by many many observers last week & into last Sunday, at 
La-Cote-de-Gaspe, *Quebec* is quite the amazing occurrence, & was an 
understandable source of some local traffic-jams! (I’ve not heard if there were 
any further sightings.)

New York County (in N.Y. City) including Manhattan, Randall’s Island, Governors 
Island, & the adjacent waters.

Among highlights, the 4 LEAST Terns seen by 4 observers, checking N.Y. harbor & 
vicinity with the passage of storm “Elsa” on July 9th, are standouts, as the 
species is not at all regular in N.Y. County.   Another nice sighting, or 
rather, set of sightings over this month so far, is from n. Manhattan’s Fort 
Tryon Park, where at least 1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird has been seen a number 
of times, & gives hope that there might have been a nesting (or an attempt), 
although no sightings have so far included the notes of any more than 1 bird at 
one time. Although presumed rare as a nester in N.Y. County, Ruby-throateds 
have been able to in the past, even though very sparsely documented for the 
modern era.

Some shorebird movement, of course having begun on the southbound start up of 
the season, with, in N.Y. County, some Least, & Spotted Sandpipers both as 
early as July 3rd (sparingly), and up thru more recently, with Semipalmated 
Sandpiper & Solitary Sandiper also already found.  Spotted SP perhaps having 
bred (or not) in areas not so far out of the city… also for Spotted, the chance 
that a few could have managed to, or to try, even if not all that likely.    
[N.B., sometimes just as storms of any sort are ending -or even in storms, if 
reasonably safe to be out looking-, there can be shorebirds, and perhaps also 
other types of migrants, ‘put down’ in even small puddles, & equally possible 
on large waterbodies, in some cases those birds moving on rapidly once a storm 
has passed, & occasionally lingering a little while; some of such uncommon or 
expected migrants are found in such circumstances, including relatively recent 
finds as well as some from very long ago years.]

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron sightings have (again) come from the Randall’s 
Island shores & vicinity, and there also have been good no’s. of Black-crowned 
Night-Herons in many more locations, esp. for observers watching at very early, 
or rather late hours, or even in evenings or perhaps at night.  We’ve also had 
some Belted Kingfisher sightings, giving hope that possibly a few may have at 
least attempted nesting; however there also may be non-breeders about or even a 
few very early to start working south.  Snowy Egrets are regular, mostly seen 
as fly-bys on their regular east or west bound passages across (mostly upper) 
Manhattan as well as some seen at / from Randall’s Island, while Great Egrets 
are far more regular and some seen in the waters, marshy spots, & various edge 
habitats of the county. Green Herons; shy now, but some are ongoing. There have 
also been an uptick in Great Blue Heron sightings & numbers.

Of warblers, the first of Worm-eating Warblers were found in 2 parks on 
Saturday, July 3rd - Central & Riverside Parks, & that date corresponded with 
the species being found (same date) in south Brooklyn (Kings Co.. N.Y. City) as 
well. It’s also not an unprecedented date for the species to be starting to 
work south, in this region.  Similarly for Louisiana Waterthrush, which was 
also present in Central Park on July 3rd, at a location which can often have 
the species, near W. 77 Street, in a small stream off the Lake.  Further, on 
that date, there were some (few, perhaps) Yellow Warblers in areas where as far 
as known, they are not nesting & have not nested, although that species is a 
potential breeder in a number of locations on Manhattan and Randall’s and 
Governors Island[s]. Some of those 7/3 Yellow Warblers were at Riverbank S.P. 
on Manhattan’s west side, as well as on the east (river) side of Manhattan, so 
in areas not having been noted for many weeks before that latter date.  
(Additional Yellow Warblers in other areas, but some may be the potential 
nesters, esp. those in potentially ‘good’ habitat, such as there is some in the 
county.)   Incidental to these sightings, it’s not the slightest unusual to 
have some southbound warblers by early July, and it’s in part the lowered 
attention to these at this particular time of year, which annulally lets a few 
(or poss. more than just a few) slip through, even in a park as typically 
heavily-birded as Central Park. And it is also not exceedingly early, & not 
unprecedented, for Louisiana Waterthrush on the latter date, as a returning 
migrant, in any location in the county. (observations may be scant so early but 
have been recorded; not all of those sightings are in modern electronic 
records).  On July 3rd, some other locations including ones well south of N.Y. 
(such as Cape May, N.J. but also south to s. Florida) had some southbound 
migration, including of a few warbler species, as well as other birds - there 
was a ‘cold' front that touched the deep south (U.S.) by 7/3.  There are still 
at least some Common Yellowthroats in at least a few locations in the county, 
including on Manhattan, & some might be or have been attempting to nest.  
Additionally, there is at least one location having had an ongoing American 
Redstart (1st-year male), but which seems to have been all on its own, thus a 
presumed non-breeder for this year - however, this last species is an 
uncommon-scarce breeder within N.Y. City. 

There have been some sightings of Turkey Vulture, mainly from the outer edges 
of the county, and we’ve had at least the 1 ongoing Wild Turkey on Manhattan, 
as well as some sightings of Common Raven.  For raptors, a minimal no. of 
Osprey sightings, & very occasional Cooper’s Hawk, plus the very numerous 
Red-tailed Hawks, & somewhat widespread urban American Kestrels & Peregrines. 
Bald Eagles seen have been scarcer this month. Other particularly aerial birds 
that are seen regularly include Tree & Barn Swallows, and in some locations 
also N. Rough-winged Swallows, with Chimney Swifts also seen regularly from 
some locations.  Of the gulls, as usual Ring-billed Gull is a lot scarcer now, 
but some have lingered here & there, with Herring, Great Black-backed, & also 
Laughing fairly regular, the latter esp. so watching N.Y. harbor & some of the 
lower rivers. Common Terns continue to be seen off Governors Island and around 
the N.Y. harbor. It will be time to watch out for the chance of other tern 
species, as the summer goes along, more so with heavy storms if in & near N.Y. 

Orchard Oriole has continued, and in some locations these are nesting (as are 
far more numerous Baltimore Orioles), and there were some light movements of 
other icterids, mostly Red-winged Blackbird and Brown-headed Cowbird, perhaps 
just local movement, &/but also not that unusual at least in modest no’s., this 
early in the 2nd half of the year. Some Bobolinks have been found on the move 
already in areas to the south of N.Y.   Of sparrows (in N.Y. County), there are 
the usual nesting Song Sparrows, plus the far-scarcer (here) nesting Chipping, 
and the nonbreeding White-throated, as well as occasional Swamp Sparrow[s], the 
latter having summered before in Manhattan (and including within Central Park), 
while White-throated Sparrows are regular in summer from a number of N.Y. 
County sites.  We also have a very few E. Towhees; also those Brown Thrashers 
nesting in Manhattan can be, thankfully for their successes, very secretive on 
their nests and while the young are still just-fledged. This summer, it has 
been nice having some Black-capped Chickadees, a once more-regular nester, in 
multiple (if not all that many) sites in the county. 

Going back to the first few days of July, a few Yellow-billed Cuckoos were 
still around, but with no reports since then, those may have been very late 
north-bounders, or possibly singles looking at potential for remaining in the 
county over the summer (Y.-b. Cuckoo has bred in the county, at least 
historically).  Flycatchers have included the typical E. Wood-Pewees, Great 
Crested Flyctachers, and Eastern Kingbirds all nesting in the county (including 
in Central Park), as well as at least one E. Phoebe pair, in an undisclosed 

Altogether there’ve been just about 80 species of birds seen in the first half 
of July in all of New York County. That number should start to swell as this 
month comes to a close, albeit more obviously-so, in August.  The past 2 weeks 
also provided some summer butterflies, including the first Sachems (a skipper 
species) that I had seen (or heard about) this season, those found in Central 
Park. Plenty of other butterflies and many other insects are also about lately.

good birding to all,

Tom Fiore
N.Y. City & beyond


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