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Daylight Saving Time

Over the past two weeks, I've been unable to make it into the park after work before it gets dark, and certainly won't be able to now that we're on standard time.  So, I wanted everyone to know that this blog is only going to have weekend updates until late winter.

Other than it getting dark so early, late fall is an interesting time in the park.  The fall migration is ending, but there are still plenty of things to discover including interesting waterfowl and raptors.

A pair of swans are on the Lake, lots of uncommon Central Park birds are on the Reservoir including a Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Duck, Ring-necked Duck and Hooded Mergansers.  Raptors continue to migrate south over the park with sightings of Osprey, Cooper's Hawks, Eagles and Turkey Vultures.

The leaves have turned to wonderful colors over the past few weeks.  If you have a chance, take a walk in the park before it's too late.

Below are pictures of a Pied-billed Grebe from Saturday on the Reservoir.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe


Lola and Pale Male on Sunday

Lola and Pale Male were both in a tree on the east side of the Great Lawn when I arrived in the afternoon.

Lola, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park
Lola

Lola, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park
Lola

Pale Male and Lola, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park
Pale Male then flew to a tree on the west side of the Great Lawn, leaving a small snack for Lola.  Soon she flew over to join him.  They stayed in the tree for about an hour.

Pale Male and Lola, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male and Lola, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male and Lola, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park
Near dusk they both flew north.  Pale Male stopped in a tree in the west Pinetum.

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park
He was harassed by a number of birds and moved to another tree...

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park
...with a view of the Reservoir and the Police Station.


Blue Grosbeak "Whiskers"

The Blue Grosbeak I photographed on Sunday, had a set of "whiskers" over the inner portion of its beak.  My first guess was that the function of these "whiskers" was that they help the bird position seeds in its beak while husking them.

I've done a number of searches on the Internet, to try and learn the scientific name and purpose of these "whiskers" without finding any information.  If you know of a source of information about this anatomical feature, please leave a comment.

Blue Grosbeak Rictal Bristles


Blue Grosbeak

A Blue Grosbeak was discovered on Saturday in the Wildflower Meadow.  I was fortunate to see it and photograph it on Sunday afternoon.

It spend the afternoon eating seed after seed, which it carefully opened with its beak.  It flipped its tail quite frequently and called quite often.   It seemed to enjoying the bounty of the Wildflower Meadow.

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak


Central Park's Mr. October

Pale Male was on a baseball backstop on the Great Lawn when I arrived in the park around 6:00 p.m.  He stayed there for quite awhile before attempting to hunt twice unsuccessfully.  He then moved to a tree north of the Met to roost for the evening.

Update: I received an email from a reader worried about Pale Male's unsuccessful hunting attempts.  Red-tailed Hawks miss their prey frequently.  So, Pale Male missing a few times doesn't mean anything is wrong.  Pale Male is doing just fine.

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park

Pale Male, Red-tailed Hawk, Central Park


Yellow-breasted Chat

Central Park has great resources to share information about sightings including NYC Bird Report and a Yahoo! group, ebirdsnyc.  Today both sources had news of a Yellow-breasted Chat in the Maintenance Field.

I got to the park as the sun was setting, so my pictures are a little grainy.  The Yellow-breasted Chat was a new bird for my Central Park list.

Yellow-breasted Chat, Central Park

Yellow-breasted Chat, Central Park

Yellow-breasted Chat, Central Park

Yellow-breasted Chat, Central Park

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5th Avenue Hawks

Pale Male was on one of his favorite perches on Monday evening, a tree on the north lawn of Turtle Pond.  Soon after I arrived, he caught a rodent near where he caught one on Sunday, at the edge of the pond.

Warning Graphic Content!  If you're not interested in seeing a rodent get eaten, you might want to view these pictures of Pale Male and Lola from Sunday.

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After eating the rodent he cleaned his beak on a few tree branches and made his way to the north of the great lawn...

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...stoppping on a few trees before he gave us the slip.

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Just before leaving the park, Lola roosted on the Beresford.

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Lola, on her roost for the night, the SE tower of the Beresford.


Intruder Alert

On Sunday, after birding up north, I took the bus south twenty blocks and re-entered the park at 84th Street and Fifth Avenue.  As soon as I arrived I saw Pale Male circle over the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then make a number of hawk cries.  He was soon joined by Lola and both of them circled high above 5th Avenue in the 90's. Although I couldn't photograph the intruder because of the distance, there was a third hawk which Lola and Pale Male chased away.

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Either Lola or Pale Male going north.

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After chasing away the intruder, the Pale Male and Lola land on a building in the low 90's on Fifth Avenue.

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They're on each corner keeping watch.

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Off they go towards the south...

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...to the "Oreo" Building at 79th and Fifth.  Lola is on the meshed chimney cover on the left, and Pale Male is on the TV antenna on the right.

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Pale Male

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Lola

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Lola