A Great Horned Owl was found in Central Park today. I came late in the day so I could see the fly out. By the time I arrived the owl, which had been harassed by Blujays, was now high in a tree and tough to photograph. But the owl moved now and then, and I got some good looks. I was able to see the owl preen, do some pre-flight stretches, and then fly out.
It's been cold enough that owls will soon be migrating through Central Park, so I always look at a set of pines in the Arthur Ross Pinetum this time of year. I heard a squirrel cry, and instead of an owl I found this young Cooper's Hawk, who quickly went after a bird and made a meal of it.
An Eastern Bluebird was seen in the West 80s of Central Park of Central Park on Friday (and again on Saturday). It's the state bird of New York. This once-prolific bird had a sharp decline of population due to nesting cavity competition from European Starlings and House Sparrows. Nest box programs started in the 1960s and 1970s have helped the species population numbers to improve but it remains an infrequent visitor to Central Park.
Fall brings a variety of ducks to Central Park. Every year one or two Green-winged Teals are spotted. One was the Meer for a few days this week. It's about 2/3 the size of a Mallard, so they're easy to pick out in a raft of ducks.
November is a great time to watch hawks in Central Park. Migrants are coming through, both adults and juveniles and resident Red-tailed adults are more visible as the trees loose their leaves. Here's a group of images taken over the last two weeks, from the south end to the north.
A Purple Gallinule was found on the north shore of Turtle Pond in Central Park this morning and created quite a sensation among Manhattan's birding community. The juvenile bird worked the shoreline and gave birders great views from a short distance. The species is normally found in Florida and South Carolina, but is known to wonder, showing up on occasion in all the eastern states and many Canadian provinces. The word gallinule comes from the Latin "gallina," meaning small hen.