For the first time I was able to follow the Barred Owl to a perch, post fly out inside the Delacorte Theater, home to Shakespeare in the Park. So, I guess we have a Bard loving, Barred Owl.
I do have sad news to report. I learned that photographers harassed both the Northern Saw-whet Owl and this Barred Owl on Tuesday. If you see such behavior, please call the Urban Park Rangers via 311. Then document the situation with your smartphone. How terrible is it to want to wake up an owl just for a picture! Especially since if you have patience, you can document wonderful behaviors without impacting these birds.
South of Sparrow Rock and across the West Drive there was a flock of at least 45 Cedar Waxwings eating berries this afternoon. The Cedar Waxwing is a beautiful bird and it was great to watch a flock this large.
Unlike previous nights, the Barred Owl in Shakespeare Garden left its roost early and stayed in the Pines before leaving for the night. I made some wonderful calls too. It appears to be hunting in the Delacorte Theater, which unfortunately can't be seen due to the ongoing renovation of the Castle.
A Long-eared Owl was discovered in Central Park today. It was a great find, and with the ongoing Barred Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owl, made it a three owl species day for the park.
Owls are day sleepers and while folks were very good about watching their behavior with the Long-eared Owl tonight, folks could have been more respectful of the Northern Saw-whet Owl this afternoon. I thought a huge, talkative crowd just under the owl, crossed the line a few times. It's great to catch up with friends while watching an owl. But do we need to chit-chat endlessly right under a sleeping bird, and keep talking after we've finished watching the owl? Plus, there were much better spots to watch the bird from a more respectful distance.
When we had what seemed to be a few birds migrating through the park I wasn't too worried about our conduct, but it looks like we have a few birds that are sticking around the park. Is it time to start thinking about our impact? Especially as the number of birders watching Central Park owls is increasing significantly due to expanded use of eBirds and Twitter, along with the posting of exact owl locations.
I'm not sure Central Park, which no longer has resident owls, needs to be as secretive as areas with resident/breading owls. But I do think we need to think about our conduct and impact.
The male Mandarin Duck continues to be New York City's most famous escapee. Even the discovery that he spends time in New Jersey hasn't tarnished his reputation. Lucky for him he doesn't have to take PATH or NJ Transit!
On Sunday, a Northern Saw-whet Owl was in a Holly Tree just inside Central Park, best viewed from 82nd Street and Central Park West. It was sleeping when I saw it. This is at least the fourth sighting of the fall for the park. Given that many years, none are found it's been great these last few weeks!
Central Park had two Barred Owls today. I got to see both. We're having a great fall for Northern Saw-whet and Barred Owls this year. There is speculation that strong westerly and northwesterly winds may have pushed many owls to the east coast. Whatever the cause, I'm happy for the abundance.
The one that I think is a new arrival, flew out to an open branch and vocalized briefly this evening.
The Barred Owl continued to give great looks and put on a show at fly out. This evening it made a brief hoot and flew into an open tree giving us an unobstructed view. It really is a wonderful bird and everyone is thrilled that it's stayed in the park so long.
I got to the Ramble Barred Owl after fly out this evening. Luckily, that ended up to my benefit. It went after a squirrel and then flew to a tree near the summer house. It also gave a few hoots, which were fantastic even if I didn't get a recording. This owl has previously been very quiet after fly out.
The Mandarin Duck took the snow in stride this afternoon on Central Park's Pond. Although the weather had deteriorated when I arrived, it was nice not to have to deal with the duck's crazy fans. They've trashed the landscaping on the east shore of The Pond. They're also feeding the ducks (and rats) bread and pretzels which are unhealthy for the ducks and is prohibited by the Parks Department.
The area around where the Mandarin Duck is residing is filled with wonderful wildlife. Mallards, Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, American Coots, Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, and Raccoons are always there in the winter, with many more birds and animals in the summer. Nearby are a set of trees in Grand Army Plaza where hundreds of birds come to roost each evening. The Hallett Nature Sanctuary, which is now open year round, is a wonderful place to enjoy nature and is on the west shore of the Pond. The sanctuary has hosted at least two coyotes in years past.
There is so much more to see at The Pond than just one duck. It's sad to see people come into the park, motivated by their FOMO (fear of missing out) who stay at a frenetic NYC pace, rather than slowing down and enjoy a park that was designed specifically to be a restorative place for city dwellers.
Yesterday, the Barred Owl remained hidden and no one saw it. Luckily, today the Blue Jays found it. It seemed to be taking the snowstorm in stride. I wonder if dry snow is easier to deal with than rain?
The Barred Owl continues to stick around the Ramble. It changes trees every few days, but is a creature of habit. It often returns to the same branch the next day. It seems only to interested in changing trees once they lose their leaves. Tonight, after looking a squirrel for about an hour, it flew out and after a brief stop went after it. The squirrel survived, but it was a close call.
American Woodcocks are one of the parks strangest, but wonderful birds. Adapted to eating insects living underground, the bird has a long beak and a wonderful "dance" to help find the insects. The also are one of the hardest birds to find in the park. They can sit still for hours and blend in with the leaf litter.
The Barred Owl that was in the Tupelo Meadow was rediscovered a few hundred yards further south today. Bird Watchers also found the Barred Owl in the North Woods, that hadn't been seen for a few days. I had a chance to photograph the one in the Ramble.
Hawks don't spend much time on their nests outside of breading season, but they do make visits like one of the Fifth Avenue hawks did today. Later in the day, I saw a young hawk at 78th and Fifth on a communications dish above the French cultural center. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Pale Male and Octavia to kick the youngster out.
I finally got to see the Barred Owl that has been hanging about the Ramble for the last week this morning. It was high in the Tupelo Tree of the Tupelo Meadow. The tree has just started to lose its leaves making it fairly easy to spot the owl. Another Barred Owl was spotted in the Ravine later in the day, so I suspect we'll have more owl sightings in the next week.
There was a Barred Owl in The Ramble of Central Park this morning. When I arrived in the park this afternoon, after hearing Blue Jay cries, I found an owl. I though it was the Barred Owl at first, but then it looked like a Great Horned Owl, which I tweeted out using the #birdcp hashtag. It was tucked in most of time, far away and obscured by leaves with an oval face and plump body. But perched birds can be deceiving. Lots of folks saw it, but after two hours Ryan Zucker came by and said, "I think that's a Long-eared Owl". When I got home, I discovered one of the youngest birders in the park got it right. It was a Long-eared Owl. I've never seen one so early and never in a deciduous tree in Central Park. Thanks for the correction Ryan.
Making the wrong I.D. is a big faux pas in birding, so I've been trying to figure out how I got it wrong. I think I was biased by my previous Long-eared sightings, which where in snowy conditions, mid-winter. Plus the bird was obscured and very, very high in the tree. I looked up the frequency map on eBirds for New York County and Long-eared Owls, and while it showed mostly winter sightings, there are plenty of fall and spring sightings. I'll need to give up my winter bias, and concentrate on chest stripping and color going forward!