There are scores of American Robin nests in Central Park currently. Some nests have already produced fledglings. I caught up with one nest on the Point a small peninsula that juts out in the Central Park Lake. Both parents were actively feeding the three young robins.
Mary Beth Kopper found a Long-tailed Duck on the Central Park Reservoir on Saturday. A bird common in New York harbor, is very rarely seen in Central Park. The female slept most of the time it was on the reservoir before becoming active later in the day.
On Wednesday, thanks to a report from Deborra Mullins, I had my first warbler of the season, a Pine Warbler. Eastern Phoebes are also being reporting in Central Park. After a quiet winter, spring migration is very welcome.
An American Woodcock was out in the open south of the Maintenance Field parking lot this morning. However it got spooked and flew west. It decided to stay the whole afternoon perfectly still. I came back at dusk and once it was dark it finally moved.
I stayed and listened for bats, and had two Big Brown Bats in clear view flying at times a few feet from me. I got some nice recordings. On my way out, I was able to record two more Big Brown Bates on Cedar Hill, and possible got two recordings of a Silver-haired Bat. I don't usually listen for bats this early and thought I might be lucky with the warm weather and see an Eastern Red Bad, which I didn't end up seeing or hearing.
This winter there has been a female Green-winged Teal on the northern water bodies of Central Park. She was first seen on the Harlem Meer, then the Reservoir and then on The Pool. Two days ago, I saw a Green-winged Teal on The Lake. Yesterday, I saw both a male and female Green-winged Teal together on the small island by Bow Bridge on the Lake.
The pair moved to the Reservoir along with about a hundred birds when the Urban Park Rangers launched a kayak onto the lake to search for the Common Merganser trapped in the plastic ring. (The merganser could not be found on Tuesday despite a diligent search.) Today, the pair was seen on The Pool.
Sadly, a Common Merganser is on The Lake in Central Park with a plastic band wrapped in its mouth and neck. It looks like the ring to a wide mouth beverage container. The Urban Park Rangers have tried to trap the bird over the last two days without success. Let's hope they are able to net the bird soon.
A Graylag Goose, which has been seem for at least a week on the Reservoir was on The Lake of Central Park today. The spotted black/yellow bill coloration and white feathers around the bill, suggest that it is most likely a Graylag Goose x Swan Goose Hybrid. The bird is most likely an escapee from a poultry farm.
We used to have a number of Domestic Duck/Mallard hybrids on The Pond and The Meer and we had the Mandarin Duck last winter. So, another hybrid is just par for the course I guess.
Two wonderful birds, seen in December have stayed for the New Year in the north of Central Park. An immature Red-Headed Woodpecker at 98th and the West Drive and a Green-Winged Teal, which was first seen on the Harlem Meer, rediscovered on the Reservoir on the Christmas Bird Count, and is now hanging out on the The Pool at 102nd Street. It is nice they have stayed.
They aren't rare birds for the New York area, but they are infrequent visitors to Central Park. So, it's nice to be able to have more than just a brief look at them both. The woodpecker continues to dig out cavities and cache acorns, while the teal, seems happy to hang out with the Mallards.
For about a week a Red-headed Woodpecker has been reported in Central Park. I finally got a chance to see it on Saturday. Like most of the Red-headed Woodpeckers we get in Manhattan, it is an immature bird, without a red head. It has selected a stand of oak trees west of ball field number 2 in the North Meadow and east of light W9802. (If you don't know the "secret code" of the park street lights, this decodes as W=West Drive, 98=98th Street, 02=the second street light in the block.)
Red-headed Woodpeckers excavate cavities and then store nuts in them. If this one behaves like ones we've had in previous years, it should be fun to watch this activity through the winter.
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.
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.
A very cooperative American Bittern was in the fenced in area of the Tupelo Meadow in Central Park's Ramble today. For the most part it perched on a rock and stayed still. But for about ten minutes, after a Cooper's Hawk flew into the Tupelo Tree the American Bittern took a defensive posture, and for a brief time looked radically different almost doubling in size. The Cooper's Hawk soon forgot about the Bittern and after about twenty minutes caught a Northern Flicker.
The Pond in the southeastern corner of Central Park had a Green Heron on Sunday. It was fishing for minnows when I found it on the far shore of the southwest corner of the pond. Fall migration has begun slowly in the park. Number are still very low, but we're getting interesting birds. The highlights of the day for me were a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Canada Warbler, two Northern Waterthrushs, American Redstart, Belted Kingfisher, Great Egret and Baltimore Oriole.
This year has been disappointing for Red-tailed Hawks in southern Manhattan. Although it most likely fledged, I can't find the fledgling from the West End Avenue/72nd Street Nest. This leaves us only with a few fledglings to watch above 110th Street.
Since it's a hike to see the fledglings uptown, I've been spending time this last few weeks looking at other species that nest in the city. There are lots of youngsters around. These pictures are of and Eastern Kingbird family who were near the pier at Turtle Pond. The snack was a dragonfly.