Red-headed Woodpecker

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.

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Eastern Bluebird

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.

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Green-winged Teal

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.

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Purple Gallinule

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.

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American Bittern

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.

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Green Heron Fishing

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.

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Eastern Kingbird Fledglings

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.

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Warbling Vireo Nest VI

Between rain showers, I visited the Warbling Vireo Nest and tired taking some slow motion video.  It didn't quite work out in the low light but you can see some feedings.  The nestlings are much more visible now.

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Warbling Vireo Nest III

The Warbling Vireo nest I've been watching in Central Park has now hatched.  If you watch closely at the video, you'll see that when the parents feed the chicks, the chicks sometimes turn around and give back to the parents a fecal sack.  I guess what goes in, must at some point come back out.

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Warbling Vireo Nest

On my last Linnaean Society of New York Central Park walk of the spring 2019 season, one of the stops was Warbling Vireo nest.  It is in a tree about 100 feet east of the Maintenance Building in the Ramble.  It looks like it was getting finishing before being used this year.

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Indigo Bunting

An Indigo Bunting was at the Evodia Field Feeders in the Ramble of Central Park today and yesterday.  Usually a tough bird to find in the park, this one was easy to watch as it ate bird seed from a feeder.

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White-winged Dove

Joe DiCostanzo identified a White-winged Dove at the Evodia Feeders of Central Park this afternoon among a group of Mourning Doves.  The bird is usually seen in the far south.  While it is seen along the Northeast Coast up through Maine and into Canada on rare occasions, it may be the first recorded sighting for Manhattan.  Great birding Joe!

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Odds and Ends

My visit to Central Park on Wednesday yielded some interesting birds. 

  • I photographed the leucistic (a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes) Common Grackle that has been well documented and visits the bird feeders in the Ramble daily.
  • Watched the Rusty Blackbird in The Loch in the northern end of the park.
  • Photographed a neck banded Canada Goose at The Pond, numbered Y3T4, with white letters on orange.  Looking at my photographs, I discovered it was with another banded goose, X3A9.  I've reported the band numbers, so I should hear back in a few weeks as to where these birds were banded, and possibly why.

Update:  A Facebook reader commented that I might have best used the term Piebald rather than Leucistic for the Common Grackle.  Here's an interesting link about when to use each, from The Spruce: Bird Leucism.

Update 2:  Got the banding information back.
Band Number: 1078-14416 Y3T4
Banded: 07/02/2013
Species: CANADA GOOSE
Age of Bird: WAS TOO YOUNG TO FLY WHEN BANDED IN 2013
Sex: MALE
Location: VARENNES, QUÉBEC, CANADA
Bander: JEAN RODRIGUE QC-SCF-SAUVAGINE 801-1550 D'ESTIMAUVILLE QUEBEC QC G1J 0C3

Update 3:  I got an email from Michael Castellano that he saw the neck banded geese in Prospect Park on February 3rd.

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Common Loon

A Common Loon was on the Reservoir this afternoon.  It was working a wide range of the Reservoir and was difficult to photograph as it kept far from the shoreline while I was watching it.

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