For the last few days, there has been a Dickcissel up by the compost heap in Central Park, which is near the East Drive and 105th Streets. I got lucky and was in view for a few minutes. It harder to find later in the afternoon.
Fall migration has been slowly starting over the last few weeks. Birds take some work to find at times, but there are interesting species moving through the area now. Today, I was lucky to have a number of birders direct me to a Tennessee Warbler in Central Park's Maintenance Meadow. It was a very cooperative bird and it gave great looks for over two hours.
Odds and ends from a quiet day in the park. Central Park lost a number of trees and there were a lot of broken branches blocking paths after Tuesday's storm. On Turtle Pond there was a Belted Kingfisher, a nice bird for early August. The Gill in the Ramble had two nice sized catfish and lots of minnows. It's amazing that such a small stream could have such good sized fish.
There is a family of Eastern Kingbirds on Turtle Pond this year in Central Park, just like last year. There are three fledglings, which were in a tree on the Turtle Pond island this afternoon. A parent was flying back and forth from the island to a set of bushes on the south shore of the lake, skimming the water as it went to and from. It was only when I saw the food being feed to a fledgling did I figure out what was going on. The parent was catching dragonflies.
Today a pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were working the flowers around the Tupelo Meadow in the Ramble of Central Park.
I took more photos of the Cedar Waxwings today. It's an easy nest to watch, although it requires some patience as the feedings can be more than half an hour apart.
I've gone a few times to look for the West End Avenue Red-tailed Hawk fledglings, but have been unable to find them on my last visits.
So, I spent time in Central Park today. At the north end of Strawberry Field in a Black Locust tree which is in the steep slope between the end of the chip path and the road, is a Cedar Waxwing nest. It appears to have two birds in the nest. I saw them and both the parents today. The feedings took place about 30 minutes apart, so the nest requires some patience if you're going to watch it. This is the first time I've seen a Cedar Waxwing nest in the park.
I saw my first European Goldfinch today in Central Park. An introduced bird in North America, it is becoming more and more established.
I had to ask a WhatsApp group I'm in to figure it out. Luckily, folks forgave my ignorance and I got an answer within a minute.
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.
A Belted Kingfisher was on the shore of The Pond in Central Park on Wednesday. I caught up with it while it was eating a fish. It took a lot of work to swallow the fish!
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.