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.
Found by Kevin Topping on Friday, hundreds of birders got great looks at a Kirtland's Warbler in Central Park today. Its migration path is usually up and down the Mississippi River, so this was a very rare event.
Hints of spring are in the air. The park has some Snowdrops and Forsythia in bloom and the city's Red-tails have begun to copulate. Today, I caught up with a Cooper's Hawk, and both of the Fifth Avenue Hawks, Octavia and Pale Male.
On Saturday afternoon, I walked for about five miles through Central Park. I was able to add three more birds to my 2018 Manhattan list, a Ring-Necked Duck (female at the North Gate House of the Reservoir), a Great Cormorant (on the dike in the middle of the Reservoir, a rare visitor to Central Park, but seen frequently off Randalls Island in the winter) and an immature Cooper's Hawk.
The Cooper's Hawk was exploring the Loch, a waterway with three waterfalls that flows under the Glen Span and Huddlestone arches from The Pool to the Harlem Meer. It has recently been restored by the Central Park Conservancy. The restoration carefully reshaped the waterway, to provide a mix of currents and depths designed to maximize biodiversity, with the help of a environmental consulting company. Improved landscaping was also added to minimize erosion and run offs from the North Meadow Ball Fields. I'm looking forward to seeing the biodiversity results in a few years.
The surprise of the day was a Red-throated Loon on the reservoir this afternoon. About two thirds of the reservoir is still covered with ice, so the Loon was closer to the shoreline than normal making for great looks.
The pair of Peregrine Falcons nesting on the The Century on lower Central Park West supposedly have three chicks this year. I studied them for an hour and only saw signs of a parent. I suspect I'll need to make a number of visits to see the youngsters.
Central Park has had an Immature Red-headed Woodpecker near 68th and Fifth for over a week. I caught up with it after it started snowing on Saturday. It was hanging out in and around a Shagbark Hickory tree.
In the Ramble of Central Park is an area of the Lake called the Oven. It has a patch of Jewelweed that attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks during the fall migration. It also attracted a Tennessee Warbler today as well.