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.
The Northern Saw-whet Owl continues to be seen on Summit Rock in Central Park. It was another blustery day and this owl held on tight.
Gale force winds made it a difficult early afternoon for a Northern Saw-Whet Owl. The winds kept bouncing the little owl all around!
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!
In addition to the Northern Saw-whet Owl on Sunday, the park had two Barred Owls. Here is a video and photographs of one of them.
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!
I retrieved the Northern Saw-whet Owl pellet on Sunday and examined the contents. It contained a mouse skull, bones and fur. I felt like I was back in my middle school earth science class!
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.
I didn't arrive in time, but a mob of American Crows forced the Ramble's Barred Owl to move today. I was spending most of my time with the Saw-whet, but did enjoy a bit of time with the Barred Owl.
Another Northern Saw-whet Owl was found in Central Park and I enjoyed watching it on Sunday afternoon. It gave us great looks and coughed up a pellet about an hour before fly out.
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.
A Northern Saw-Whet Owl was found in the Eastern Pinetum this afternoon. It's a great little owl! I got some great looks of it just before fly out.
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.
Turtle Pond had a nice selection of ducks today, including the escaped Mandarin Duck which has been in the news.