16 April 2012: Prairie Warbler at Azalea Pond

Prairie Warbler/Dendroica discolor

Prairie Warbler

After the first two nights of southerly winds in over two weeks, we would have expected an exceptional migration day. It turned out to be just an average day, but we still had 41 total species.

At 9:45 we responded to a text message alert from Anders Peltomaa who had spotted a Prairie Warbler at Azalea Pond. We arrived on the scene quickly and within a few minutes the bird reappeared, perching on the fence and then on the ground, giving good closeup views to all. This is the first Prairie Warbler reported in Central Park for the season, and naturally is also the first for our walks — and our best bird of the day. We thank Anders for the timely alert.

We also had our first-of-season Brown Thrasher in the Ramble.

Highlights:

Prairie Warbler (Azalea Pond)

Blue-headed Vireo (3, Turtle Pond and Azalea Pond, excellent views)

Pine Warbler (3)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (15+, seen everywhere)

Palm Warbler (6)

Brown Thrasher

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14 April 2012: Three Falcons, a Savannah, and a Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius

Blue-headed Vireo

We had a very productive Saturday morning walk in the North End — 52 species, our highest one-day total for the season — including all three falcons generally seen in the Park.

A Peregrine Falcon flew overhead just as the walk was starting. About forty minutes later a Merlin briefly alighted atop a tree just south of the Great Hill. Soon afterward an American Kestrel flew over the Great Hill and then perched on the tallest nearby building on Central Park West.

Lenore spotted a Savannah Sparrow on the east area of the Great Hill, our first of the season, making it a eight-sparrow day (along with Field, Towhee, Chipping, Swamp, Junco, Song, and White-throated).

Between Huddlestone Arch and Lasker Rink, Starr heard a Blue-headed Vireo (also a first for the year) and soon we had good looks at it, along with a raccoon resting in the tree nearby.

Though not on the official walk, Starr did join some of her group to see the Yellow-throated Warbler in Riverside Park after the walk was over.

Highlights of the walk:

Ruby-crowned Kinglets, everywhere

Hermit Thrushes (plentiful)

Louisiana Waterthrush (2, Loch)

Palm Warblers (plentiful)

Yellow-rumped Warblers

Pine Warbler (Loch)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Wildflower Meadow/Loch)

Blue-headed Vireo (Lasker Rink)

Winter Wren (Loch)

House Wren (Loch)

Carolina Wren

Savannah Sparrow (Great Hill)

Field Sparrow (Great Hill)

American Kestrel

Merlin

Peregrine Falcon

Brown-headed Cowbird (Loch)

Great Egret (flyover)

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Brown Creeper (Loch)

April 2nd – 11th

Louisiana Waterthrush

This spring in Central Park has been glorious, with a hint of avian mystery! ┬áThe usual early warblers — Pine, Palm, Yellow-rumped, and Louisiana Waterthrush — have been coming through in good numbers (especially Palms). A few unusually early arrivals have been noted on my walks, including a Great Crested Flycatcher on the Great Hill on April 3rd and a Chimney Swift on April 10th. Lenore Swenson and I had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the Oven on March 3rd, before the walks began. Highlights most recently were a Snowy Egret flyover on Monday; a Belted Kingfisher on Tuesday; a male Rusty Blackbird at the Gill; and our first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the Ramble on Wednesday, April 11th. In total we’ve had 64 species in the last two weeks. Come join us on these walks!

Good birding,

Starr

Complete list from the walks:

Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus)

Rusty Blackbirds

Blue-grey gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher