23 May 2012: Birds Are Back!

English: Mourning Warbler, Oporornis philadelp...

Mourning Warbler, female and male (lower)

Starr had what may be her best-ever day for May 23 or later. After nearly a week where wind or rain made for unfavorable migration conditions, the pent-up migration demand was apparent this morning in Central Park.  Did early rain that ended by 7 AM create fallout conditions? Starr’s group had 64 species including 19 warblers.

After a tip from Peter, one of the regular members of our group, Starr began the walk by Summit Rock. A single large tree there eventually produced 13 warbler species, including a female Blackburnian and a Tennessee. Though Red-eyed Vireos are a common bird during spring migration, we had not been seeing very many this year. Today we saw them in this tree, in the surrounding trees, and throughout the Ramble. Blackpoll Warbler was the most frequently-seen (and -heard) warbler today, with Magnolia Warbler close behind. The tree even had a late Black-throated Green Warbler. We saw at least two Canada Warblers in the tree and a Chestnut-sided Warbler, too, both birds that occurred more often today than they usually do.

As we were making our way back to the Ramble past the Swedish Cottage, a text alert arrived: Mourning Warbler found west of the Pool by Central Park West! I ran off to get the bird. Alice Deutsch, who originally found it, was still on the scene and got me to where I could hear it and, shortly thereafter, see it.  Then I ran back to meet Starr at Hernshead.

What had Starr been doing in the 25 minutes I was gone? Just getting her own Mourning Warbler at the Upper Lobe, a shy and quiet bird that she and a couple others in the group briefly saw! That’s not all — Starr also got a Bay-breasted Warbler there, too.

English: bay-breasted warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler (female)

At Hernshead we saw a male Wood Duck swimming nearby, and a Green Heron across the Lake on the west shore.

After returning to the Ramble, we gave the Upper Lobe another try. This time nearly everyone in our group got to hear a partial Mourning Warbler song, and some got to see it briefly popping up. It is a new bird for the season.

On our walk up to the Castle, Lenore found a very late Blue-headed Vireo.

In the tree just south of the Castle, to the west of the path up from the Ramble, we had Least Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird.

At the King Jagiello statue we got great views of a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female, Cap Tourmente N...

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female)

Today’s walk lasted over six hours and continued producing birds to the very end, where Starr had a Gray-cheeked Thrush in Strawberry Fields.

Highlights: (* means new bird for the season)

  • Wood Duck (male, Hernshead)
  • Green Heron (west shore of Lake)
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (seen twice, heard frequently)
  • Least Flycatcher (south of Castle)
  • Great Crested Flycatcher (Tupelo Meadow)
  • Eastern Kingbird (south of Castle)
  • Blue-headed Vireo (in Ramble south of Castle)
  • Gray-cheeked Thrush (Strawberry Fields)
  • Tennessee Warbler (Summit Rock)
  • Mourning Warbler* (Upper Lobe)
  • Bay-breasted Warbler (Upper Lobe)
  • Blackburnian Warbler (Summit Rock and male at Tupelo Meadow)
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler (several)
  • Wilson’s Warbler (Turtle Pond)
  • Scarlet Tanager (heard, Summit Rock)
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female, King Jagiello statue)