Marsh Wren, Tupelo Meadow

Marsh wren

Marsh Wren

Starr Saphir and Lenore Swenson’s walk in the Central Park Ramble had 55 species including 12 warblers. A low pressure system had passed the day before, bringing light NW overnight along with some new migrants. It was a very birdy morning with high individual species counts, as noted on the list below, along with some rarities.

Four standout sightings deserve special mention.

1) We had Lincoln’s Sparrow (first-of-season) twice, first at Hernshead and then again in Tupelo Meadow. Both birds gave us great, close looks.

2) Starr found a Yellow-throated Vireo at Hernshead, a first-of-season bird for the group.

3) Lenore got the group on a handsome male Hooded Warbler in Tupelo Meadow that also lingered and provided great views.

4) The bird of the day has to be the Marsh Wren that some of us, including Lenore, eventually saw in the fenced-in area of Tupelo Meadow to the east of the fenced-in Tupelo tree. We heard about it from another birder around 9:15. It took at least a half-hour of searching before anyone in our group saw it, as the thick, weedy vegetation gave it cover. The species tends to call frequently and distinctively, but it was staying silent. Eventually it wandered to the NW edge of the fence line where we saw it briefly but clearly.

Marsh Wrens are reported only once or twice per year in Central Park. One had just been noted at the Pool on Saturday. It is not in general a rare bird, but its preferred habitat of cattail marshes is something Central Park has only in small supply, so it does not nest in the Park. We get the species only when it passes through in migration, and it tends not to linger.

The Marsh Wren is a new species for both the season and the year (our 150th) for our group.

Other good birds:

  • Chimney Swift
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (5, feeding on jewel-weed at Oven and Lower Lobe)
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Hernshead, our first-of-season)
  • Hairy Woodpecker (trees west of Maintenance Meadow; first-of-season)
  • Northern Flicker (abundant, 20+ seen)
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (5)
  • Eastern Phoebe (2)
  • Blue-headed Vireo (3)
  • Red-eyed Vireo (abundant, 12+ seen)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-breasted Nuthatch (3)
  • Carolina Wren
  • Swainson’s Thrush (abundant, 20+ seen)
  • Wood Thrush (3)
  • Brown Thrasher (4 seen, heard often)
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Ovenbird
  • Northern Waterthrush (Azalea)
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler (4)
  • Blackpoll Warbler (4)
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler (3)
  • Black-throated Green Warbler (4)
  • Eastern Towhee (Strawberry Fields, first-of-season)
  • Dark-eyed Junco (first-of-season)
  • Scarlet Tanager (2)
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (5, good views at Upper Lobe)

Three species were noted in unusual abundance today, and my estimates above are very conservative and could possibly be doubled: Northern Flickers were seen everywhere, on the ground and flying out of trees; Red-eyed Vireos were seen at close range throughout the Ramble; Swainson’s Thrushes were also all over the Ramble, mostly in trees gobbling down berries.

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