American Coot, Meer

American Coot (Fulica americana) may be found ...

American Coot

Starr Saphir and Lenore Swenson’s walk in the Central Park North End had 50 species including 8 sparrows. It was overcast with temperature of 62 and light winds.

The walk began with a tradition that Starr has continued for over two decades: on the last walk before Halloween, the walk leaders offer some candy treats to the participants. Two of the group’s young birders appeared in costume, as elves. It was great to see Starr out in the Park again and calling out birds as they flew overhead.

The group added a new species for both the season and year (#157), American Coot. Coot can reliably be found on the Reservoir from November through April and they sometimes show up on the Lake, too. They are much less common on the Meer.

Among the sparrows today were Field, Swamp, and White-crowned, and Eastern Towhee.

The group had good views of perching Red-tailed Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk. A flying American Kestrel was also seen.

Other good birds were Red-breased Nuthatch and Wood Duck, the latter on the Meer.

The only warbler was Yellow-rumped Warbler, which was much less visible than in recent days, when one might see over 15 in an hour of birding; today this number was 1 to 3.

It appears that the moderate migration noted on radar the last few nights has reduced numbers of many species such as Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, and some of the sparrows such as FieldWhite-crowned, Song, and Lincoln’s. For the first time in over a month I did not see an Eastern Phoebe. Brown Thrasher, which was abundant two to three weeks ago, is no longer being seen, either.

Black-capped Chickadees are being heard and seen more often, along with Tufted Titmice. Large flocks of Common Grackles appear, too.

We are already seeing many ducks, and more of the less-common species are on the way, such as Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon. We are seeing some Canada Geese migrating overhead, and Snow Geese should be along, too.

Update (31 Oct 2012): The remaining three walks of the year were cancelled because Hurricane Sandy closed the Park.