First Walk of the Fall Season

English: Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus c...

Great Crested Flycatcher

English: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Grands-Jar...

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Starr’s fall season got off to a great start this morning in the Central Park Ramble. The weather was perfect: high 60’s temperature, some sunshine, no wind. And there were more birds than one might have expected.

We had 40 bird species (so 40 becomes our base number for the Ramble) including 7 warblers and 4 flycatchers, with these highlights:

  • Great Blue Heron (flyover)
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Tupelo Meadow and Azalea)
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (Gill)
  • Acadian Flycatcher (Azalea Pond)
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Turtle Pond)
  • Great Crested Flycatcher (Maintenance Meadow)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (heard, Turtle Pond)
  • Wood Thrush (Maintenance Meadow)
  • Veery (Azalea Pond)
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler (Gill)
  • Black-and-white Warbler (5+)
  • American Redstart (10+)
  • Common Yellowthroat (Bank Rock Bridge)
  • Northern Waterthrush (Triplets Bridge)
  • Ovenbird (Triplets Bridge)
  • Canada Warbler (4)

The Red-breasted Nuthatch was a new species for the group for the entire year. It has been extremely rare lately. There are no prior eBird reports of it in Manhattan this year, though the ebirdsnyc group on Yahoo has two: one in June and one at the same location yesterday.

The Great Crested Flycatcher is the first one reported in Central Park this fall.

The complete list of birds observed today, which can also be seen through the tab at the top of the page for the 2012 Fall Bird List, is:

1 Mallard
2 Great Blue Heron
3 Herring Gull
4 Rock Pigeon
5 Mourning Dove
6 Chimney Swift
7 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
8 Red-bellied Woodpecker
9 Downy Woodpecker
10 Northern Flicker
11 Eastern Wood-Pewee
12 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
13 Acadian Flycatcher
14 Great Crested Flycatcher
15 Warbling Vireo
16 Red-eyed Vireo
17 Blue Jay
18 American Crow
19 Red-breasted Nuthatch
20 Barn Swallow
21 Carolina Wren
22 Veery
23 Wood Thrush
24 American Robin
25 Gray Catbird
26 Northern Mockingbird
27 European Starling
28 Cedar Waxwing
29 Ovenbird
30 Northern Waterthrush
31 Black-and-white Warbler
32 Common Yellowthroat
33 American Redstart
34 Chestnut-sided Warbler
35 Canada Warbler
36 Northern Cardinal
37 Common Grackle
38 Baltimore Oriole
39 House Finch
40 House Sparrow

30 May 2012: Last Spring Walk

This morning was humid but cooler than yesterday with overcast skies, which made for much more pleasant birding. Starr had a good turnout for her last walk of the spring, in the Central Park Ramble. We had 40 bird species including four warblers (Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, Wilson’s, and Common Yellowthroat).

Joining us today was Jeffrey Kimball, the producer/director of the upcoming HBO film The Central Park Effect, which prominently features Starr Saphir. Jeffrey is a knowledgeable birder himself and he pointed out a number of birds for the group.

As we stood on the rocks at Hernshead I noted a distant male Wood Duck (presumably the same one that has been hanging around this area lately) near the rock on the opposite shore of the Lake. Almost on cue, this duck began paddling directly toward our group. It came right up to us. It probably has come to expect handouts from large groups, but we were not about to break Park regulations by offering it snacks better suited to humans.

We were glad to hear and then get good looks at another Acadian Flycatcher, which appeared in the Ramble just south of the steps to the Castle. We also saw a Great Crested Flycatcher in the same area. Along with the many Easter Wood-Pewees that we heard and a couple of Eastern Kingbirds, we had a four-flycatcher morning.

The first tree you see upon exiting the Ramble on the steps up to the Castle, on the SW edge of the Castle plaza, once again produced some good birds today: a Chestnut-sided Warbler and singing Wilson’s Warbler.

Our walk ended in Strawberry Fields.

Even though the walks are over until late August (see the home page for Starr’s fall schedule), this blog will continue. Starr will be coming out with some comments on the season, and she also plans to write about her birding travels, the first of which will be a short trip upstate probably within the next week. I may continue to do some writing, too. So please keep visiting the site!


David Barrett

23 April 2012: Cold, Overcast Day Still Yields Birds

Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus)

Blue-winged Warbler

Considering the conditions — temperatures in the high 40’s to low 50’s, and overcast skies after a night of rain — today turned out to be surprisingly birdy morning in the Central Park Ramble.

Starr added three new birds to her season list today: Gray Catbird, Blue-winged Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush, bringing the season total to 90.


  • Black-crowned Night Heron
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (female)
  • Great Crested Flycatcher (near Azalea Pond)
  • Blue-headed Vireo (4)
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2, Lake)
  • Barn Swallow (2, Lake)
  • House Wren (3, all singing males)
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Brown Thrasher (2)
  • Blue-winged Warbler (male, Lower Lobe, great views)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (70)
  • Palm Warbler (7)
  • Northern Waterthrush (west end of Gill)
  • Eastern Towhee (15)

April 2nd – 11th

Louisiana Waterthrush

This spring in Central Park has been glorious, with a hint of avian mystery!  The 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,


Complete list from the walks:

Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus)

Rusty Blackbirds

Blue-grey gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher