Raptors Arrive!

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus,...

Broad-winged Hawk (juvenile)

English: Cooper's Hawk Français : Épervier de ...

Cooper’s Hawk 

Lenore Swenson led today’s walk in the Central Park North End and had 44 species, including nine warblers. Weather was cool and dry again, near 60 at the start, with clear skies and northwest winds.

The group had two new raptors for the season: Broad-winged Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk. The latter is also a new bird for the year, bringing the year total to 145.

(Yesterday the Park had a massive raptor flight in the afternoon — over 700 Broad-winged Hawks were seen passing overhead. Surely some roosted in the Park overnight, and others came through today.)

Lenore also added Gadwall today, another new bird for the season.

Other highlights for the day are Philadelphia Vireo, Blackburnian Warbler (female), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird, both male and female, at the Loch.

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Tennessee Warbler, Strawberry Fields

Tennessee Warbler (Vermivora peregrina) at Sav...

Tennessee Warbler

It was great to have Starr Saphir back and leading her walk on a sunny, 69-degree morning in the Central Park Ramble.  We had 45 species including 11 warblers, with these highlights: (* means new bird for the season)

  • Osprey* (flyover)
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (north of Hernshead)
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Upper Lobe)
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • White-eyed Vireo* (heard from Maintenance Meadow, first-of-season for the Park)
  • Philadelphia Vireo (between Azalea and Maintenance Meadow)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (heard, near 80th and CPW)
  • Veery (Maintenance Meadow)
  • Swainson’s Thrush (Maintenance Meadow)
  • Worm-eating Warbler (Upper Lobe)
  • Tennessee Warbler* (Strawberry Fields, first-of-season for the Park)
  • Northern Parula* (female)
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler*
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak* (Oven, first-of-season for the Park)
Altogether we added 7 birds to the fall season list.
Activity was light at the start, but things really picked up when we hit some hot spots, which turned out to be the Upper Lobe, Maintenance Meadow, and the inner Ramble area just north of Azalea.
The Osprey was also a new bird for the group for the entire year.
The White-eyed Vireo that Starr heard was later sighted by other birders in Maintenance and reported online.

Philadelphia Vireo, North End

Vireo philadelphicus Philadelphia Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo (Photo credit: davidhofmann08)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Red-breasted Nuthatch

We birded Central Park’s North End on another pleasant morning that started out in the high 60s and warmed quickly. We had 33 species (so 33 is our base number for the North End) including 5 warblers and 3 flycatchers, with these highlights: (* means new bird for the season)

  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (The Pool)
  • Least Flycatcher* (The Pool)
  • Eastern Kingbird* (The Pool)
  • Philadelphia Vireo* (Great Hill above NE side of Pool)
  • Black-capped Chickadee* (The Pool)
  • Carolina Wren (Great Hill)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (The Pool)
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* (The Loch)
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler (The Loch)

The Philadelphia Vireo is the first such report of the fall season in Manhattan. This one had a bright yellow throat and breast, leaving no question as to its identity.

It is good to see another Red-breasted Nuthatch, a species that has been almost entirely absent from Central Park since spring 2011.

In the winters of 2011 and earlier, the Black-capped Chickadee was a very common bird that you could count on seeing at the Evodia Field feeders in good numbers. It was observed in the Park this last spring, but much less frequently. Since this is our first sighting of the fall season, we are making it a highlight bird. Perhaps we will see more of it this season.

At the rest stop we heard a singing Carolina Wren. I went west from the Great Hill restroom area to investigate and soon sighted it. The group eventually got good views of it. (It looked very drab and worn). The Carolina Wren is by no means a rare bird for Central Park. It can be found in the Park year-round. Though never present in great numbers — I generally observe only one or two in a full walk of the Park — its piercing, musical song is very loud, particularly for a small bird, so it can be heard from far away. I am always glad to see or hear one.

15 May 2012: Philadelphia Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo

Despite rain ending the walk early, around 11:15, Starr had 42 species in the Central Park North End. The highlight of the walk was a new bird for the season, a Philadelphia Vireo seen in the North Woods on the Ridge Trail. This is the first report of the bird in Central Park this season. The group also had a male Indigo Bunting.