Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Central Park, New York, Oct 2014

A walk in New York’s Central Park always carries my hopes for a long list of New World Warblers, but my luck and skill could not combine to bring these hopes to reality today. It was a glorious day to be out in the park however and was enhanced by a great look at a young Red-tailed Hawk and chance meetings with other like-minded wanderers.


I had borrowed a bicycle and entered the park on the cross drive at 72nd St. The mound that carries a tribute to the Pilgrim Fathers brought some early birds with the regulation Blue Jay, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the first of many Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.


The Falconer bronze stands beneath an outcrop of New York Gneiss which harboured Chipping Sparrows, Red-bellied Woodpecker and Dark-eyed Junco.


I chained up the bike by the benches at Wagner’s Cove, the southern lobe of the boating lake and immediately walked into the red-tail. It was in a tree which was rooted lower down the bank and this left it sitting at the perfect height for a picture. It appeared relaxed and I was able to sit on the rock and enjoy it for a while until a call from another hawk stirred it into action.


While it sat, no other birds bothered it, but when it flew, it was chased by Blue Jays and American Robins which continued to bombard it after it landed in a nearby oak.


A second Red-tail cruised across the cove and my bird gave chase. Mallards on the water ducked beneath the surface each time a hawk passed over.
A Pine Warbler was seen in a conifer on the south side of Bow Bridge and raised my hopes of a warbler fest. Another warbler evaded me as I approached The Oven, but in chasing it, I ran into Cindy who thought it may have been a Magnolia Warbler.


We walked together for a while and got some good views of Brown Creeper, White-throated Sparrow and dozens of American Robins along The Spit. We took a slight wrong turn on the way to the feeders which proved fortunate as an Ovenbird stepped and flicked through the rank vegetation to the right of the path. Another warbler by the Azalea Pond had us foxed, though the smart money is on Tennessee Warbler.
Cindy left me here and I continued on to Maintenance Meadow, arriving at the same time as a party of school kids. It was dispiriting that the meadow would probably be disturbed, so I moved out quickly to stay ahead of the children, but was pleasantly impressed as the teacher primed the class that I was hoping for a quiet few moments and the children very respectfully gave me that chance.
A Song Sparrow fed from low plants to the west of the meadow and a Cooper’s Hawk flew high above.


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Cedar Waxwings were seen in the large tree on the northwest corner of the meadow and a Northern Parula gave a poor view and had to be confirmed from a photograph later on.


Another birder had seen some warblers up near the arboretum, so I sauntered up that way and added Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, half-a-dozen more Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a Northern Cardinal.


On the return south, a Red-breasted Nuthatch was added from the Shakespeare Garden, a Blue-headed Vireo was seen from the Maintenance Meadow and Karen Wang pointed out a Black-throated Blue Warbler near The Gill.

Birds seen;

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 7, Gadwall (Anas strepera) 2, Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 15, Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) 70, Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) 45, Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 1, Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 5, Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 6, Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 4, Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 3, Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 15, Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 8, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) 10, Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1, Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1, Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 1, Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) 1, Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 25, Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 6, Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 15, Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 1, White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 3, Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) 5, Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 6, Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) 5, American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 120, Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) 5, European Starling  (Sturnus vulgaris) 15, Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 10, Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) 1, Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) 1, Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) 1, Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus) 1, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 1, Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) 4, Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 30, Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 4, White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 150, Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 6, Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 10, Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 35, House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) 1, American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 1, House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 80.


Central Park can be found on Manhattan between 5th and 8th Aves and from 60th St, north to 110TH St.
The most talked about area for birding is The Ramble, which can be seen at Google Earth ref; 40 46 36.89N73 58 10.74W

Previous posts from New York’s Central Park can be seen at the links below;

Visit the dedicatedUSA and Canada Page for more posts from New York including Jamaica Bay WildlifeRefuge and Floyd Bennett Field.