Updated: Mar 1, 2020
You wanted migrants: you got them. August is here and don't be surprised if we soon have a 10 warbler species day plus other migrants such as Olive-sided Flycatcher. This last week featured Bay-breasted Warbler (2! - a flock!) on Sunday (30 July) and five other species throughout the weekend. We cannot emphasize enough how good August is for migrating warblers...and it is the rare ones that have shown up in this late summer month. In August 2016, we had Kentucky Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Mourning Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler yes in August!...Don't stay home if you hear that the winds have been from a northerly direction overnite. Every August walk in 2016 had warblers...at least three species. Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen and include a Belted Kingfisher, Bay-breasted Warbler and Spotted Sandpiper - all photographed in Central Park this past weekend. And this lovely hatch-year female Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Deborah Allen:
This week's historical notes focus on seven of the 30+ warbler species that have been seen in Central Park. We provide info on early/late dates of occurrence (and relative abundance) of some of the early season migrants including Worm-eating Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler and several others such as Bay-breasted that is typically a later migrant (September), but seen this past week. See our NEW and UPDATED web site ( www.BirdingBob.com ) for details about meeting places for the bird walks. Let us know if you encounter any problems or difficulties (and please check it with your smart phone too - to see if it loads fast enough!). We want to sincerely thank our friend Brad Woodward who set up the web site way back in 2007 and maintained it for many years. We cannot thank him enough. Well, he now has free lifetime bird walks [and for Vuthy too!] and a key to the Emerald City. It was Brad who promised and then succeeded in getting us rated Numero Uno with the ABA: awarded the ABA best ethical/science bird guide and web site in NYC for 2017-18-19++).
Shorebirds are migrating now as well such as this Lesser Yellowlegs:
Deborah Allen sends photos from Central Park:
Immature Female Belted Kingfisher, Turtle Pond, Saturday, July 29, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18411635 and https://www.photo.net/photo/18411634 Adult female Bay-breasted Warbler, Shakespeare Garden, 30 July 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18411632 Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper, The Reservoir, Sunday, July 30,2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18411687 Link to all Deborah Allen photos on Agpix site: http://www.agpix.com/results.php?agid=DeAl12
Good! Here are the bird walks for early August - each $10
All walks in Central Park: 1. Friday, 4 August - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th street and Fifth Ave) at 9am. 2. Saturday, 5 August - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 3. Sunday, 6 August - Meet at the Boathouse (approx. 74th street and the East Drive) at 9am. 4. Monday, 7 August - 8am and again 9am. Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic). $10*** *** on Saturdays and Mondays you can do two walks for the price of one: Pay $10 and do both walks (or either one). The fine print: In August, our walks on Sundays meet at 9am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approximately 74th street and the East Drive on the lake; it is NOT one of the buildings on the nearby Model Boat Pond). Bathrooms are nearby and ok; they open at about 7am. On Saturdays we continue to meet at the Boathouse (74th street and the East Drive) at 7:30am/9am - but check schedule on web site just in case we are going further afield such as NYBG in the Bronx. You can do either or both Saturday walks for $10. On Mondays we meet at Strawberry Fields: find the Imagine Mosaic and we are sitting on the benches nearby...look for people with binoculars. The Friday walks meet at Conservatory Garden - enter at 105th street and 5th Avenue and walk down the stairs - we meet straight ahead at the end of long (75 meter) grassy area, and adjacent to the men's bathroom (women's bathroom on opposite side about 50 yards away). Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is above (= firstname.lastname@example.org). We have a new web site...if in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not, check the web site the morning of the walk: info will be posted on the main landing page as well as the "Schedule" page. If still confused, call us at home - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk! We end all our weekend and Monday Central Park walks at the Boathouse at about noon - you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $5 total - coffee is now $2.25). Our Friday walks, we usually end up at (or very near) Conservatory Garden, most often at 106th street and 5th Avenue.
Here is what we saw last week (selected highlights) with some anecdotal notes and observations. Not all species we saw are reported here - we list the best: Friday, 28 July (start at Conservatory Garden [105th street] at 9am) - when Deborah Allen told us there was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak practically in front of our collective noses, I thought I was blind. I saw a speckly young robin...but Deborah was indeed correct (see her photo above), there was an eye-level juvenile (hatch-year) female Rose-breasted Grosbeak about ten feet from us. It had come in to the calls of an angry Red-eyed Vireo from my tape. That was the best bird we had along the Loch: earlier (before the boom boom boom of construction) started, there was a Louisiana Waterthrush here, and a female Orchard Oriole at the nearby Wildflower Meadow, the latter feeding on ripening cherries. All in all 4 warbler species today, with many (six or seven) Yellow Warblers leading the way. Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1313539&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
Saturday, 29 July - (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - I did not expect much today; from looking at weather reports, I thought the Sunday walk would produce the greatest diversity of migrants. I was wrong...we had several notable birds. The best was a female (hatch-year) Belted Kingfisher that flew in over our heads as we walked to Turtle Pond. Using the tape, we managed to bring the kingfisher towards us (see Deborah's photo above). However, smaller is better and Jeffrey Ward found us two Blue-grey Gnatcatchers (almost an early record date for migration) near the Swampy Pin Oaks; and all of us chipped in to find 6 warbler species with Yellow Warblers again being the most abundant. In the afternoon, we tracked down the singing Wood Thrush at Hallett - probably a lone male because we can find no other Wood Thrushes in the southern zone (or anywhere in the park). Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1313774&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York ================================= Sunday, 30 July (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 9am) - These were not the earliest ever Bay-breasted Warblers (2) seen in NYC on southbound migration...there are records from the Bronx from the 19th century just a couple of days earlier, as well as the Rockaways in Brooklyn on or about 26 July. However, by far and away, these are the only July Bay-breasteds anyone can recall in Central Park...about 5-6 weeks ahead of their cohorts. It was a British guy who called the first one (to my eye an adult male) to our attention as I played the tape of "chip" notes to bring in curious warblers; it was Jeff Ward who found the second one (an adult female). Other highlights included four total warbler species including a nice male Black-and-white (Gilian Henry); several groups of Cedar Waxwings; a flyover Turkey Vulture at 8:33am (Jeff Ward and Deborah); and a nice Spotted Sandpiper along the Reservoir found at 8am by Mayra Cruz. Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1314048&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York
1923. Bay-breasted Warbler. Central Park. Common transient; earliest spring migrant seen on 4 May 1913 (Anne A. Crolius) and 10 May 1911 (Anne A. Crolius) to 7 June1907 (Hix). Southbound migration: earliest migrant seen on 20 August 1914 (Hix) to latest in the season: 26 September 1921 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Common transient; 11 May 1919 (L. N. Nichols) to 31 May 1917 (L. N. Nichols); Southbound migration: 28 August 1922 (Griscom) to 2 October 1889 (Dwight); casual 26 July 1875 (E. P. Bicknell). 1958. Bay-breasted Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common transient. 2 May 1932 (Cruickshank, Johnson) to 7 June 1907 (Hix). Southbound migration: 8 August 1957 (Messing) to 30 September 1949 (Carleton) to 5 October 1961 (Post, Tudor) and 12 October 1958 (Peter Post). FIFTEEN on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post); 14 on 3 September 1944 (Bull, Eisenmann). 63 were killed by colliding with the Empire State Building at night on 26 September 1953. 1958. Bay-breasted Warbler. Prospect Park. Fairly common transient. 28 April 1910 (Vietor) and 5 May 1959 (Restivo) to 5 June 1945 (Russell); on southbound migration: 12 August 1953 (Restivo, Smith, Usin) to 10 October 1956 (Carleton). Maximum 12 on 16 May 1953 (Usin). 1959-1974: no new records. 1974+. Bay-breasted Warbler. Central Park. This species remains more common in autumn than spring. A new early southbound record was established on Sunday, 30 July 2017 when TWO were observed in Shakespeare Garden, first in a Hemlock and then a Honey-locust (tree). Both were adults: one female and one male. Observers were Jeffrey Ward, Robert DeCandido and many (20+) others. According to Bull (1998): fall migration begins in mid-August and runs through mid-October, with most birds passing through in the first half of September. In the NYC area, according to Bull (1964): "rare before mid-May and after early June, rare before mid-August and after early October." ========================================= 1923. Worm-eating Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon transient; seen as early as 6 May 1914 (Griscom) to 17 May 1910 (Griscom); in fall migration as early as 3 August 1905 (Hix) to 25 August 1907 (Hix); casual 19 April 1909 (Griscom and LaDow). BRONX REGION. Bred up to 1895 (Bicknell and Dwight); now an uncommon transient; 1 May 1877 (Bicknell) to 22 August 1890 (Dwight). NEW JERSEY. Locally a common summer resident. Breeds commonly on the east slope of the Palisades of the Hudson near Englewood. 1958. Worm-eating Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon transient. 19 April 1909 (Griscom and LaDow) and 27 April 1925 (five birds - Griscom, Curtiss) to 18 May 1939 (Carleton). Southbound migration: 3 August 1937 (Carleton) to 30 August 1940 (Carleton) and 23 September 1953 (Paula Messing). Fall Maxima: 7 at Inwood Hill Park (Manhattan) on 2 August 1963. 1959-1974: 21 May 1961 (Bloom). 1958. Worm-eating Warbler. Prospect Park. Uncommon transient. 26 April 1941 (Nathan, Tengwall) and 1 May 1949 (Alperin, Jacobson, Sedwitz) to 25 May 1950 (Whelen); twelve were seen on 5 May 1950 (very high number); on southbound migration: 30 July 1936 (Brennan, Russell) to 31 August 1935 (Russell), 21 September 1955 (Carleton), 22 September 1953 (Carleton), 24 September 1947 (Alperin, Jacobson, Sedwitz) and 17 October 1954 (Carleton). Maximum 12 on 5 May 1950 (Jacobson, Whelen). 1959-1974: no updated records. 1974+. Worm-eating Warbler. Central Park. This is one of earliest fall migrants - and one of the new "discoveries" made since the 1950s...with more birders out birding now especially in July-August, we are learning much. Worm-eating Warblers are regularly seen each year on southbound migration in the first week in July with the first occurrence of overnite northwest winds (winds from the NW). In 2017, a Worm-eating Warbler found its way to Central Park on Sunday 25 June, the same morning a young male Kentucky Warbler was seen by many in Central Park. (The previous night winds had been from the northwest.) Was this an early southbound migrant (the Worm-eating Warbler was not singing...the Kentucky was singing occasionally), or was this Worm-eating an adult still looking for a mate? (We believe the Kentucky was wandering in search of a mate - it was singing, but the Worm-eating was not.) ================================================== 1923. Black-and-white Warbler. Central Park. Very common transient; 19 April 1909 (Griscom) to 25 May 1909 (Griscom); 6 August 1908 (Griscom) to 20 October 1907 (Griscom) and 14 November 1908 (Anne A. Crolius). BRONX REGION. Now an uncommon summer resident and a common transient, 21 April 1922 (Dr. Denton) to 12 October 1912 (Hix). 1958. Black-and-white Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common to common transient. 13 April 1942 (E. Rich) and 19 April 1909 (Griscom) to 29 May 1949 (Irv Cantor) and 5 June 1953 (Carleton); 29 July 1941 (Carleton) to 24 October 1949 (Carleton, Bruce Gordon, Helmuth) and 14 November 1908 (Crolius). Maximum 20 on 13 May 1910 (Helmuth). 1958-1974: 17 April 1964 (Carleton, Mackenzie, Post); 31 May 1963 (Post, Tudor). 66 struck the Empire State Building at night on 27 September 1970. 1958. Black-and-white Warbler. Prospect Park . Common transient. 15 April 1952 (Restivo) to 30 May 1943 (Grant, Tenwall) and 6 June 1945 (Soll, Whelen); 24 July 1949 (Jacobson) to 24 October 1919 (Vietor) and 2 November 1958 (Cashman). Maximum 62 on 12 May 1945 (Soll). 1959-1974: 13 April 1959 (Cashman). 1974+. Black-and-white Warbler. Central Park. This is one of earliest fall migrants - by early to mid-July (reliably) each year. It is also one of the earliest spring migrants, seen by mid-April in Central Park each year. ================================================== 1923. Golden-winged Warbler. "In fact the Golden wing and the Mourning Warbler must be regarded as the two rarest Warblers which visit this territory with any degree of regularity." Central Park. Rare transient, noted three years out of five, but occasionally more individuals in the fall; 7 May 1904 (Hix) to 18 May 1908 (Anne A. Crolius); 13 August 1911 (Hix) to 8 September 1907 (Hix) and casually to 3 October 1907 (Anne A. Crolius). BRONX REGION. Rare transient; 4 May 1916 (E. G. Nichols) to 18 May 1913 (L. N. Nichols); 22 August 1890 (Dwight). Maximum 12 from Bronx Park to Van Cortlandt Park, 8 May 1943 (Komorowski et al.) 1958. Golden-winged Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon transient. 30 April 1953 (Messing) to 21 May 1928 (Watson); 12 July 1953 (immature - Messing) and 2 August 1937 (Carleton) to 8 September 1907 (Hix), 20 September 1958 (Messing) and 3 October 1907 (Crolius). Two appears to be the maximum seen in a day in autumn. 1959-1974: no new records. In the NYC area besides the 12 July record above in Central Park, has also been seen on 17 and 22 July. 1958. Golden-winged Warbler. Prospect Park. Uncommon transient. 28 April 1957 (Grant, Jacobson) to 21 May 1945 (Whelen) and 30 May 1917 (Vietor); 3 August 1936 (Brennan) to 13 September 1954 (Restivo) and 2 October 1917 (Vietor). Maximum seven on 10 May 1946 (Jacobson, Soll, Whelen). 1959-1974: no new records. 1974+. Golden-winged Warbler. Central Park. This is a bird that has decreased significantly as a migrant in both Central Park and Prospect Parks, suggesting it has decreased significantly as a nesting species north of us. It prefers early successional forest/shrubland - and as our forests have aged and converted from shrubs/mixed trees to taller forest, Blue-winged Warblers have replaced this species in the "older" forest. In 1964, "Most often reported the first half of May in the NYC region and the latter half of August." I remember a Friday bird walk (4 August 2006) where Tom Ahlf and I (plus the others on the bird walk) found an adult Golden-winged at the north end at eye-level... ============================================= 1923. Prothonotary Warbler. Central Park. A male in full song was discovered on the "Point" in the Ramble, 3 May 1908 (Anne A. Crolius and Griscom). It remained until 10 May and was seen by dozens of observers. Day after day one could enter the Ramble and locate the bird by a ring of admiring students, before whom it would sing and display without any signs of shyness. The general atmosphere of excitement was so infectious that I believe a dozen people began to study birds, thanks to this Warbler. Another male was observed 30 April 1916 (Hix). On 2 May 1919 two boy scouts rushed into the Bird Department shouting that there was a Prothonotary Warbler in the Ramble. W. DeW. Miller, Gerald H. Thayer and the writer went over immediately, and the boys produced their bird in less than five minutes in the shrubbery on the edge of the lake. We were all able to get amply satisfactory observations. "The fact that it has occurred three times in twelve years in Central Park is not without significance, though it is also a testimony to the excellence of this locality, for Warblers an oasis in a vast desert of city roofs. All individuals seen or recorded having been males. There is also one fall record." BRONX REGION. A singing male recorded between Van Cortlandt Park and Yonkers, 2 June 1895 (E. P. Bicknell). 1958. Prothonotary Warbler. Central Park. Seven records, 29 April 1926 (Capen and others) to 23 May 1947 (Carleton). No autumn records! 1959 to 1974: no new records. 1958. Prothonotary Warbler. Prospect Park. Four records, 26 April 1953 (Usin, Daly, Restivo) to 12 May 1958 (Smith). 1959 to 1974: 14 May 1961 (Raymond, Esther K. Swayer). 1974+. Prothonotary Warbler. Central Park. Increasing in our area as a migrant, and now known to breed in several locations in upstate New York. This is one of the warblers that move south early - in August, but always seen less frequently on southbound migration than spring (northbound). On 30 July 2010 (a Friday) and again on 20 August 2010 (Friday), our morning bird walk group found a Prothonotary Warbler in the north garden at Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Avenue) as part of our bird walk - Anita Randolfi and Tom Ahlf were there!) ========================================= 1923. Yellow Warbler. Central Park. Very common transient; 27 April 1913 (Griscom) to 5 June 1909 (Griscom); 2 August 1908 (Griscom) to 11 October 1908 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Common summer resident, 29 April 1905 (Hix) to 11 October 1920 (L. N. Nichols). 1958. Yellow Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common transient, 19 April 1912 (Crolius) to 27 May 1954 (Post) and 10 June 1955 (Messing); 28 July 1953 (Carleton) to 25 September 1954 Post) and 5 October 1921 (Carter, Griscom). Bred until the early 1940s. Maximum 25 on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1974: seen as late as 31 May 1962 (Peter Post and Guy Tudor) and 3 June 1967 (Carleton). 1958. Yellow Warbler. Prospect Park. Fairly common transient, nested until about 1940, and in 1945 and 1948. Early arrival in spring was 23 April 1955 (Carleton) and seen until 27 September 1950 (Whelen); Maximum 14 on 18 May 1945 (Soll). 1959-1974: no updated records. 1974+. Yellow Warbler. Central Park. We have learned that there are at least two subspecies of the Yellow Warbler seen each year in Central Park: the common (local/breeding) ssp. aestiva and the more northern ssp. amnicola. The latter is a late migrant (in spring and fall), and appears darker and greener than our local aestiva. Late fall records in New York are most likely amnicola but possibly one of the other northern subspecies. ============================================= 1923. American Redstart (Warbler). Central Park. Very common transient; 27 April 1913 (Griscom) to 5 June 1909 (Griscom); 2 August 1908 (Griscom) to 11 October 1908 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Common summer resident, 29 April 1905 (Hix) to 11 October 1920 (L. N. Nichols). Common summer resident throughout our area, except on Staten Island, where it is uncommon on the north side, absent on the south side. 1958. American Redstart. Central Park. Common to abundant transient. 27 April 1938 (Carleton) to 7 June 1945 (Carleton, Johnson); a bird summered in 1953 (Messing); 4 July 1954 (Peter Post); 28 July 1936 (Cantor) to 13 October 1945 (Carleton), 19 October 1957 (Peter Post), 27 October 1957 (Bloom) and 9 November 1924 (Frederick M. Capen). Maximum 60 on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1974: a new early spring date: 25 April 1960 (Sanford G. Goldman). Maxima in spring: 60 in Central Park on 23 May 1954. Accidental in winter: adult male seen, Inwood Hill Park (Manhattan), 10-27 December 1931 (O. Meyers and Cruickshank). 111 struck the Empire State Building at night on 14 September 1964. 1958. American Redstart Warbler. Prospect Park. Common to abundant transient, bred irregularly till 1951. 28 April 1956 (Daly, Grant) to 15 October 1955 (Carleton), 7 November 1953 (Restivo, Smith), 22 November 1908 (Vietor) and 23 November 1919 (Vietor). Maximum 100 on 13 September 1950 (Alperin, Jacobson, Kreissman). 1959-1974: a new late record of 19 November 1965 (Raymond). 1974+. American Redstart Warbler. Central Park. We regularly see the first migrants during the first week of July, most often after a night when winds are from the northwest.
Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD