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More More More (Mucho) - cooler weather will bring more migrants starting Friday 29 September. Pack

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Palm Warbler ssp. hypochrysea in Central Park

Some quick good news: we just learned that BIRDWATCHING magazine has chosen Deborah Allen's photo of a Long-eared Owl at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx to be the cover photo on their November-December 2017 issue.


27 September 2017

Last year at this time we were seeing 20-40 Red-breasted Nuthatches on each walk...but a high count of "only" 8-12 warbler species. This year we have seen no Red-breasted Nuthatches, but we are regularly seeing 12+ warbler species on each bird walk. Why? Is there any correlation between the abundance in the number of the two groups (nuthatch vs. warbler)? Similarly, this past weekend, we arrived in the park before sunrise to look for migrants (warblers and such) still migrating at dawn. The ONLY dawn activity we could detect were gulls coming to the Reservoir each morning by about 6:30am; on Saturday (23 September), there were Swainson's Thrushes making calls from a hackberry tree they were feeding in,+ adjacent to Belvedere Castle in the dark!; and two migrating American Kestrels at 6:28am. By Monday morning at 6:45am, I was seeing reasonable numbers of low-flying Northern Flickers at 6:45am (and a few Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers). Reports of large movements of other birds migrating in the early morning are erroneous, inaccurate and sadly, an ongoing problem with one hyper excited "birder on a bicycle." We've been watching such amazingly false reports for many years from that individual, and we now like to say: "History doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes." Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen (see her links below), and show several warblers from Central Park including a Northern Parula and a Black-and-white, as well as a couple of birds, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and an Osprey, from Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. This week's historical notes provide information on the changes in abundance from the late 19th century to the present. These include: Warbling Vireo, Yellow-throated V., and the Blue-headed (Solitary) V. We also include two short notes from autumn 1880 on hunting Northern Flickers at Flatbush (Brooklyn) and coastal Connecticut. If you want to help us out GREATLY (!!! please!), post a short review of your experience on one of our bird walks on Trip Advisor. Yes it is important! Have a look/read: Is anyone looking for someone that does home repairs/construction (including bathrooms and kitchens)? Great prices (no it is not Deborah and me): someone who did extensive work on our home (and work on the homes of our birder friends), could make your place look 100% better, increase in value - for not a lot of money. Contact us for info and yes he /they (family business) will travel to Manhattan. They are quiet, kind and will listen/follow your ideas and goals...have been doing this work for 20 years+. At least three birders we know well have hired this father/son team and we have spent (collectively) about $50,000 USD to get work done on our homes - we love these two guys! The work they do is FANTASTIC.


Deborah Allen sends photos from Central Park:

Northern Parula, Maintenance Field, Saturday, September 16, 2017: Juvenile Chipping Sparrow, Grassy Knoll, Friday September 22, 2017: Adult female Black-and-white Warbler, McGowan’s Pass, 22 September 2017: Cape May Warbler, Turtle Pond, Sunday, September 24, 2017: Pelham Bay Park [Orchard Beach] in the Bronx: Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Thursday, August 10, 2017: Juvenile Osprey, Thursday, September 21, 2017: Link to Deborah Allen photos on Agpix site:


Good! Here are the bird walks for late September/early October - each $10*** All walks in Central Park: 1. Friday, 29 September - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th street and Fifth Ave) at 9am. 2. Saturday, 30 September - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 3. Sunday, 1 October - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 4. Monday, 2 October - 8am and again 9am. Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic). $10*** *** on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays you can do two walks for the price of one: Pay $10 and do both walks (or either one). On Fridays there is only one walk. The fine print : In September/October, our walks on Sundays meet at 7:30am/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/Sunday 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 (= 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. Not all species we saw are reported here - we list the best: Friday, 22 September (start at Conservatory Garden [105th street] at 9am only) - We are starting to transition to autumn: there were more Eastern Phoebes seen today than other flycatcher species combined, and the first good number of Yellow-bellied Flycatchers as well. Overall, 16 warbler species today (including Tennessee and Cape May Warblers) - but numbers were down from last week. Deborah's bird list for the day: ================================= Saturday, 23 September - (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - 14 warbler species today, as well as a Blue-headed Vireo. Once again we had multiple Cape May Warblers, and a Tennessee Warbler. Numbers of all birds were down from yesterday, but at certain spots such as the Maintenance Field or the area near the King of Poland Statue, it was possible (using my recordings) to bring in 5-12 Northern Parula Warblers and several other warbler species (and Ruby-crowned Kinglets) into the same tree. Deborah's bird list for the day: ================================= Sunday, 24 September (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 9am) - today's 91f in the park set a record for the date, but it was the humidity that affected us most. It was more like August than late September! Numbers of species and individuals were lower than the previous two days; nevertheless there was some migration suggested by the up-tick in Cape May Warblers and White-throated Sparrows. Deborah's bird list for the day: ======================================= Monday, 25 September (start at Strawberry Fields [Imagine Mosaic] at 8am and again at 9am) - humid again - but at least the temperature was a few degrees lower. Early on there was a small movement of Northern Flickers over the park, including birds going east to west and vice versa - all looking for good feeding areas. For our group, we just wanted to see a few warblers and others, and then go home. However, we had some problems: Jeff Ward and David Barrett who kept finding more birds (damn them both). We three macho men (i am a little nacho compared to those guys) found Golden-crowned Kinglets, Scarlet Tanager (thanks Jeff), Cape May Warblers (David) and the official bird of the Mets: a Yellow Warbler. Deborah's bird list for the day: ======================================= HISTORICAL NOTES 1923. Warbling Vireo. Central Park. Formerly a regular summer resident; 29 April 1902 (Chubb), 30 April 1914 (Hix), and 1 May 1899 (Chubb) to 16 September 1904 (Hix) and 3 October 1907 (Anne A. Crolius); last pair nested in 1914; since then only recorded twice, 16 May 1918 (Janvrin) and 10 May 1921 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Formerly a summer resident, last breeding in 1918; 6 May 1919 (L. N. Nichols) to 20 August 1910 (Hix). 1958. Warbling Vireo. Central Park. Rare transient. Earliest arrival date: 30 April 1941 (Rich) to (remaining until this late date in spring): 27 May 1949 (Helmuth). Usually present in fall migration from (earliest): 19 September 1957 (Post) to (latest) 5 October 1953 (Messing). Bred until 1914, and in 1928 (Watson); present 10 and 11 June 1953 (Messing). 1959-1967: no new data. 1958. Warbling Vireo. Prospect Park. Rare to uncommon transient, occasional in summer. Earliest arrival date: 28 April 1946 (Whelen, Wells) and 29 April 1902 (Chubb) to usual date of last departure in autumn: 5 October 1947 (Alperin, Jacobson). Extreme late autumn date of occurrence: 15 October 1950 (Alperin, Jacobson). Maximum three on 12 May 1943 (Soll, Whelen). Bred in 1900 (Braislin). 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Warbling Vireo. “Rare and little-known migrant. Local and uncommon breeder, but rare to absent on the coastal plain. Formerly more numerous.” “This is another of the vireos that has decreased considerably since about 1900. It has probably suffered more than the others and decreased further because of widespread spraying of diseased elms. Probably the best place to see Warbling Vireos locally is at Van Cortlandt Park, where they have bred for decades. Here three or more pairs nest in the vicinity of the swamp. In 1962, six pairs were reported breeding in this general vicinity.” By 1998 in New York State: “It seems to be holding its own in rural areas but elsewhere is declining owing to development and pesticide use. Because it is essentially an edge nester, preferring tall trees bordering streams, lakes, and golf courses, it is particularly vulnerable to cowbird parasitism.” By 2000 in Central Park: a fairly common breeder in the park, with at least 10-15 nests per year. We have never seen it parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird. ================================ 1923. Yellow-throated Vireo. Central Park. Formerly a regular summer resident and common transient, 1 May 1900 (Chubb) to 28 September 1910 (Hix); last bred in 1914; since 1917 rapidly decreasing, and now a rare bird, not recorded at all in the fall, and in spring three times in 1919, twice in 1920, once in 1921, and not at all in 1922. BRONX REGION. Formerly a common summer resident, now uncommon and rapidly decreasing; not noted at Riverdale since 1917 (Griscom); earliest arrival date 30 April 1886 (Dwight). Our handsomest Vireo was formerly a common summer resident throughout the area from early May to the middle of September. While many of us had noted a slow but steady decrease in numbers in the last twenty years, no one was prepared for the sudden and rapid disappearance of this species since 1917 over the whole suburban section, where it is now a rare bird. 1958. Yellow-throated Vireo. Central Park. Rare spring transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 30 April 1940 (Carleton, Dale) to (remaining until this late date in spring): 29 May 1949 (Cantor). When the bird bred (until 1914), recorded in fall till 28 September 1910 (Hix); seen as early on fall migration as 11 August 1936 (Cantor). 1959-1967: Maximum 6 on 11 May 1913 (Helmuth). 1958. Yellow-throated Vireo. Prospect Park. Uncommon spring, rare fall transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 25 April 1920 (Vietor) to (as late as) 20 May 1944 (Soll) and 3 June 1945 (Soll); in autumn seen as early as 19 August 1944 (Russell) and 12 September 1950 (Malcom S. Gordon) to as late as 26 September 1946 (Alperin, Jacobson) and 8 October 1916 (Vietor). Bred until 1918. 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Yellow-throated Vireo. “This species is rare as a migrant, seldom reported away from nesting areas, although regular in spring in Central and Prospect Parks. The Yellow-throated Vireo breeds in rich open woods and swampy woodlands, less frequently in large shade trees in rural areas. Like the White-eyed and Warbling Vireos, it too has decreased considerably since about 1900, although more widespread than those species in suitable habitat.” Roger Pasquier found a breeding pair of Yellow-throated Vireos in Central Park in the late 1980s. ============================== 1923. Blue-headed Vireo. Central Park. Fairly common transient, less so than formerly; 9 April 1908 (Anne A. Crolius and Griscom); 14 April 1912 (Hix); 14 April 1921 (Granger and Griscom); 19 April 1913 (Griscom) to 21 May 1916 (L. N. Nichols); and in autumn 22 September 1917 (Hix) and 26 September 1904 (Hix) to 24 October 1909 (Anne A. Crolius). BRONX REGION. Fairly common transient; 22 April 1885 (Dwight) to 14 May 1917 (L. N. Nichols); 26 September 1914 (Hix) to 22 October 1916 (Janvrin). 1958. Blue-headed Vireo. Central Park. Uncommon transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 8 April 1929 (Sedwitz) to (remaining until this late date in spring): 25 May 1925 (F.M. and E.A. Capen) and 2 June 1935 (Sedwitz); seen as early on fall migration as 19 September 1934 (Carleton) to (as late as) 28 October 1951 (Bruce Gordon). 1959-1967: no new data. 1958. Blue-headed Vireo. Prospect Park. Fairly common transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 13 April 1910 (Vietor) to (as late as) 24 May 1917 (Vietor). In autumn seen as early as 12 September 1938 (Levine) and 20 September 1939 (Whelen) to as late as 20 November 1910 (Vietor). Maximum 20 on 15 October 1947 (Alperin, Jacobson). 1959-1967: New spring maximum: 12 on 6 May 1950 (Kreissman). New fall maximum: 20 on 15 October 1947 (Alperin and Jacobson). 1964+. Blue-headed Vireo. “The Solitary Vireo, or Blue-headed Vireo as it was formerly known, is after the Red-eyed Vireo, our most common member of the genus during migration, although not occurring in anywhere near the large numbers of that species. It is quite variable in numbers – some seasons only a few are observed. It is the earliest vireo to arrive in spring and the last to depart in fall.” 1998+. “There are two early December records from downstate: 6 December 1992 at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, and 3 December 1988 at Robert Moses State Park on Long Island. On 9 May 1970, 13 were banded at the Fire Island (Long Island) banding station. ================================== Brooklyn [1880]. If you visit the woods at the proper season you will then see that beautiful bird, the golden-winged woodpecker [Northern Flicker], a bird every farmer is familiar with as the "Highhold." Watch him and others of his kindred; see him flitting from tree to tree, busily engaged from early morn till the sun sinks below the horizon, tapping every part of the tree and making the woods resound with the blows from his sharp and powerful beak. He is searching for the worm that is slowly but surely eating away its very life, and his instinct enables him to detect it when man would fail to do so. See what valuable assistance this bird renders to man, and is it not a disgrace that it should be so ruthlessly slaughtered? I counted 120 gunners in a small belt of timber near Flatbush this fall, in the course of a morning's ramble, all intent in their murderous work. From a rough calculation, it is estimated that over one hundred thousand of these birds [Northern Flickers] are destroyed every year. ===================================== Connecticut [1880]. ­ The ducking season for line shooting opened at George Lanfear's on Sept. 25 [1880]. The night previous a number of the gun club went down. The line formed at 6am the next morning, about one hour too late and too far from the shore. There were very few ducks killed. The line broke up at one, and at two the shooters sat down to one of Lanfear's capital dinners. The last week there has been an unusually good fly of wild pigeons and yellow hammers [Northern Flickers], but for some unaccountable reason very few wild pigeons have been killed. The largest bag, which was made by Messrs Mallory and Son in two mornings, was 140 wild pigeons; J. R. Bradly, 20; L. Barner, 25; J. Linsly, 16 in one morning. Mr. A. Barner one morning killed 56 yellow hammers. H. and J. Linsly during the week have bagged 94 yellow hammers, 25 pigeon and 16 gray squirrels. Lcete has killed about 10 and Lines claimed to have killed 1 wild pigeon and 7 hammers, the latter he could not find as it was not on his pole. It is claimed that a member of the club has been unable to find his wardrobe since the last flight, and owing to his exposure that morning is not able to be out. The game law went off on Oct. 1, but owing to the warm weather and scarcity of woodcock there were but very few who would inform one of their success. The Potter Brothers show their bag the first day, which consisted of 20 quail, 10 woodcock and 2 partridge. David Cowell brought home five or six quail, others came home without a bird and several claim they didn't go out. =============================== Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

Blue-headed Vireo by Doug Leffler

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