Mild weather continues, and migrant warblers keep pouring in. Bird Walks = always in Central Park!
Updated: Mar 1
4 October 2017 (Wednesday)
We continue to send out this weekly Newsletter, now in its 15th year! If you don't want to receive it, just send us a note asking to be removed from the email list. (You can always read it on-line at our web site: https://www.birdingbob.com/sightings ). If you suddenly stop receiving our Newsletter and other occasional emails, it is because your ISP (such as Comcast or Verizon) has labeled it as Spam. We apologize for this, but with a circulation of 4,000+ people, there are some downsides. The "cure" is to sign up to receive a notification from our web site (see link above), when a new Newsletter is available to read - usually every Wednesday. You can then read/view it on-line - as well as our weekly schedule and any last minute updates. Any questions - do send us an email.
Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen (see her links below), and show five warbler species from Central Park in fall plumage as well many of the same species in spring plumage. Note the differences!
This week's two historical notes focus on Central Park: (a) migration of the Red Bat in the park in September 1955, as well as Red Bat collisions with the Empire State Building on 18-19 October, 1955; and (b) the 1974 autumn bird migration in Central Park by our very own Roger Pasquier. He makes some interesting observations, for example: "Two Black Skimmers flying over the Park on September 17 (the second fall observation). Horned Larks, Water Pipits and Eastern Meadowlarks were found on the Great Lawn during October and November."
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: http://tinyurl.com/y84789vc
Deborah Allen sends bird photos from Central Park:
Cape May Warbler, first fall female in October: http://tinyurl.com/yaep39f3
Cape May Warbler, first spring male in May: http://tinyurl.com/y7cmgkp9
Black-and-white Warbler in September: http://tinyurl.com/y79getkg
Black-and-white Warbler in May: http://tinyurl.com/yb75opsb
Northern Parula Warbler, first-fall male, in October: http://tinyurl.com/yaf7occv
Northern Parula Warbler, male, in May: http://tinyurl.com/y99joes8
Yellow-rumped Warbler, female, in October: http://tinyurl.com/ycj5xqwh
Yellow-rumped Warbler, male, in May http://tinyurl.com/ycvtxeru
Female American Redstart in August (fall migration) http://tinyurl.com/y8uo8qsj
Female American Redstart in September (fall migration) http://tinyurl.com/y7oybbj6
Female American Redstart in May (spring migration) http://tinyurl.com/yayzmsck
Immature male American Redstart in August (fall migration) http://tinyurl.com/y8u97pu2
Link to Deborah Allen photos: http://tinyurl.com/ydflkdp4
Good! Here are the bird walks for early October - each $10***
All walks in Central Park:
1. Friday, 6 October - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th street and Fifth Ave) at 9am. 2. Saturday, 7 October - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 3. Sunday, 8 October - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10***
4. Monday, 9 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 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 (= email@example.com). 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, 29 September (start at Conservatory Garden [105th street] at 9am only) - how does one describe a walk with five Tennessee Warblers in the same area (and seven total for the day)? Or three Nashville Warblers in that same area (and five Nashvilles for the day). That area was the west side of the "Pool" at 106th street. We only had one Cape May Warbler today...but 17 total warbler species; 8 sparrow species; and an especially nice Philadelphia Vireo to look at. Today was good...and especially nice people too.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://tinyurl.com/yaxa6tg8 ================================= Saturday, 30 September - (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - when we find four (4) Hooded Warblers on the bird walk, it can only be a good day. Add to that 15 other warbler species seen (16 total), and it was a very good day. Highlights were the Cape May Warbler in the Pinetum; Tennessee Warbler at the very end of the walk at the Oven; the adult Broad-winged Hawk perched up the hill from the Boathouse at 7:35am; the flyover Osprey, Cooper's and Broad-winged Hawks; the many Brown Thrashers - and the many fun bird watchers with us. And those four Hooded Warblers (two male and two female) - what more could one ask for?
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://tinyurl.com/y7fj6qoe ================================= Sunday, 1 October (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - "Only" 13 Warbler species today, and we missed the two Hooded Warblers in the Ramble and the Orange-crowned Warbler found by Karen Evans in the Maintenance Field. However, we managed to find several Cape Mays and one eye-level Tennessee. The most fun spot was the Pinetum where I played the flock call of the Golden-crowned Kinglet, and seven came in to inspect the pine tree and its needles just across the fence from us. This activity attracted several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, one Blue-headed Vireo and two Cape May Warblers.
Deborah's bird list for the day: http://tinyurl.com/yb3a28hs ======================================= Monday, 2 October (start at Strawberry Fields [Imagine Mosaic] at 8am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - We don't have an "official" bird list today...we left very early afternoon for Cape May NJ and have been busy there. Let me see if I can come up with what we found a few days ago: there were 13 warbler species, the highlights being Cape May Warbler ("only" two); Yellow-rumped Warbler (should be common now but for whatever reason is late); Black-throated Blue Warbler (best day yet this season); a lone Chestnut-sided Warbler; and Andrew found a female Hooded Warbler at the Swampy Pin Oaks. Other birds included Golden-crowned Kinglets (just a handful, yesterday they were common), Blue-headed Vireo and a nice male American Kestrel over the Pinetum.
MIGRATION RECORDS OF THE RED BAT (1955)
Sometime during the night of October 18-19, 1955, two male red bats were killed when they struck the 1,472 foot high Empire State Building in New York City, presumably during their migration flight southward. The bats were found on one of the roof set-backs of the building. They were picked up by maintenance men of the building who also gathered 156 dead birds of 18 species that struck the building early on the morning of October 19. The maintenance men claim that the bats struck the building at about 11 o'clock on the night of October 18, when the skies were clear, but that the birds were killed at about 8 o'clock on the morning of October 19, when cloud ceiling heights, according to local weather reports, dropped to about 1,100 feet above ground level. On the night of October 5-6, 1954, when a similar disaster occurred at the Empire State Building, killing a known number of 123 birds of 28 species, four red bats were also killed. These were given to the American Museum of Natural History and presumably went into their collections.
On September 1, 1955, I caught a live female red bat with my hands that I saw hanging from the branch of a wild black cherry tree in Central Park, New York City. The bat was only about eight feet above the ground, and bore a striking resemblance to a dead brown leaf. It hung from a twig among a cluster of green leaves, and was asleep when I caught it. I examined it for ectoparasites but found none. I returned it to its perch by putting its feet to the twig, which it clutched, and after a momentary shuffling movement of its wings, seemed to go back to sleep. When I came to look for it the next day, it had disappeared. On September 21, 1955, about fifteen feet from where I caught the red bat on September 1, in Central Park, New York City, I saw a male red bat hanging from a twig of a blue beech tree, Carpinus caroliniana. This bat was also about eight feet above the ground. I caught it and examined it for ectoparasites but could find none. I took it to my apartment to keep it overnight, but while allowing it to fly about my bedroom in order to study its flight, it flew out of a partly opened window and disappeared. Unfortunately, I had no bands with which to mark these two specimens, but now have some in preparation for other bats that I may capture alive. -- JOHN K. TERRES, National Audubon Society, 1130 Fifth Avenue, New York 28, New York. ================================ The 1974 Fall Migration in Central Park Roger Pasquier One hundred twenty-two species of native North American birds were seen in Central Park this year  between August 2, when the first species not known to breed in the Park was observed, and December 1. Thirteen of the species noted this fall were not seen during the previous spring migration, while 28 species found in spring were not observed during the fall. Many of the species recorded only in spring were flycatchers, vireos, warblers, and other birds often first found or identified by their song. Silent in fall, they may have passed through the park unobserved. Most of the species seen only in fall were ducks, or birds usually associated with water or open fields. In spring perhaps they move more directly to suitable breeding habitat. These birds included a Great Blue Heron flying over the Park on October 1, a female Blue-winged Teal observed on several occasions between October 7 and November 7 on the Lake, a female Red-breasted Merganser on the Reservoir October 8-11 (a new arrival date by 17 days), 16 Coot on the Reservoir on October 27, and 2 Black Skimmers flying over the Park on September 17 (the second fall observation). Horned Larks, Water Pipits and Eastern Meadowlarks were found on the Great Lawn during October and November. The first non-breeding species noted in Central Park was a Northern Waterthrush on August 2. Within the next few days single Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks began appearing regularly. Large numbers of migrants were not seen until early September, when redstarts predominated. Approximately 30 female and hatching year redstarts were seen on September 7. Adult males were much less common; no more than 2 were seen on any day this fall. The redstarts seem to be moving in bands, and with them were ones and twos of other warblers. As often happens in Central Park in mid-September, there was a drop in the number of migrants between September 9 and 14, after which the bulk of insectivorous migrants appeared. In terms of numbers and species, the migration reached a peak in early October when fruit and insect eating thrushes, vireos, warblers, etc., overlapped with sparrows and finches. On October 1, 55 species were seen, on October 4, 60. Several species of warblers were seen until at least October 12. A male Common Yellowthroat was observed on October 25, and Yellow-rumped Warblers were found through November 8. Kinglets, robins and several sparrow species were common in Central Park through the end of October. Cedar Waxwings and Hermit Thrushes were seen regularly until November 20, and flocks of Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Ducks were present on the Reservoir through the end of November. Few “winter finches” were observed this fall. Evening Grosbeaks were noted on a few days in October and November, but never more than 6. No Pine Siskins or crossbills were observed, and American Goldfinches were regular, but not numerous.
In addition to the birds which stop in Central Park, several species were seen from the park while they flew over Manhattan. These included Double-crested Cormorants, many flocks of Canada Geese, Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks,, an Osprey, and large flights of Blue Jays, many of which appear to follow Central Park West without ever landing in the park.
============================== Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD www.BirdingBob.com
Tennessee Warbler by Doug Leffler