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Calling all Birders: Central Park spring bird walks +++ schedule starts 30 March

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Bald Eagle pair (male right) calling as another eagle passes overhead; Semiahmoo WA on Samish Sea on 21 March 2018

28 March 2018

Spring Bird Walks Begin!

SCHEDULE NOTES! The spring bird walk schedule for Central Park begins this week: Fridays (9am at Conservatory Garden at 105th street); Saturdays 9:30am (and beginning 14 April at 7:30/9:30am) meeting at the Boathouse; Sundays: 9:30am (and beginning 15 April at 7:30/9:30am) meeting at the Boathouse; Mondays at 8am and again at 9am (Strawberry Fields); Tuesday/Wed/Thu walks will begin after 15 April. For the specific schedule for this week, see below = Friday 30 March at 9am (Conservatory Garden); Sat/Sun at 9:30am only (Boathouse); Monday 2 April at 8am/9am (Strawberry Fields). Any questions/concerns email me: or call at home: 718-828-8262. Finally, if concerned about the weather and whether or not the scheduled bird walk will take place, check the web site Home Page: by 6am a note will be posted ONLY if the walk is cancelled. No note and the walk takes place as usual. ALMOST FORGOT!: There is an owl walk on Saturday afternoon to see nesting Great Horned Owls with young at Pel Bay Park (Bronx) - see details below. Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen (see her links below), and show NYC birds including a lovely male Pintail from Central Park; and some fine birds from Washington state: flying Black Oystercatcher; Northern Shrike; and Hutton's Vireo as well as nesting Barred Owl. In this week's historical notes we present a summary of (a) the 1918 spring migration of birds in the NYC area; and (b) the 1882 spring migration as seen at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; and (c) the spring wildflowers of Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx) on 1 May 1949.

Red-necked Grebes are calling your name to come to a bird walk; Blaine northwest WA on 19 March 2018

Deborah Allen Photos from NYC and Washington State

Central Park, Manhattan

Male Northern Pintail, the Pond, Sunday March 25, 2018:

Singing Male Red-winged Blackbird, Swampy Pin Oak, Sun. March 25, 2018:

Washington State:

Black Oystercatcher in Flight, Blaine, March 17, 2018:

Northern Shrike, Skagit County, March 20, 2018:

Hutton’s Vireo, Bellingham, March 21, 2018:

Barred Owl at Nest, Bellingham, March 21, 2018: Link to Deborah Allen photos on Agpix site:

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk on 24 March 2018 in Washington state

Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk on 24 March 2018 in Washington state

Good! Here are the bird walks for late March-Early April - each $10

All walks in Central Park unless Otherwise Noted 1. Friday, 30 March - 9am - Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) 2a. Saturday, 31 March - 9:30am (only) - Boathouse Cafe at 74th and East Drive 2b. Saturday, 31 March - 4:30pm - Nesting Great Horned Owls of Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) For details, see info just below in GREEN, or contact us via email/phone 3. Sunday, 1 April - 9:30am (only) - Boathouse Cafe at 74th and East Drive 4. Monday, 2 April - 8am/9am - Strawberry Fields at 72nd st. and CPW (Imagine Mosaic) Any questions/concerns send them our way: or call: 718-828-8262 Finally on MORNINGS when two walks are scheduled (eg., 8am/9am), you can do both walks for $ get two for the price of one. Great Horned Owl Nest Visit Notes (Bronx): As of 28 March, the female Great Horned Owl was happily sitting on her nest, a few inches higher than on our previous visit some two weeks ago. There are now young chicks (owls) in the nest...Deborah and I saw them on 27 March. Driving to the parking lot is easy; if coming by train give yourself ample time because the bus that leaves from the last stop of the #6 train (it is the #29 City Island bus) does not run frequently...every 40 minutes or so? Check schedule: - ask the Bus Driver to let you off at the "Orchard Beach Circle/City Island Road (also known at the Police Firing Range at Rodman's Neck) can walk east (10 minutes from there or give me a call: 347-703-5554 and I will come and pick you up. Need more info? Call or email us at home. NOTE WELL: I cannot come and get you if you arrive at the bus stop at exactly 4:25pm or later...apologies! MEETING LOCATION for the start of the walk: the northeast corner of the Orchard Beach Parking Lot which is on the far left (straight ahead if driving) as you enter the parking lot


The fine print: On Sundays, until and including 8 April, our walks meet at 9:30am (only) 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 7:30am. On Saturdays, until and including 7 April , we also meet at the Boathouse at 9:30am. Starting 14/15 April we will have a 7:30am and a 9:30am walk on Sat/Sun...and the Sunday walk will switch to the Dock on Turtle Pond (15 April). PLEASE check schedule on web site and here for details. Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is above (= On Fridays, in March/April/May and early June we will meet at Conservatory Garden (105th and 5th Ave) at 9am (only). Finally, Monday walks in April/May/June meet at Strawberry Fields at 72nd street and Central Park West - look for the "Imagine" Mosaic - we meet on the benches nearby. NOTE: on MORNINGS (Sat/Sun/Mon) when two walks are scheduled (eg., 8am/9am), you can do both walks for $ get two for the price of one. 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 by 6am the day of the walk, and usually by 7:30pm the night before. If still confused and as a last resort, call us at home - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk!

We end all our Saturday thru Monday bird walks at the Boathouse (74th and the East Drive) at about noon - you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $6 total). For our Friday walks, we usually end up at (or very near) Conservatory Garden, most often at 106th street and 5th Avenue.

Magnolia in bloom on 24 April 2015 in Central Park

Magnolia in bloom on 24 April 2015 in Central Park

Here is what we saw last week (selected highlights).

Not all species we saw are reported here - we list the best: Saturday-Sunday, 24-25 March 2018 (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 9:30am) - Between Jeff Ward's bird walk on Saturday, and ours (Jeff/Deb/Bob) on Sunday, we had pretty much all the birds of March seen in the park, and both walks were remarkably similar...Highlights were the Boat-tailed Grackle female at the 59th street Pond that was seen before the walks but not on the walks...A male Northern Pintail was also here at the south end, and a Hermit Thrush was in the nearby Hallett Sanctuary. Numbers of Song Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds were noticeably greater (migrants)...but no one reported a Woodcock. In the woods, a Golden-crowned Kinglet male was seen (Deborah Allen), and up to seven Fox Sparrows remained in Mugger's Woods and the Bird Feeder area. A pair of Red-tailed Hawks was once again bringing sticks to the San Remo on 76th st and Central Park West. They have done this each spring for the last five years at least, and never raised a brood! We suspect someone from the building is removing the sticks or otherwise interfering with nesting, because the pair otherwise does well in the park and remains in the vicinity year-round. Deborah Allen's list of birds for Sunday, 25 March:



NEW YORK CITY REGION [February-March-April 1918]. The weather of late February and March was about normal, though with, perhaps, even more high wind than usual in March, especially on Sundays. The early migrants arrived at just about their average times. The first Bluebirds came well before the close of February, but the first real spring Sunday was March 3, when migrating Song and Fox Sparrows, Robins, and Bluebirds were much in evidence, the first Grackles were seen, and a Marsh Hawk and a Duck Hawk seen up the Rahway Valley were probably migrating. Later March migrants arrived with similar promptness, and Ducks (Black Ducks, Pintails, etc.) were plentiful on inland waters. The Northern Shrikes dwindled greatly in numbers in the latter part of the winter; the last was seen on March 28 (W. DeW. Miller, at Plainfield, N. J.). Fox Sparrows were perhaps less than ordinarily numerous, and certainly disappeared northward in a great hurry. Early April was cooler than is usual in this region, and the migration slowed up noticeably, so that birds were everywhere about the city found scarce on Sunday the 7th, though the first Yellow Palm Warblers were noted on that day on Long Island and in New Jersey, and a Robin was observed gathering nest-material (J. T. Nichols, on Long Island). During the following week, a five-day storm, with a great deal of northeast gale, hail, and (during most of two days) heavy snowfall, kept the migration practically at a standstill. CHARLES H. ROGERS, American Museum of Natural History, New York City. =============== Arrival of Spring Birds. Bay Ridge, L. I., June 4, 1882.

Below I give a list of some arrivals of birds during the past spring [1882]:

Hermit thrush, April 8; brown thrasher, April 27; wood thrush, May 2; tawny [Veery], May 8; robin, all winter;

catbird, May 2;

brown creeper, March 2;

golden-crowned kinglet, April 18; ruby-crowned [kinglet], April 25;

marsh hawk [northern harrier], April 21; fish hawk [Osprey], April 2; sparrow-hawk [Kestrel], April 21; pigeon-hawk [Merlin], April 8;

[American] tree-sparrow, Feb. 10; song-sparrow, Feb. 18; white-throated, Feb. 28; fox-colored [Fox Sparrow], May 8; [Eastern] towhee. April 26; white-crowned, May 22; chip-sparrow, April 22; field, May 23;

yellow-bird [American Goldfinch], May 2; purple-finch, April 22; indigo-bird [Indigo Bunting], April 20;

pewee (Empidonax Flycatcher], May 2; [Eastern] kingbird, May 7; [Eastern] wood-pewee, May 22; great-crested [Flycatcher], May 21;


golden crowned thrush [Ovenbird], May 17; black and white creeper, April 29; Nashville [Warbler], May 10; yellow-rumped, May 10; black-throated green, May 17; black-throated blue, May 18; blue yellow-back [Northern Parula], May 20; chestnut-sided, May 20; blackpoll, May 20; blackburnian, May 22; summer [Yellow Warbler], May 8; Maryland yellow-throat, April 30; green black capped [Wilson’s Warbler], May 20 redstart, May 20; yellow-breasted chat, May 3;


blue-headed solitary vireo, April 26; warbling, May 5; white-eyed, May 13; yellow-throat, May 20; red-eyed, May 20;

Baltimore oriole, May 2; Orchard oriole (male of second year), May 10; male full plumage, May 18;

purple-martin, May 21; white-bellied [Tree] swallow, May 21; sand-martin [Bank Swallow], May 20; barn-swallow, April 2;

cow-bunting [Brown-headed Cowbird], April 8; rose-breasted grosbeak, male, May 8; female, May 10;

redwing-blackbird, April 1;

purple [Common] grackle, April 2;

golden-winged woodpecker (Northern Flicker], April 2; yellow-bellied woodpeckers [Sapsucker], April 2; redhead (Red-headed Woodpecker], May 10;

yellow-billed cuckoo, May 22;

kingfisher, April 3; humming-bird, May 3;

night hawk, May 6; swifts, April 29

green heron, May 9; [Black-crowned] night heron, May 21;

least sandpiper, May 22; spotted [sandpiper], May 20; semi-palmated [sandpiper], May 19; killdeer plover, April 8; blackbreast [Black-bellied Plover], May 14;

wild geese, flying north, April 9.

A. L. Townsend.


May 1, 1949. Van Cortlandt Park, [Bronx] N. Y. Despite the threatening weather, the early time, and the several other Torrey Club trips scheduled for this date, the group set out for early flowering plants and migrating birds. Of the birds, 32 species were noted but apparently there had been no real migration during the night as very few warblers were seen. A great deal of the Van Cortlandt Park area is being dug up for roads and extension of the golf course, but the flowers were plentiful, as expected. A good stand of bluets (Houstonia caerulea) seem to be spreading in one section of the old nursery grounds which is interesting as this common plant is rare in Manhattan and Bronx. On a hill over-looking a public golf course, extensive stands of Dutchman's Breeches were noted. This hill holds most of the early flowering spring plants in rather large numbers: the common toothwort (Dentaria laciniata), early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis). A few years ago the hill was covered with Hepatica triloba but this had disappeared, probably through picking. Nothing rare was seen and the trip ended as the rain began about twelve noon. Attendance: 4. Leader: William Rissanen.


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

Follow us on Twitter: @DAllenNYC and/or @BirdingBobNYC

Bald Eagle in Flight on 19 March 2018 at Semiahmoo, northwest Washington state

Bald Eagle in Flight on 19 March 2018 at Semiahmoo, northwest Washington state

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