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Migration Continues! Breeding Birds starting to Nest: Central Park

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Cedar Waxwing adult by Deborah Allen on 18 May 2018 (Central Park)

30 May 2018 Schedule Notes: Our Bird Walks are now Thursdays through Mondays with no walks on Tuesday/Wednesdays. Our web site lists all our upcoming walks: - or see below. Beginning 16 June (Saturdays 16, 23 and 30) we will be heading to Jamaica Bay (Queens) and NYBG in the Bronx. More info to follow in early June.

We were awarded a 2018 Certificate of Excellence for our Central Park Bird Walks by Trip Advisor: - you can read comments about these walks written by people we've met - Thank You Everyone from the folks here at Birding Bob Bird Walks = Deborah Allen and Notorious B-O-B: Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen (see her links below), and show birds from Central Park including Cedar Waxwing, Black-and-white Warbler, Eastern Wood Pewee, Common Yellowthroat and more. In this week's historical notes we feature information on (a) birds in the NYC area in June-July 1918, exactly 100 years ago; and (b) the birds of Brentwood, Long Island in May 1912.

Deborah Allen sends Photos from Central Park:

Female Black-and-white Warbler, west of Iphigene’s Walk,Saturday May 26, 2018:

Male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Upper Lobe, Saturday May 26, 2018:

Eastern Wood-Pewee, Upper Lobe Lawn, Saturday May 26, 2018:

Male Common Yellowthroat, Oak Bridge, Monday May 28, 2018:

Female Red-winged Blackbird Displaying, Bow Bridge, Monday, May 28, 2018:

Deborah Allen's web site for bird photos:

Great Crested Flycatcher by Deborah Allen on 28 May 2018 in Central Park

Good! Here are the bird walks for Early June - each $10***

All walks in Central Park 1. Thursday, 31 May - 9am (only) - Dock on Turtle Pond (opposite Belvedere Castle) 2. Friday, 1 June - 9am (only) - Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) 3. Saturday, 2 June - 7:30am/9:30am - Boathouse Cafe at 74th and East Drive 4. Sunday, 3 June - 7:30am/9:30am - Dock on Turtle Pond 5. Monday, 4 June - 8am/9am - Strawberry Fields at 72nd street and CPW (Imagine Mosaic) x. Tuesday, 5 June - No Bird Walk! x. Wednesday, 6 June - No Bird Walk! 6. Thursday, 7 June - 9am (only) - Dock on Turtle Pond (opposite Belvedere Castle) 7. Friday, 8 June - 9am (only) - Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) 8. Saturday, 9 June - 7:30am/9:30am - Boathouse Cafe at 74th and East Drive 9. Sunday, 10 June - 7:30am/9:30am - Dock on Turtle Pond 10. Monday, 11 June - 8am/9am - Strawberry Fields at 72nd street and CPW (Imagine Mosaic) Any questions/concerns send them our way: or call: 718-828-8262

***NOTE: on MORNINGS when two walks are scheduled (e.g., 8am/9am or 7:30/9:30am), you can do both walks for $10/ get two for the price of one.

Directions to All Meeting Locations can be found here:


The fine print: On Sundays, our walks meet at 7:30am and again at 9:30am at the Dock on Turtle Pond adjacent to Delacorte Theater on the south end of the Great Lawn (approx. 79th street). We also meet here on Thursday in May and early June but only at 9am. On Saturdays, we meet at the Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe at 7:30am and again at 9:30am. (It is not one of the buildings that surround the nearby Model Boat Pond - people make this mistake all the time!). Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is above (= On Fridays, we will meet at Conservatory Garden (105thand 5th Ave) at 9am (only). Finally, Monday walks in meet at Strawberry Fields at 72nd street and Central Park West - look for the “Imagine" Mosaic - we meet on the benches nearby at 8am and again at 9am.

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 11pm 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 weekend Central Park walks at the Boathouse 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.

male American Redstart by Doug Leffler in Michigan, Autumn 2017

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

Not all species we saw are reported here - we list the best: Thursday, 24 May (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - at the beginning of the walk when I first played my recordings of the alarm call of a vireo, a German birder with us for the morning gave me the oddest look. I asked him the word for crazy in German...he told me but I've forgotten - but he smiled and agreed yes I must be crazy because what I was doing was (a) not allowed in Germany and (b) going to scare birds away and not bring them to us. Well, happily he was right: I am crazy but that does not mean the second half of his reasoning was true too! We did get many birds to come in such as Mourning Warbler (that Patty Pike and Sally Kopstein got to see) that popped up and then gave a series of short songs (probably a young male); or the 11 other warbler species (see Deborah's list)...and Red-eyed Vireos, Baltimore Orioles and more. As an aside, I arrived this morning at 5:15am for a film shoot with a crew needing close-up shots of birds...and was able to watch the (female) Common Nighthawk that has been in the park for a few days skimming the East Drive (and Turtle Pond) for one point an Eastern Kingbird was chasing this bird away from the water. It's a jungle out there sometimes. Deborah Allen's list of birds for Thursday, 24 May: ------------------- Friday, 25 May (start at Conservatory Garden, Central Park at 9am) - we managed 10 warbler species today and continued the streak we began on 4 least 10 or more warbler species per day for the last three weeks. That being said, several this morning were seen by me before the walk when it was cooler: Chestnut-sided and female Canada for example. We see this often: with warm (about 75f) temperature and sunny conditions, it is difficult to bring in warblers in most places with my recordings. That is why we do so well in cloudy cool conditions (and even rain). Also, it is the end of the season...10 warbler species is pretty good. Fewer were found in the lower park (Ramble). As for other birds, an Eastern Wood Pewee and just the locals capturing people's attention: swooping and landing nearby Northern Flicker and Red-bellied Woodpecker. Deborah Allen's list of birds for Friday, 25 May: ------------------ Saturday, 26 May (Boathouse in Central Park at 7:30am and again at 9:30am) - with the warm weather coming up from the south, and clear overnight skies, many more birds have been leaving (and flying over) Central Park than landing to stay a day. We need some overnight rain to bring birds down into Central Park. Today we managed only 8 warbler species - the first time we have seen less than 10 since early May - but that was not the whole story. We found some significant birds that everyone saw well: Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Deborah's photos later revealed it was a male); Grey-cheeked Thrush; Chestnut-sided Warbler...and for anyone who enjoys interacting with birds, a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers put on quite a show just over our heads, and three Northern Flickers plus a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers did the same...and several Baltimore Orioles as well (thank you recordings!). Deborah Allen's list of birds for Saturday, 26 May: ------------------ Sunday, 27 May (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 7:30am and again at 9:30am) - Rain! No bird walk(s). Deborah Allen's list of birds for Sunday, 27 May: None. ------------------ Monday, 28 May (start at Strawberry Fields at 8am and again at 9am) - a Memorial Day and a cool one (+ not raining!)...quite welcome. Highlights included 11 warbler species and a lovely male Scarlet Tanager. The most appreciated event was the male Red-winged Blackbird displaying his red epaulets to the speaker on the ground broadcasting female Red-winged Blackbird calls. A close second was the pair of Flickers perching near to us in response to the tape. Deborah Allen's list of birds for Monday, 28 May: ----------------- Tuesday, 29 May - No Bird Walk! ---------------- Wednesday, 30 May - No Bird Walk!

Blue-headed Vireo by Doug Leffler in Michigan (Autumn 2017)


NEW YORK REGION [June-July 1918]. After a cold spell in April, the spring and summer came on gradually and steadily until June. June and July were cool and backward, there being little hot summer weather until about August 1. Summer resident birds arrived on time and were present in about their usual numbers. Every year more Laughing Gulls summer in this vicinity. July 6 and 7 of this year a flock of about fifty were noted at Mt. Sinai, L.I. Waves of spring transients, Warblers, etc., were notably absent. Two hypotheses have been advanced in explanation: That these birds are actually decreased in number, or that there were lacking warm waves to stimulate the rapid advance of the migrants and cold waves to hold them up in this latitude. The most notable bird phenomenon in this vicinity was the abundance and lateness of north-bound shore-birds, several species lingering through June, the last of this spring flight being a single Ring-neck Plover at Long Beach on July 3 (E. P. Bicknell). As the Least Sandpiper had returned there from the North on that same date (about its usual time of arrival), north- and south-bound birds actually met in this latitude. It is assumed that the Ring-neck of July 3 was a straggler from the northward flight, as that species had been present through the month of June. It would be interesting to know whether this individual continued northward until it met members of its own species returning, remained in this vicinity until they arrived, or turned southward at this point with Least Sandpipers and other birds with which Ring-necks associate. The late summer occurrence of young Little Blue Herons on Long Island is greater than that of last year (a flock of eight observed at Mastic, 60 or 70 miles east, August 3), but there have been fewer American Egrets reported from near New York. JOHN T. NICHOLS, New York, N.Y. =================================== Long Island Notes [1912] In this section of Long Island, where the native trees are almost entirely pine, and running water is absolutely lacking, most of the smaller birds - Thrushes, Warblers, Vireos, Flycatchers, not remain to nest, though a few species seem just suited and stay by the hundred. But the migrations of May, 1912, brought for a few days at least, such a plenty of birds as must have delighted any student. The first week of the month was very wet and stormy, probably seriously delaying the migrants, but between May 9 and 11 there came a flight quite worthy of note. Especially in the village were the birds plentiful, where many maples and other deciduous trees have been cultivated for years, and among the earliest to attract notice were a number of Scarlet Tanagers full colored males who rambled about on at least two days in couples, trios, and even, on one occasion, in a quartet, a beautiful sight. On another day I saw three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (males), a Baltimore Oriole, a Catbird, a Hummingbird, several Red-eyed Vireos, and Warblers! The Pine, Black-throated Green, and Yellow-rumped Warblers were already here, and these three days added in quantity the Parula, Black-and-white and Black-throated Blue, and in fewer numbers the Redstart, Maryland Yellowthroat, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Blackpoll, Louisiana Water-Thrush and Oven-bird. No doubt I missed many others, for it was often impossible to recognize one before a new song or flick of color on a near-by branch made it difficult to keep my attention on the first. One little corner was almost ideal: about a quarter of an acre not far from the main street, but so surrounded by hedges and tall pines that it was quite shut off from people and houses. It seemed to have been an old-time lawn from the bright-colored shrubs along one side, then a few small fruit trees and on the north side of the lot, against a perfect background of pines, a big cherry tree in full blossom. That cherry tree was the Warblers' harbor, and I had only to wait quietly under a near-by pear tree and look and listen as they approached from every side. That certainly was the great migration of the season. By May 12 it was mostly over, and by May 17 few except those intending to nest here were to be found. By the latter date the Prairie Warbler had become noticeable, and now these are plentiful, particularly in a tract that once was thick with second-growth pine, but in May, 1911, was severely burned. The big brakes and quick-growing underbrush have already covered the ground, but the stark, ragged trees above, some still showing green along the higher branches, others dead to the very tops, all still black with the smut of burning, offer a sad apology for the grace and beauty of thirteen months ago. The [Common] Yellowthroats also have remained in numbers, generally choosing quarters where the masses of low scrub-oak and the woods are trying to overcome each other. Beyond these two I know of no other Warblers now here. The Pine Warbler was an early arrival, my first date being April 21, the last May 17. During most of that time they were present in considerable numbers, and their song was so exactly like that of the Chippy that by song alone I never felt certain which bird I heard. Since May 15, a Great-crested Flycatcher has been in the neighborhood; later still a few Pewees arrived, and toward the middle of June a Kingbird showed himself occasionally. By the middle of May also, and since, Brown Thrashers have been nearly as abundant as the Chewinks [Towhees], and from late April till late in May, Goldfinches were beyond number. Now the last are more scattered for nesting and more quiet. A few Red-Eyes are likely to be found later in the summer, but at the present date I seldom hear one. Thrushes of all sorts are very few, even during migrations; but I have seen a Veery on two occasions, and last summer two Wood Thrushes used to sing regularly from a dense grove of pines in the center of the village. This year I believe a pair is nesting nearby. The Baltimore Orioles are still singing along the principal streets, and as their favorite elms are very scarce, they seem to prefer maples and the tall white locusts for nest-trees. In some localities, Purple Martins have nested for years in boxes put up for them, but I have had no personal experience with them and reports indicate that they are growing a little scarce. House Wrens also are quite ready to use suitable boxes. But the Blue Jays and Flickers here are no more the wild birds of the woods that I had formerly supposed them, than are Song Sparrows! Flickers do not winter here to my knowledge, but appeared early in April, and two weeks later they were to be heard and seen in every direction on the ground, in trees, flying over the fields, drumming, calling every note they could remember (and that's quite a variety!) and before long they began to investigate old holes and start new ones. Suitable wood seemed to be the only necessity, for the hole might be freshly drilled in some old dead favorite in the woods with several black holes of past years within a few feet, in the hollow of an old apple tree, in the top of a telephone pole beside the road, or the best I have yet seen in an old stump only thirty-five feet from the corner of a piazza. The last, to be sure, is on the property of a true bird-lover, far enough from the village to be free of English Sparrows, where the many trees contain boxes for the Wrens and Martins and where, above all, a water-pan is kept filled. Here the Flickers come as well as others, not only to drink but often to bathe, and delight their hostess by spattering the water to the very edge of the porch. Yet the Flickers had troubles, for once the stump was cut down and had to be nailed back in place, and a strip of tin fastened around to discourage cats, for the hole is just at a convenient height to look in. Yet this is the fourth season they have used it. Blue Jays are plentiful all the year and are ready to nest in the pines or big arborvitae hedges on one's lawn, or in the woods, as the case may be. But now, of course, they are far less noisy than earlier in the spring. Chimney Swifts are plentiful, a number of Barn Swallows and Whip-poor-wills are in evidence, while on several occasions I thought a Night Hawk called, but never could find the bird. A few Doves are about also, and almost any fine morning, soon after sunrise, their soft cooing may be heard. All the spring Bluebirds have been decidedly scarce, making me wonder if the fast-increasing Starlings are partly the cause. I have not mentioned the innumerable Purple Grackles and Meadow Larks, nor the Sparrows. Of the last, those nesting are Chippy, Song, Field and Vesper, the last less common now than in May; and I saw a few Fox and White-throated during migrations. Red Crossbills, which were about at odd times during the winter, surprised me on May 17, a flock of eight! As the honeysuckle opens I hope each day for the appearance of a pair of Hummers, for last summer they nested on a maple branch beside one of the main auto streets, using dandelion puffs and the usual covering of small pieces of lichen. Isabel McC. Lemmon, Brentwood, L. I.


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD Follow us on Twitter: @DAllenNYC and/or @BirdingBobNYC

59th Street Pond (Central Park) in Infra-Red B/W on 4 June 2006 (rdc)

59th Street Pond (Central Park) in Infra-Red B/W on 4 June 2006 (rdc)

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