• Robert DeCandido PhD

Of Winter Finches and Owls: Central Park

Updated: Feb 28



19 December 2018

Bird Notes: On Wednesday night, 19 December there's an owl walk meeting at 6:30pm at the Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe ($10) - details below. Additional Owl walks will be at 4:00pm (note time difference) on Sunday afternoon (23 December) and Christmas Day (Tuesday, 25 December - 4pm). Please see the note in BLUE below about Owl walks starting at 6:30pm vs. 4pm.

Deborah Allen sends photos of winter finches including Pine Siskin, House Finch and White-winged Crossbill. Our friend Doug Leffler sends a Common Redpoll photo and a few more too. In our Historical Notes we send (a/b) Night Owl Walk tales from 21 December 2011 (NYBG in the Bronx) and 24 August 2009 (Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx); Historical Note (c) is a summary of all the 1918 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) results published that year for NYC, New Jersey and Connecticut - there are quite a few! They are noteworthy for the species of birds missing in many areas: waterfowl. By comparison, the diversity and number of most waterfowl counted on present day CBCs is significantly greater. On the other hand, grassland birds in 1918, especially Meadowlarks, appear in numbers (10-25) we would find extraordinary today...The grassland habitat has been significantly diminished in the northeast, replaced with forest and shrubland. (As a result, the number of Great Horned Owls and other forest birds in winter would be extraordinary to local observers in 1918.)


Common Redpoll - a very rare winter finch in the NYC area


Good! Here are the bird walks for mid-December - each $10***

All Bird Walks in Central Park

1. Wednesday, 19 December - 6:30pm; the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park.

Special Night Owl walk - see short note in blue below.

2. Saturday, 22 December - 7:30am/9:30am - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park.

3a. Sunday, 23 December - 7:30am/9:30am - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park.

3b. Sunday Afternoon, 23 December - 4:00pm - Meet Shakespeare Garden (approx. 79th and the West Drive) - Meet at Shakespeare side of Swedish Cottage/Marionette Theater. Special Late Afternoon Owl walk - see short note in blue below.

4a. Tuesday, 25 December - 9:30am (only!) - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park.

4b. Tuesday Afternoon, 25 December - 4:00pm - the Boathouse Restaurant (74th street and the East Drive) in Central Park. Special Late Afternoon Owl walk - see short note in blue below.

A few quick notes on the Owl Walks: the Wednesday (19 December) 6:30pm walk begins well after the owls have left their day roosts to go hunting. We wanted to schedule a walk that working people could attend after a quick dinner - that is why the late start time. SO, we will have to search for owls tonight...we have a pretty good idea where the owls go to hunt, but it could be we cannot find any owls this evening - you have been warned! I will use a tape, and usually that will bring in Barred Owls, but nothing is guaranteed. The walk will last about two hours. For the 4:00pm Sunday and Christmas Day (Tuesday) walks, we will start early where the owls have been roosting to watch the owls fly out at about 4:15pm. We should get good looks (but nothing is 100% guaranteed). The park is pretty well lit at night, you most likely do not need a flashlight on any of the walks. Even the light from your cell phone should be sufficient to find your way around in the "dark." Please: if you do bring a flashlight, keep it out of the hands of any young person else we will have a lot of older people half-blinded. Thank You - I have learned this from experience. Finally, if you are worried about leaving the park alone, don't be: there will be plenty of people on the walks going east or west when we are done to share the walk with.

Directions to All Meeting Locations can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/ya65n5a8

Any questions send them our way: rdcny@earthlink.net or call: 718-828-8262 (home) ***NOTE: on MORNINGS when two walks are scheduled (e.g., 7:30/9:30am), you can do both walks for $10/person...you get two for the price of one.

The fine print: On Saturdays and Sundays, our walks meet at 7:30am and again at 9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th street and the East Drive). Please note: the Boathouse 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 (rdcny@earthlink.net). On Mondays we meet at 8am and again at 9am at Strawberry Fields (the benches near the "Imagine" Mosaic. Enter the park at 72nd street and Central Park West and walk about 1 minute due east on the main, paved path and find the Mosaic - we are sitting nearby. On Fridays we meet at Conservatory Garden located at 105th street and 5th Avenue. Enter through the main gates and walk down the steps - head straight ahead along the long, grassy area - we meet by the giant water spout between the men's room and the women's room. If in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not the morning of the walk: check the main landing page of this web site as well as the "Schedule" page - if the walk is cancelled, information will be posted there 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 and Monday 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. Walks last about 3 hrs (less if hot or rainy), and you can leave at anytime - we won't be offended. If you need directions/help to your next destination, just ask someone on the walk - we are a helpful group.


Pine Siskin by Deborah Allen on 12 November 2018 in Suffolk Co., Long Island (Lido Beach West). We saw the first Pine Siskin in the region in late August and correctly predicted a finch "invasion" based on this sighting. Pine Siskins peaked in mid- to late November but their numbers have diminished as of late. We do not have a bumper crop of Sweetgum seeds to hold them in the area, and they do not feed upon Crab Apples as do Purple Finches and Evening Grosbeaks.



Here is what we saw last week

(selected highlights; the full list for each day is available at the links below):

Friday, 14 December (Conservatory Garden at 105th st and 5th Ave at 9am only) - the north woods are mostly devoid of small birds! If you walk from the Loch down to the Ramble as we did today, one readily sees the difference. Why this is, I don't know...but the Ramble has the bird feeders that attract some birds...which in turn attract more birds etc. So we need some bird feeders in the north end because birds are social! As for our group today, the consensus was to find owls. We quickly found the Barred Owl along the Loch (this bird may also roost just east of the Great Hill - seen there on 17 December). Then we headed south toward the Ramble stopping to see the little Saw-whet Owl I found at 7am. It was in a set of small white pine trees on the north side of the 97th street transverse. Note to Owl: there are many much better places to hide during the day...From here to the Ramble where we found 25 Black-backed Gulls on the Reservoir plus many other waterbirds (see Deborah's complete list). Arriving at Shakespeare Garden, the Barred Owl was next to Belvedere Castle but the other Northern Saw-whet was not in its usual Holly tree (but it was on Sat-Sun).

Deborah's list of birds for Friday, 14 December: https://tinyurl.com/ycm2jjov



Saturday, 15 December (NYBG in the Bronx at 9:30am) - RAIN! No bird walk.

Deborah Allen's list of birds for Sat. 15 December: Rain. No Bird Walk and no list.

Sunday, 16 December (Boathouse Restaurant at 9:30am only due to heavy rain throughout the day) - Today was the Christmas Bird Count and it was unfortunate that conditions were so bad - many birds were missed. Torrential rain prevailed upon everything. For example, only one Barred Owl was reported (but at least three were found on Monday, 17 December, and there are likely five in the park right now)...and about 99 Tufted Titmice - we believe many more Titmooses are present in the park. The darn weather prevented a more accurate/precise count. On the other hand, two wonderful people from Vermont showed up for the bird walk, and they kept a list - see the link below. Thank You Sarah Carline and husband CJ! And as an added bonus, I kept a list of people who started on these bird walks many years ago - all back in town from their first year at University: Isaiah Wender and Jordan Spindel...and Ryan Zucker who is at Fieldston College in the Bronx, a sort of reform school for incorrigibles. Other recent graduates included Alice Barner PhD and Ardith Bondi PhD - nice to see everyone on their weekend furlough.

Sarah Carline's list of birds for Sunday, 16 December: https://tinyurl.com/ydaqdsu9


Rusty Blackbird, sometimes found along water courses in Central Park by Doug Leffler


HISTORICAL NOTES

Owl Walk Highlights NYC 2011-2016

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 (Owl Walk at Dusk, NYBG in the Bronx) - sometimes I am so proud to be from (and still living in) the Bronx. Tonight was one of those nights! We were looking for Great Horned Owls at dusk specifically, but we did not have an auspicious start. I took the group (20 people strong who braved the fierce winds and 30f temp) to the tree where the Great Horned Owls have been nesting for the last three years. For whatever reason, the tree was no longer there! Oh well, and off into the deep woods we went. Walking along the wood-chipped trail, we paused near the Hemlocks where the Great Horned Owls usually spend their days during winter. With the wind blowing the tops of the trees back and forth, a persistent observer could see two owl shapes on either side of the trunk of the tallest hemlock, about 60 feet up. Most folks on the walk were highly skeptical - the blobs were blobs and not owls...So we waited. Someone then whispered they could hear an owl hooting...and the group became silent. Soon frozen faces transformed into warm smiles - everyone heard the soft hooting - there really were owls nearby (maybe those blobs really were owls after all...). So then the amazing happens: one owl flies out of the tallest Hemlock to land on a branch not too far from us in the soft light. It continues hooting. Then a second owl flies out of the same Hemlock and lands next to the first...hooting. They sit next to one another for 20 seconds or so. And then even more amazing - the second owl, a male, uses the strong wind to rise up a few feet and land on the back of the first (female) owl. Many interesting sounds ensued (none of them hoots), and some wry comments were made by folks in the group. Yes they were indeed copulating - a first for any Great Horned Owl walk we have done. We spent the rest of the evening (another 30 minutes) following the two Great Horned Owls down the path as they set off to hunt...quite fine looks were had by everyone. Hooray for the Bronx.


Monday Evening, 24 August 2009 (Owl Prowl at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx) - Jack Rothman and I wanted to do something for everyone, particularly folks from the Bronx. Hence the free owl walk. We set up in the Bartow-Pell Mansion parking lot at 7pm - with approx. 45 people there. Most were skeptical - IF there were owls in the Bronx there was no way they would show themselves to so many curious (and talky) people. As the sun set and the pink light made the contrails glow in the sky, numbers of American Robins gathered in flocks and began heading westward to roost together. Eastern Kingbirds were still making sallies to chase insects from atop the conifers surrounding the Bartow Pell parking lot. By about 7:25pm, Deborah Allen spotted the first of many Common Nighthawks gliding overhead past us. They were not vocalizing (beeping) as they traveled - something we have heard in other NYC locations during late August. That night, we had some flocks foraging above us, and others continuing on - we estimate 38 total Common Nighthawks, sadly a very good total for NYC these days. This species is declining in the northeast, even though it once bred in urban areas such as NYC. With the light still faint, but good enough to see, I switched the tape from Barn Owl raspy call (they breed in Pelham Bay Park and are likely the most common owl nesting in NYC these days) to Great Horned Owl hoots. A dense flock of Barn Swallows first flew west to find a place to roost, and then came back east, probably to find places in the reeds of the old, abandoned Bartow-Pell pond (once a great place for shorebirds). As the hooting began, people remained very skeptical. If no Barn Owl had come to investigate the sound of a conspecific, why should Great Horned Owls be any different? Skepticism quickly turned to ooohs and aaaahs as a male Great Horned Owl glided in and landed on top of a dead tree in the old garden. Some missed the glide-in but the light was good enough to easily see all the field marks of the Great Horned Owl: the large white throat (and upper breast) patch; the "horns" and of course the large size and giant clawed feet. Now for those who missed the glide-in, a second adult came in on the same flight path. This was the female...and both owls began a soft hooting, very hard to hear unless listening closely. Also, the owls cocked their tails and tilted forward to hoot - we have only seen this behavior at night, and not during the day when Great Horned Owls will occasionally give 1-2 hoots. While people were watching the owls, I watched them watching - both Jack and I were so pleased to see everyone completely absorbed, shocked almost, they were actually seeing and hearing real live wild owls in the Bronx. In fact, people were so absorbed watching the owls, I was able to sneak around and pick everyone's pocket (and to be fair, Jack drove off with a nice sports car too). If anyone needs their credit card back, just let me know...We concluded the evening by watching a number of Red Bats catching insects over us - these are more fun along the Loch in Central Park, but hey, after the owls people were on Cloud 9. As for me and Jack, we drove to Planet Claire and back in someone's Dodge Saturn. Way to go Jack!



Purple Finch female by Doug Leffler



Christmas Bird Count Results [1918]

New York City (Jerome Reservoir, Van Cortlandt Park, Mosholu Parkway, Bronx Park Botanical Gardens). 22 Dec. 1918. From 8am to 1.40 P.M. Cloudy; light showers from 9 to 11am, then steady rain; ground bare; wind: southeast, light; temp. 50f. About eight miles on foot. Observers in two parties in Van Cortlandt Park only. Herring Gull 250; Greater Scaup Duck. 30; Black-crowned Night Heron, 70 (the Bronx Park Colony); Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 12; Blue Jay, 3; American Crow 27; Starling, 140; Goldfinch, 2; White-throated Sparrow, 36; Tree Sparrow, 83; Field Sparrow, 37; Slate-colored Junco, 41; Song Sparrow, 40; Fox Sparrow, 1; Towhee, 1; Brown Creeper, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 10; Black-capped Chickadee, 71; Hermit Thrush, 1; Robin, 1. Total. 21 species. 862 individuals. GEORGE E. HIX, CLARK L. LEWIS, JR., EDWARD G. NICHOLS and L. NELSON NICHOLS. Douglaston, Long Island, N.Y. 22 Dec. 1918; 8.30 A.M. to 1.30 P.M. Cloudy; raining slowly but almost steadily after 9.45 A.M.; ground bare; wind none at start but a light southerly wind developed by noon; temp. 44f at start, 51f at return. Observers together. Herring Gull, 53; Golden-eye Duck, 50; Wild Duck, not identified, but surely not Goldeneye, 25; Black-crowned Night Heron, 1; Kingfisher, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 2; American Crow, 45; Fish Crow, 23; Starling 250 (one flock of 150 feeding with some Fish Crows upon a garbage dump); Rusty Blackbird, 24 (studied with 6X glasses at 30 ft.; the light yellow iris and the rusty tips of the feathers of upper and lower parts clearly seen); Grackle, 1 (either Purple or Bronzed); Goldfinch, 26; White-throated Sparrow, 16; Tree Sparrow, 38; Junco, 75; Song Sparrow, 11; Carolina Wren, 1; White-Breasted Nuthatch, 1; Chickadee, 7. Total. 19 species. about 650 individuals. MR. and MRS. G. CLYDE FISHER, RUTH ANNA FISHER and FARIDA WILEY. Long Beach, Long Island, N. Y. 26 Dec. 1918; 9.30 A.M. to 4.15 P.M. Driving snow most of the morning, melting at the ground; brief sunshine after midday; snow squalls in afternoon; wind fresh, approximately west; temp. 39f at daylight. 36f at sunset; sea rough and weather thick off shore until afternoon. Horned Grebe, 1; Kittiwake (?), a distant flock of 9 small Gulls were doubtless this species; Black-backed Gull, common; Herring Gull, large numbers; Black Duck, some hundreds in "raft," off shore all day; Golden-eye Duck, 2; Old-squaw 9; Scoter, a distant line going cast, species not made out; Sparrow Hawk, 1; Horned Lark, flock of 5; American Crow, common; Starling, something like 200; Ipswich Sparrow, 5 or 6, at one locality only; Savannah Sparrow, 1 with the preceding; Tree Sparrow, small flock; Myrtle Warbler, 2. Total, 10 species, a low record for Long Beach. E. P. BICKNELL. Speonk, Long Island, N.Y. 23 Dec. 1918; 8 A.M. to 4.15 P.M. Foggy in early morning, rest of day clear; ground bare; wind north, moderate: temp. 44f at start, 47f at return. Herring Gull, 16; Greater Scaup, 6; Bufflehead, 1; Ruddy Duck, 200; Great Blue Heron, 3; Virginia Rail, 2 (heard in marsh, one flushed Dec. 24); Ring-neck Pheasant, 1; Mourning Dove, 2; Marsh Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 3; Blue Jay, 3; American Crow, 20; Starling, 6; American Goldfinch, 3; Tree Sparrow, 50; Field Sparrow, 6; Slate-colored Junco, 25; Song Sparrow, 30; Swamp Sparrow, 7; White-breasted Nuthatch, 3; Black-capped Chickadee, 18; Golden Crowned Kinglet, 2.; Also 200 unidentified ducks. Total, 24 species, 609 individuals; Long-billed Marsh Wren was seen on Dec. 24. The weather has been too mild lately to record the large numbers of water-fowl here recently. LEROY WILCOX. East Marion, Long Island, N.Y 28 December 1918; 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. Clear and sunny in forenoon, cloudy in afternoon; ground bare; wind north, almost none; temp. 29f. Chief territory covered, about a mile along shore of Peconic Bay, several small pieces of woods and fields. Horned Grebe, 9; Loon, 3; Black-backed Gull, 1; Herring Gull, 225+; Red-breasted Merganser, 20; Ducks too far out for positive identification but thought to be Scaup, 25; Old Squaw, 1; White-winged Scoter, 30; Flicker, 2; Crow, 60: Starling, 3; White-throated Sparrow, 2; Slate-colored Junco, 40; Song Sparrow, 23; Myrtle Warbler, 7; Brown Creeper, 2; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Black-capped Chickadee, 14; Robin, 7. Total, 19 species, about 475 individuals. MABEL R. WIGGINS. Orient, Long Island, N.Y. 22 Dec. 1918; daylight to 4 P.M. Light, cloudy in morning, rain in afternoon; light southeast to fresh south wind; temp. 33f to 44f; ground bare, free from frost, no ice on ponds. Holboell's [Red-necked] Grebe, 3; Horned Grebe, 31; Loon, 15; Great Black-backed Gull, 2; Herring Gull, 500; Red-breasted Merganser, 30; Mallard, 3; Black Duck, 40; Greater Scaup Duck, 200; Golden-eye Duck, 85; Bufflehead Duck, 75; Old-squaw, 1,500; American [Black] Scoter, 4; White-winged Scoter, 200; Surf Scoter, 180; Bobwhite, 8 (one covey); Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Screech Owl, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 3; Yellow-breasted Sapsucker, 1; Flicker, 2; Horned Lark, 370; Prairie Horned Lark (noted with the species); Blue Jay, 3; American Crow, 50; Fish Crow, 3; Starling, 50; Meadowlark, 11; Grackle, 1; Snow Bunting, 325; Ipswich Sparrow, 1; White-throated Sparrow, 5; Tree Sparrow, 50; Junco, 10; Song Sparrow, 185 (one in song. The frequency of this species was one of the chief interests of the day, one flock contained 35 birds inclusive of this sparrow); Swamp Sparrow, 31 (30 in one colony in a Phragmites swamp); Migrant Shrike [Northern Shrike], 1; Myrtle Warbler, 5; Maryland Yellow-throat, 1 (female. The only winter record known to the writer for Long Island. The bird was seen late in November, in the same locality, and was rediscovered for the Census only after a long search in a shelter of tall grasses. Its call note was heard repeatedly); Long-billed Marsh Wren, 1 (in a cat-tail swamp, the bird in plain view at close range as long as the observer desired to study it. Although wintering locally in the north, the writer is not aware of another winter record for Long Island); Red-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Chickadee, 22; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2; Hermit Thrush, 3; Robin, 2. Total, 46 species, 4,025 individuals. Roy Latham. New Brighton, Staten Island, N.Y. (cross country to Richmond). 25 Dec. 1918; 8 A.M. to 6.15 P.M. Clear; wind moderately strong, west to northwest; temp. 44f at start, 41f at return. Observers together. Fourteen miles on foot. Herring Gull, 140 (flying across Island); Small Heron, 1 (Little Green?); Sparrow [American Kestrel] Hawk, 1; Long-eared Owl, 1 (asleep in pine, we got close); Screech Owl, 3; Belted Kingfisher 1 (on account of mild season); Downy Woodpecker, 1; Blue jay, 2: American Crow, 17; Starling, 12; Red-winged Blackbird, 1 (apparently passing winter in swamp); Savannah Sparrow, 1 (positive identification through glasses at close range); White-throated Sparrow, 2; Tree Sparrow, 2; Junco, 16: Song Sparrow, 35; Swamp Sparrow (?), 2; Cardinal (?) (heard in distance); Winter Wren, 1; Brown Creeper, 2; White-breasted Nuthatch, 4; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Black-capped Chickadee, 20; American Robin, 2. Total: 24 species; about 270 individuals. On three successive Sundays before Christmas, the Great Horned Owl was seen. Frank Allatt and Alec. Ross Staten Island, (West Brighton to within 3 miles of TottenviIle, to New Dorp). 28 December 1918; 7.30 A.M. to 5 P.M. Wind very light, west; temp. about 32f; clear in morning, but overcast in afternoon. Twenty-eight miles on foot. Herring Gull 200; Bufflehead Duck, 1: Old-squaw, 40; American [Black] Scoter, 3; White-winged Scoter, 1; Red-shouldered Hawk, 2; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 2; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Flicker, 2: Blue jay, 2; American Crow, 60; Starling, 50; Goldfinch, 1; Tree Sparrow, 21; Slate-colored junco (one flock of about 100 feeding on the seeds of dead weeds; another flock of about 200 in woods, on the edge of a small pond); Song Sparrow, 2 (in bushes bordering open fields, and 9 in tall grass in marshland near the open water); White-breasted Nuthatch, 7; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Black-capped Chickadee, 50; Robin, 1. Total. 21 species, about 800 individuals. THEODORE DREIER.



Tufted Titmouse by Doug Leffler. We will never know how many were in Central Park on Sunday, 16 December, the CBC day for Central Park. Our estimate: well over 200!


Additional Christmas Bird Counts from New Jersey and Connecticut Hackettstown, N.J. (from Hackettstown to Waterloo and about home feeding station). 26 December 1918; 8:50 A.M. to 5:05 P.M. Snow storm during morning and part of afternoon; wind southwest, brisk; temp. 32f. Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 2; Blue jay, 8; Crow, 5; Starling, 1; Rusty Blackbird, 4; Purple Finch, 40; Goldfinch, 2; Tree Sparrow, 54; Junco, 9; Song Sparrow, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 3; Chickadee, 8; Robin, 1. Total, 14 species, about 141 individuals. Bald Eagle shot and wounded near town a few weeks ago. MARY PIERSON ALLEN. Englewood Region, N. J. (Leonia to Nordhoff, through Phelps Estate then to Coytesville, Fort Lee, and Grantwood). 27 December 1918. 11 A.M. to 4.30 P.M. Clear; ground bare; wind, northwest, light; temp. 31f. Herring Gull, 30; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 3; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Flicker, 1; Blue jay, 4; American Crow, 8; Starling, 8; Red-winged Blackbird, 22 (one flock of males); Goldfinch, 24; White-throated Sparrow, 48; Tree Sparrow, 125; Field Sparrow, 1; Slate-colored Junco, 80; Song Sparrow, 65; Swamp Sparrow 2; Fox Sparrow, 23; Brown Creeper, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 7; Tufted Titmouse, 1; Black-capped Chickadee, 50. Total, 23 species, 511 individuals. EDWARD NICHOLS. Englewood Region, N. J. (Overpeck River, Phelps Estate, Palisades, and Leonia). 28 December 1918; 9:45 A.M. to 5 P.M. Snowing in morning. cloudy afterwards; ground bare; wind west: temp. 35f. Observers together. Herring Gull. 45; Marsh Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 2; Red-shouldered Hawk, 1: Rough-legged Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 2; Short-eared Owl, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 6; Blue jay, 2; Crow, 1; Starling, 95; Meadowlark, 1; Goldfinch, 130; White-throated Sparrow, 39; Tree Sparrow, 60; Slate-colored Junco, 15; Song Sparrow, 8; Fox Sparrow, 11; Brown Creeper, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 3; Tufted Titmouse, 1; Chickadee, 40; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1. Total, 24 species, about 475 individuals. Rough-legged Hawk rose from a wet meadow and was identified in good light at fairly close range as it flew by. Tufted Titmouse was observed for several minutes in company with Downy Woodpeckers, Nuthatches. and Chickadees. WALDEN PELL 2d. and S. MORRIS PELL. Rutherford, N. J. (From Rutherford to Morris and Essex Canal, and along canal by way of Allwood Road and return.) 28 December 1918; 8.15 A.M. to 5 P.M. West wind, light; no snow; temp, 25f at start. 28f on return. About 15 miles on foot, with observers together. Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Kingfisher, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 3; Flicker, 1; Blue Jay, 8; Crow, 39; Starling, 200+; Cowbird, 2 (observed with glasses at close range); American Goldfinch (?), 1; White-throated Sparrow, 55; Tree Sparrow, 75; Junco, 12; Song Sparrow, 8; White-breasted Nuthatch, 3; Chickadee, 32 (conservative estimate). Total, 15 species, 441 individuals. O. D. KEEP, R. A. BARTON, and NELSON BOTSFORD. Morristown, N. J. 25 December 1918; 8 A.M. to 12M. Mostly overcast, with occasional brief intervals of sunshine; ground bare; wind, northwest; rising temp, 41f. Distance covered about 6 miles, Sparrow Hawk, 1; Osprey, 1 (identification positive, seen first at a considerable distance, soaring, and recognized almost at once; then watched for five minutes or more until almost directly overhead, and not at a great height; call heard. As we customarily see a few of these birds during spring and fall migrations. I feel certain of the identification); Kingfisher, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 1; Red-headed Woodpecker, 1; Blue jay, 25; Crow, 36; Starling, 1; Purple Finch, 25; (one singing); Goldfinch, 9; Tree Sparrow, 44; Field Sparrow, 1: Junco, 83; Song Sparrow, 10 (one singing); Cardinal, 2; Brown Creeper, 9; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Chickadee, 32; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1. Total, 20 species, 304 individuals. Dec. 22, I saw a small flock of American [Red] Crossbills, the first in several years. R. C. CASKEY. Plainfield, N. J. (to Ash Swamp). 29 December 1918; 7.15 A.M. to 5.20 P.M. Fair; ground bare; wind moderate; temp. 26f. Mourning Dove, 8 (flock); Cooper's (?) Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 3; Red-shouldered Hawk, 1; Saw-whet Owl, 1; Screech Owl, 3 (one in a hole, two at dusk); Hairy Woodpecker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 6; Flicker, 1; Blue jay, 6: American Crow, 75; Starling, 30; Meadowlark, 35 (flock); Purple Finch, 8 (flock); Goldfinch, 5; White-throated Sparrow, 25; Tree Sparrow, 135; Field Sparrow, 8; Junco, 95; Song Sparrow, 22; Swamp Sparrow, 2 (together); White-breasted Nuthatch, 8; Tufted Titmouse, 1; Black-capped Chickadee, 18. Total, 24 species, 499 individuals. This is my latest record of the Mourning Dove. The Cardinal and Brown Creeper are rarely missed on this route. W. DeW. MILLER. New Brunswick, N.J. 27 December 1918; 8.15 A.M. to 1.30 P.M. Partly cloudy; ground bare; wind northwest, moderate; temp. 25f to 34f. Herring Gull, 4; Turkey Vulture, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 2; Hairy Woodpecker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 4; American Crow, 99; Fish Crow, 8; Starling, 11; Purple Finch, 41; Goldfinch, 2; White-throated Sparrow, 1; Tree Sparrow, 1; Junco, 43; Song Sparrow, 20; Fox Sparrow, 2; Brown Creeper, 1; Tufted Titmouse, 2; Chickadee, 11; Carolina Chickadee, 16; Total, 20 species, 278 individuals. Two close views of the Turkey Vulture, flying low, were obtained. Three Purple Finches occasionally sang their warbling song. STUART T. DANFORTH. Sandy Hook, N.J. 29 December 1918. 12.30 P.M. to 3 P.M. Fair; sky, clear; wind, northwest, light; ground, bare; temp. 20f. Herring Gull, 500 (estimate); Double-crested Cormorant, 3; Sora Rail, 1; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1; Fish Hawk [Osprey], 2; Short-eared Owl, 1; American Crow, 300 (estimate); Fish Crow, 50 (estimate); Flicker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 1; Starling, 150 (estimate); Cardinal, 4; Goldfinch, 5; Junco, 300 (estimate); Song Sparrow, 2; Vesper Sparrow, 2; White-throated Sparrow, 50 (estimate); White-crowned Sparrow, 1; Myrtle Warbler, 300 (estimate); Catbird, 1; Hermit Thrush, 6; Robin, 300 (estimate). Total, 22 species; approximately 1,982 individuals. SEARGEANT GEORGE E. EKBLAW and ALFRED NORDSTROM. Monmouth Junction, N.J. 27 December 1918; 9 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Partly cloudy; ground bare; wind west, moderate; temp. 26f at start. Marsh Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 3; Hairy Woodpecker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 4; Blue Jay, 1; Crow, 41; Starling, 170; Goldfinch, 7; Tree Sparrow, 45; Junco, 33; Song Sparrow, 9; White-breasted Nuthatch, 6; Tufted Titmouse, 2; Chickadee, 10. Total, 15 species, 335 individuals. R. E. DANFORTH. Princeton, N. J. (the surrounding country within a radius of four miles, by motor and on foot). 26 December 1918; 10 A.M. to 4. P.M. Mourning cloudy; light snow; wind west, afternoon clear; wind northwest; temp. 36f to 34f. Great Blue Heron (took flight 100 feet away, shore of Carnegie Lake), 1; Marsh Hawk, 2; Pigeon [Merlin] Hawk (bluish back, and rapid pigeon-like flight unmistakable), 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Downy Woodpecker, 2 (pair); Blue Jay, 1; Crow, 1,000; Starling, 500; Goldfinch 15 (one flock); White-throated Sparrow, 2 (pair); Tree Sparrow, 15 (one flock); Junco, 25; Song Sparrow, 6; Cardinal, 2; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Tufted Titmouse, 2; Black capped Chickadee, 8; Carolina Chickadee, 1. Total, 18 species and 1,590 individuals. HENRY LANE ENO. Princeton, N. J. (along Stony Brook above the Double Bridges 2 miles). 25 December 1918; Alternate snow flurries and sunlight; ground bare, grass green and dandelions in bloom; wind west to northwest, strong temp 33f to 35f. Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Crow, about 50; Starling, about 200 (in one flock); Purple Finch 1; Goldfinch, 1; Tree Sparrow, 1; Slate-colored Junco about 75 (three flocks); Brown Creeper, 5; White-breasted Nuthatch, 4; Chickadee about 100 (three flocks); Bluebird, 2 (others heard singing). Total, 12 species about 447 individuals. TERTIUS VAN DYKE. Mount Holly, N. J. 25 December 1918; 7 A.M. to 11 A.M. Clear; wind southwest and light; temp, 42f at start, and 48f at return. Covered about 5 miles. Turkey Vulture, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 3; Blue Jay, 4; Crow, 5,000; Starling, 10; Goldfinch, 6; White-throated Sparrow, 21; Tree Sparrow, 30; Slate-colored Junco, 30; Song Sparrow, 14; Fox Sparrow, 1; Cardinal, 8; Myrtle Warbler, 1; Carolina Wren, 1; Brown Creeper, 2; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 2; Carolina Chickadee, 7. Total, 19 species, 5,143 individuals. On walk Sunday 22 December 1918, saw Field Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Golden-crowned Kinglet. MR. and MRS. NELSON D. W. PUMYEA. Moorestown, N. J. (Fifteen mile circle, including shore of Delaware River, Rancocas Creek, Swedes Run, Pompeston, Pensauken and Coopers Creeks). 25 December 1918; 6.50 A.M. to 5 P.M. Fair; ground bare; wind southwest, light, becoming northwest and blustery; temp. 42f at start, 42f at return. Three distinct units, two with automobiles, one afoot. One unit returned at noon; a second also returned but went out again; the third remained out all day. Herring Gull, 86; American Merganser, 50; Black-crowned Night Heron, 2; Killdeer, 1; Marsh Hawk, 1; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 3; Cooper's Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 7; Red-shouldered Hawk, 2; Broad-winged (?) Hawk, 2; Sparrow Hawk, 11; Hairy Woodpecker, 4; Downy Woodpecker, 15; Flicker, 5; Horned Lark, 1; Blue Jay, 12; Crow, 261; Starling, 55; Meadowlark, 25; Purple Finch, 15; American [Red] Crossbill, 1; Goldfinch, 33; White-throated Sparrow, 92; Tree Sparrow, 70; Field Sparrow, 4; Junco, 143; Song Sparrow, 77; Fox Sparrow, 1; Towhee, 1; Cardinal, 27; Pine Warbler, 1; Myrtle Warbler, 1; Catbird, 1; Carolina Wren. 9; Brown Creeper, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 14; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 3; Tufted Titmouse, 7; Black-capped Chickadee, 19; Robin, 1; Bluebird, 1. Total, 41 species, 1,074 individuals. Three Purple Grackles were reported from Moorestown on the 25th, by a neighbor. The following records may be added: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Dec. 4, and again about the 20th; Winter Wren conspicuous by its absence. M. ALBERT LINTON, ANNA A. MICKLE, SAMUEL N. RHOADS, ELLEN C. CARTER, WILLIAM BACON EVANS and GEORGE H. HALLETT, JR. Camden, N. J. (and vicinity). 22 December 1918; 7.30 to 8.30 A.M. and 10.30 A.M. to 4 P.M. Heavy mist changing to rain shortly, and a driving southeast storm by late afternoon; wind east to southeast; temp 45f to 50f. Observers together. Herring Gull, 103; Merganser, 8; Duck (Black?), 10; Killdeer, 1; Bob-white, 6; Cooper's Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 2; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 3; Barn Owl, 1; Long-eared Owl, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 3; Crow, 30; Starling, 200; Meadowlark, 1; Goldfinch, 1; White-throated Sparrow, 50; Tree Sparrow, 8; Field Sparrow, 1; Junco, 70; Song Sparrow, 10; Swamp Sparrow, 1; Cardinal, 5; Brown Creeper, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 2; Chickadee, 5; Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 1; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 3. Total, 28 species, 529 individuals. CONRAD K. ROLAND and JULIAN K. POTTER. South Windsor, Conn. 27 December 1918; 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. Partly cloudy; with occasional flurries of snow; wind west, light; temp. 30f. 10 miles. Herring Gull, 4; Black Duck, 5; Red-shouldered Hawk, 2; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Ruffed Grouse, 1; Screech Owl, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Horned Lark, 45; Blue Jay, 8; Crow, 300; Starling, 25; Red-wing Blackbird, 1; Purple Finch, 15; Goldfinch, 20; White-throated Sparrow, 1; Tree Sparrow, 250; Junco, 15; Swamp Sparrow, 1; Song Sparrow, 12; Brown Creeper, 7; White-breasted Nuthatch, 6; Chickadee, 15, Total, 23 species, about 772 individuals. C.W. VIBERT. Hartford, Conn. 25 December 1918; 8 A.M. to 2 P.M. Cloudy; light mist; no wind; ground bare; temp, 45f. Sparrow Hawk, 8; Barred Owl, 1; Screech Owl, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 7; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Blue Jay, 26; American Crow, 40; Starling, 255; Goldfinch, 49; Tree Sparrow, 65; Slate-colored Junco, 103; Song Sparrow, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 5; Chickadee, 15+. Total, 14 species, 616 individuals. CLIFFORD M. CASE. Hartford, Conn. (North from this city beside the Connecticut River several miles, and in the meadows and woodland adjacent to said river). 25 December 1918; 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. cloudy all forenoon, to clear in afternoon; temp. 38f to 49f; wind light, and changeable throughout the day; ground bare and muddy, following a very heavy rain all night previous. About 10 miles. Herring Gull, 6; Black Duck, 6; Red-shouldered Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 2; Screech Owl, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 2; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Horned Lark, (one flock) 50+; Blue Jay, 6; American Crow, 1000+; Starling, 200+; Purple Finch. 10; Goldfinch, 75 +; White-throated Sparrow, 1; Tree Sparrow, 300+; Slate-colored Junco, (one flock) 50+; Song Sparrow, (unusually plentiful) 20+; Swamp Sparrow, 1; Brown Creeper, 4; White-breasted Nuthatch, 5; Chickadee, 15+; Total, 21 species, 1760+ individuals. Redpolls, Pine Grosbeak and Pileated Woodpeckers reported here recently, but not seen today. GEO. T. GRISWOLD. West Hartford, Conn. 22 December 1918; 7 to 12 A.M. and 3 to 4.30 P.M. Cloudy forenoon, Rain afternoon. Light wind; ground bare, temp. up to 55f. Nine mile tramp, Ruffed Grouse, 2; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Northern Pileated Woodpecker, 2; Blue Jay, 3; American Crow, 300; Starling, 150; Goldfinch, 130; Tree Sparrow, 21; Junco, 25; Song Sparrow, 1; Chickadee, 6. Total, 11 species, 641individuals. EDWARD H. MUNGER. Bristol, Conn. (Edgewood District and northwest quadrant of city). 25 December 1918; 7.20 A.M. to 4.50 P.M. Cloudy with mist and fog on elevated territory; ground bare; trees and bushes dripping; a faint breath of air east; temp. 40f at start, 44f at return. Began to clear at noon; southwest breeze changing to brisk from northwest and slightly cloudy at return. Hairy Woodpecker 2; Downy Woodpecker, 2; Blue Jay, 19; Crow, 10; Starling, 45; Goldfinch 182+; White-throated Sparrow, 1; Tree Sparrow, 2; Song Sparrow, 2; Winter Wren, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 5; Chickadee 25. Total, 12 species, 296 individuals. ELBERT E. SMITH and FRANK BRUEN. New London, Conn. 26 December 1918; 9.20 A.M. to 4 P.M. Snowing, very little wind; temp. 38f at start. Seven miles on foot. Hoelbell's [Red-necked] Grebe, 1; Horned Grebe, 9; Herring Gull, 182; Ring-billed Gull, 2; Scaup Duck, 10; Kingfisher, 1; Goldfinch, 1; Tree Sparrow, 23; Song Sparrow, 6; Chickadee, 11. Total, 10 species, 246 individuals. FRANCES M. GRAVES. Birdcraft Sanctuary to Fairfield Beach, Conn. 25 December 1918; sunrise to sunset; Fair, temp. 42f, ground bare. Herring Gull, 300; Red-breasted Merganser, 1; Lesser Scaup, 1; Old-squaw, 70; Surf Scoter, 5; White-winged Scoter, 200; English Pheasant, 2; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 2; Barred Owl, 2; Kingfisher, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Blue Jay, 7; Crow, 9; Starling, 250; Meadowlark, 2; Goldfinch, 14; White-throated Sparrow, 11; Junco, 15; Song Sparrow, 7; Fox Sparrow, 3; Winter Wren, 1; Brown Creeper, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 2; Chickadee 6; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2; Robin, 3. Total, 28 species, 928 individuals. FRANK NORAK Warden. Norwalk, Conn. 24 December 1918; 7 to 11 A.M. Cloudy; ground bare; wind northeast, very light; temp. 38f to 44f. Horned Grebe, 4; Great Black-backed Gull, 2; Herring Gull, 47; Red-breasted Merganser, 2; Black Duck, 2; Scaup Duck, 34: Golden-eye Duck, 42; Bufflehead Duck, 5; Old-squaw, 36; Great Blue Heron, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 2; Horned Lark, 9; Blue Jay, 4; Crow, 39; Starling, 13; Meadowlark, 4; Snow Bunting, 56; Tree Sparrow, 8; Field Sparrow, 2; Junco, 6; Song Sparrow, 3; Pipit, 1; Brown Creeper, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 2; Chickadee, 8. Total, 25 species, 329 individuals. The Pipit was in company with the Horned Larks. Its presence was first detected by its call note. Later it was observed from about 100 feet. ARETAS A. SAUNDERS.



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


Ruby-crowned Kinglet by Doug Leffler: only one was seen on this past Sunday's CBC in Central Park by Deborah Allen on Sunday, 9 December


White-winged Crossbill by Deborah Allen on 19 December 2012

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