• Robert DeCandido PhD

Spring Birds are Here! Pine Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets -- More

Updated: Feb 28

3 April 2019

Bird Notes: the weather is not looking good for this Friday (5 April - 9am) and Monday (8 April - 8am/9am) bird walks; all-day showers are forecast for both days. Please keep an eye on the schedule page of this web site for cancellation notices. Starting the last week of April, we will be adding Tuesday and Thursday evening walks starting at 6pm, led by Ms. Sandra Critelli.

Weather is the key to spring migration - days when the forecast is for warm temps (above 60f) result from southerly winds bringing mild air northwards and migrating birds in the overnite winds. Similarly, if it rains overnite, migrating birds are apt to land in Central Park early on the following morning. Keep an eye on the weather! Right now we are featuring large numbers of migrating Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Northern Flickers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Song Sparrows and more.

In our Historical Notes we send a potpourri of reports from 1875 to 1905 including the (a) spring 1905 list of birds seen in Central Park including 150 Snow Buntings, some Red Crossbills and single Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher (the latter on 10 May). We just had the first Gnatcatchers in the park this past weekend; (b) a Red Crossbill nest in Riverdale (Bronx) started on 22 April 1878 reported by E.P. Bicknell; (c) birds introduced to Central Park by the Acclimatization Society including Skylarks, Chaffinches, House Sparrows and more. There was a significant movement to transfer species from one part of the world to another that began with fish such as Trout and Salmon. Soon this extended to non-economic species and Central Park was the center of activity for several years; (d) the price of fish in the Fulton Fish Market, winter 1878, including Striped Bass, Mackerel, Terrapins (ok not a fish) and even a Porbeagle shark (not a fish either).

Brown Creeper in the Ramble on 30 March 2019 by Deborah Allen

Good! Here are the bird walks for Early April

All Bird Walks in Central Park - $10

1. Friday, 5 April at 9am - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th st./5Ave)

2.***Saturday, 6 April at 7:30am/9:30am - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park** 3.***Sunday, 7 April at 7:30am/9:30am - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park**

4.***Monday, 8 April at 8am/9am - Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic - 72 St and CPWest)**

*** On mornings when two walks are scheduled, you can do both walks for $10/person...you get two for one. OR you can do either the 7:30am or the 9:30am for $10... **The Boathouse Restaurant is located at 74th street and the East Drive within the park.

**Strawberry Fields: the Imagine Mosaic is approx. 40 meters inside the park by the benches

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)

Black-capped Chickadees by Judy Ryan

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!. On Fridays we meet at Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Avenue - walk down the steps and walk straight ahead for the far side. If worried, ask someone to direct you to the men's restroom - we meet 10 meters from that location. On Mondays we are at Strawberry Fields - meet at the Imagine Mosaic - that is approx. 72nd street about 40 meters inside the park from Central Park West. On Thursdays we meet at the Dock on Turtle Pond - for all of these meeting locations check this web site - there is a full page devoted to meeting locations!

Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is above (rdcny@earthlink.net). If you are lost and trying to get to the bird walk, call Deborah's cell phone...but remember on weekends there will be 2-3 other people calling who are also lost - please be patient! 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 walks (except Fridays) at the Boathouse at about noon; you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $6 total). 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 Warbler in the Ramble eating suet at the Bird Feeders by Deborah Allen on 30 March 2019

Here is what we saw last weekend (brief highlights)

Friday, 29 March (Conservatory Garden at 9:00am) - spring birds began arriving in number this week, and we were able to see a bunch today: many Golden Crowned Kinglets along the Loch...somewhere more than 25. Many came in close to the "flocking" calls I played; also along the Loch were Winter Wren (spent the last several months here fide Vicki Seabrook) and one Swamp Sparrow. Earlier a Great Blue Heron had been perching in the trees over the water, but by 9am it had moved on. Other birds of note included many Northern Flickers, a Chipping Sparrow (early migrant), and flyover Great Egret and Double-crested Cormorant. The Ruddy Ducks at the Meer were five males in very red coloration, and one female. Speaking of females, a very uncommon migrant (or winter resident), a Hairy Woodpecker came in to our calls near the Blockhouse. Today was the beginning of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker flight that increased on the two following days. Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Friday, 29 March: https://tinyurl.com/y6g7p2ts

Saturday, 30 March and Sunday, 31 March (The Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe at 7:30am and again at 9:30am): Of the two weekend days, Saturday was the better one for birds (and weather). The flight of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers continued from Friday: all the ones we saw today (and Sunday) were adult males. Similarly the vast majority (>95%) of the Northern Flickers we found on both weekend days were adult males. Saturday featured more Pine Warblers than Sunday...as well as more Eastern Phoebes and overall just a greater diversity (and more individuals) than Sunday. Other highlights on Saturday included Field Sparrows, flyover Osprey, immature Cooper's Hawk...and more of the common migrants such as Song Sparrow, White-throat and even Fox Sparrow. Sunday, before the rains began at 11:30am, featured a Black-and-white Warbler found by Sandra Critelli and (in the afternoon) at least two Blue-grey Gnatcatchers. Deborah Allen's List for Saturday, 30 March: https://tinyurl.com/yygtalaq Deborah Allen's List for Sunday, 31 March: https://tinyurl.com/yxoprnyd

Bloodroot (native wildflower in the poppy family) on 6 April 2009


Some Spring Records From The Vicinity of New York City [1905] Central Park March 5th [1905]. 150 Snowflakes [Snow Buntings] remained about a week. ["Under observations, Mr. C. GA. Abbott reported seeing in Central Park on March 5 [1905] a flock of Snow Buntings (Passerina nivalis), which remained there for several days."] March 7th. Three (3) American [Red] Crossbills. March 26th. One (1) Mourning Dove. May 8th. Thirteen (13) Bay-breasted Warblers. May 10th. One (1) female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

CARLETON SCHALLER, New York City. CARLETON SCHALLER (Class of 1912, Princeton) - with deep sorrow Class 1912 records the passing on of Carl Schaller on October 6, 1947, at his home in New York, as the result of a heart attack. Carl entered the importing business upon graduation and continued in this line of endeavor until his death at which time he was president of Carleton Schaller & CO. Inc., 15 W. 36th St., New York City, importers and manufacturers of fine linen. Whereas we did not see as much of Carl at Class affairs as we would wish for in the last few years, his affection and interest in Princeton was always uppermost in his mind. His quiet, sincere character endeared him to all those who came in contact with him. Carl's principal interest since graduation outside of his business was his farm at Lynchburg, Va., where he was interested in raising Aberdeen Angus cattle and Hampshire swine. The sincere sympathy of the class goes out to his widow, Catherine D. Elkin; his sons Carleton Jr. and William Neill; and his daughter, Margaret Ross.

The [Red] Crossbill Breeding at Riverdale, N.Y. [1875] This bird (Loxia curvirostra var. americana) made its appearance here [the Bronx] last autumn, November 3d [1875]. Small flocks were occasionally seen all winter, and through March and April, feeding on seeds of cones of the Norway spruce and larch. On April 22d I noticed a pair building near the top of a red cedar, about eighteen feet from the ground. The nest, April 30th, contained three eggs, and was composed of strips of cedar bark, dried grass, and stems of the Norway spruce, and was lined with horse-hair, feathers, dried grass, and fibrous roots. The eggs were about the size of those of Junco hyemalis [Dark-eyed Junco], in color very light blue, slightly sprinkled and blotched at the large end with dark purple. I saw a small flock of six of these birds May 10th, which were the last seen here. Riverdale [Bronx] is on the Hudson River, sixteen miles north of New York Bay.


AMERICAN ACCLIMATIZATION SOCIETY [1877]. This society held its regular meeting at the Aquarium [located on 34th street in Manhattan in 1877] on the 14th of November [1877]. The Chair was occupied by Mr. Eugene Schiefflin, Dr. J. W. Green acting as secretary. Among the gentlemen present were: Messrs. Robert B. Roosevelt [uncle of Theodore Roosevelt], of the Fish Commission; John C. Pennington, of New Jersey; Eugene Keteltas, John C. Mills, Edward Schell, S. R. Bunce, Edgar De Puyster, Wilson De Puyster, Mr. Conklin, of the Central Park Museum, and others. Mr. Conklin read a paper on acclimatization, with special reference to birds. He detailed the efforts made in this country to introduce foreign birds. In 1864, he said, the Commissioners of Central Park set free fifty pairs of English sparrows, and they had multiplied amazingly; Mr. Joshua Jones had freed English chaffinches, blackbirds, and Java sparrows in the Park, but unfortunately their numbers were so small the birds were lost sight of. In 1874 Mr. Henry Reiche set loose fifty pairs of English skylarks, but they all crossed the East River and settled near Newtown and Canarsie [both in Brooklyn]. The Cincinnati Acclimatization Society had successfully introduced the skylark there, and it was now becoming abundant in the neighborhood of the city. Last July the Acclimatization Society freed in the [Central] Park some starlings and Japanese finches; Mr. John Sutherland had done the same with some English pheasants. It was expected that they would all prosper. Mr. Conklin suggested that renewed and organized efforts should be made to acclimatize the English titmouse, chaffinch, blackbird, robin redbreast, and the skylark - birds which were useful to the farmer and contributed to the beauty of the groves and fields. Mr. Robert B. Roosevelt read a paper on the acclimatization of fish. The President of the American Fish Culturists' Association showed that our efforts should be mainly directed to distributing the best of our own fishes through all the waters of the continent, and spoke of what had been done in this way with shad and salmon. The Oswego bass, he thought, was deserving of extensive propagation; but particularly he spoke of the land-locked salmon of Maine and Canada, and the California brook trout. The latter fish he considered one of the best which swims in American waters, and was convinced that it would well repay the trouble of propagation here. The great interest taken at present by the public in the acclimatization of animals, birds and fish, and the support it must receive from all naturalists and sportsmen, must in time render this association the leading one of its kind in the United States.

Fish in Market. Retail Prices [Late January 1878]. The schooner Mary and Carrie, Capt. Moser, while fishing off Squan, N. J., last Wednesday, caught a shark weighing 300 pounds. An effort was made to bring him in alive for the Aquarium, but he died in coming up the Bay, and was delivered to Blackford, in Fulton Market, and was on exhibition for several days. It was what is known as the mackerel porbeagle, Lamna punctate

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porbeagle). It measured six feet five inches in length. Fish are scarce and prices high. Striped bass, 20 and 25 cents each; smelts, 10 to 15 cents; bluefish,15 cents; frozen salmon, 35 c; mackerel, 25; Southern shad,75; white perch,15; Spanish mackerel, 35; green turtle, 20; terrapin, $18 per doz.; halibut, 16 cents; haddock, 6; codfish, 6 to 8; blackfish 12; Newfoundland herring, 6; flounders, 10; sea bass, 15; eels, 18; lobsters, 10; sheepsheads, 25; scallops, $1.50 per gallon; soft clams, 30 to 60 cents per 100; whitefish 18; pickerel, 15; sunfish, 10; yellow perch, 8; salmon trout, 20; black bass 18; yellow pike, 12; brook pike, 15; ciscoes, 10; hard crabs, $2.50 per 100; red snapper, 20 cents.

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

Along the Bronx River at the NY Botanical Garden [Bronx] in April 2006

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