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WICKED: Late April Birding in Central Park

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Prothonotary Warbler at NYBG (the Bronx) on 20 April 2011 by Deborah Allen

17 April 2019

Bird Notes: The weather looks unsettled for the next few days so keep an eye on the Schedule page of this web site for the status of the morning bird walk. If light drizzle, especially on a Sat-Sun, the walks will take place! On Tuesday evening 23 April (6pm), we will be adding evening walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 6pm, led by Ms. Sandra Critelli - meet at the Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe. Check the Schedule page of this web site for more details.

Late April birding is wicked! You might remember the expression, "April Showers Bring May Flowers." The weather is not our friend until May. The Almighty Weather Maker has decided to send showers for just a few hours each day...remarkably to coincide with many of our morning bird walks...Oh well. Meanwhile the bird lightning strike of the week was the first-ever White-winged Dove in Central Park - see Sandra Critelli's photo below. Historical Notes: we present information from two early Bronx ornithologists: (a) E.P. Bicknell (1894) on a Prothonotary Warbler (see Deborah's photo above) in Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx) in honor the bird just found in Brooklyn (Prospect Park). Prothonotary Warblers can be early migrants in our area, as well as Yellow-throated Warbler, Cerulean Warbler...and the much more common Louisiana Waterthrush. Bicknell's 1907 find of the Prothonotary at VC Park in May was the first record of this species in NYC; and (b) Winthrop G. Stevens, his list of the arrival times of birds at West Farms in the Bronx (near the present day Bronx Zoo) in spring 1875. Mr. Stevens would soon leave the Bronx and become a prominent businessman in Virginia - his brief bio is also presented below of his time in Virginia. In the early historical record of birding in NYC (before 1920), one often finds that if someone was a birder (an unusual hobby for that time), there is/was a good chance that person did some pretty amazing things other than birding....

White-winged Dove on 14 April 2019 by Sandra Critelli - The First Ever Record for the Park

White-winged Dove on 14 April 2019 by Sandra Critelli - The First Ever Record for the Park


Good! Here are the bird walks for mid-late April

All Bird Walks in Central Park - $10

1. Thursday, 18 April at 9am - meet at The Dock on Turtle Pond (approx. 79th street)

2. Friday, 19 April at 9am - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th st./5Ave)

3.***Saturday, 20 April at 7:30am/9:30am - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park** 4.***Sunday, 21 April at 7:30am/9:30am - the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park**

5.***Monday, 22 April at 8am/9am - Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic - 72 St and CPWest)**

6. Tuesday, 23 April at 6pm - Boathouse Restaurant for a Sandra Critelli evening walk.

*** On mornings when two walks are scheduled, you can do both walks for $10/ 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:

Any questions send them our way: or call: 718-828-8262 (home)

Mourning Dove (left) and White-winged Dove on 14 April 2019 by Sandra Critelli

Mourning Dove (left) and White-winged Dove on 14 April 2019 by Sandra Critelli


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 the SCHEDULE page of 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 ( 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.

Chipping Sparrow in Central Park (Ramble Bird Feeders) by Deborah Allen on 14 April 2019


Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Friday, 12 April (Conservatory Garden at 9:00am) + Saturday, 13 April (Boathouse Restaurant Cafe at 7:30am/9:30am) - a two day summary since migration was slow in this time frame. Friday featured two hot spots at the North End: as one entered the Loch via Huddlestone Arch (east side), there were several Pine Warblers, a Palm Warbler, Ruby- and Golden- Crowned Kinglets and others gleaning insects from the rocks along the water. We had birds at eye-level and below for most of our time there. The other good spot was the Great Hill where we found lots of Chipping Sparrows and a few Field Sparrows. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were high in the Sweetgum trees throughout the north end, and several Red-tailed Hawks were chasing one another in the Loch. Saturday (13 April) had warmed a bit (especially after 10am when it became sunny) - but only a few migrants had trickled in including Yellow-rumped Warblers along the east side of the lake; a shy Palm Warbler near the Polish Statue with Ruby-crowned Kinglets (and one Golden) sprinkled throughout. Again birding was slow, but the weather was warm and people were excited. From here on in that excitement will be matched with migrants. Jeff Ward and Deborah found the first Northern Paula of the season near the Summer House in the Ramble, and Jeff later re-found that bird in the afternoon.

Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Friday, 12 April + Sat. 13 April:


Sunday, 14 April (Boathouse 7:30am/9:30am) - birding picked up ever so slightly with the arrival of a male Purple Finch singing above the Humming Tombstone at 7:30am. At the Point there was the best concentration of migrants (albeit still a small collection), there at 9am but not 7:15am! We found Palm Warbler, Northern Parula and a few Kinglets. However, the main highlight of the day occurred after the bird walk in the late afternoon: a White-winged Dove (WW Dove) was found at the Bird Feeders in the Ramble. In the morning we know that bird was not there - indeed Deborah counted 13 Mourning Doves at the Feeders. As we watched the WW Dove in the late afternoon, we saw how aggressively the dove was chasing away any other bird that wanted to feed in close proximity - the WW Dove had taken control of an area directly below one of the feeders and was picking up all the seeds gone astray. By Monday, the WW Dove was long gone and never re-found.

Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Sunday, 14 April:

Several of the WICKED birders on our walk including (at far right) just in from the west, Signe Hammer. Photo by Sandra Critelli

14 April 2019 (Shakespeare Garden - Whisper Bench)



Prothonotary Warbler near New York City. In the early morning of June 2 last [1894] near Yonkers, New York, I had the great pleasure of seeing a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) and listening to its song. The exact locality was rather more than a mile east of the Hudson River, and half that distance beyond Van Cortlandt Park at the northern limit of New York City. In the woods at this point a shallow pond, or pool, spreads itself among a scattered grouping of trees and bushes. This was clearly the attraction which kept the bird about the spot, enabling me to watch it at leisure. It was not at all shy, and much of the time was so near to me that, though nay field-glass was not dispensed with, there was no need of it for purpose of identification. The exquisite bird kept constantly over the water, frequently coming into conspicuous view on open horizontal branches and sometimes clinging momentarily against a tree trunk. Its usual motions were leisurely, the movements of the head sometimes quite Vireonine. The song, which was repeated at short intervals, though not at all remarkable, was very distinctive, and not fairly to be compared with any other known to me. Listening to it, it seemed as if an unpractised ear might perhaps have associated it with the Golden-crowned Thrush [Ovenbird], not withstanding its weaker emphasis, with the five to eight notes pitched all on the same key. The call-note was not heard. This would appear to be the first known occurrence of this bird in the State outside of Long Island, where the capture of two has been recorded by Mr. Dutcher.

Eugene P. Bicknell, New York City.



Spring Notes West Farms [Bronx County], N.Y.

April 8th, 1876.

March 30th - Pewee [probably Eastern Phoebe] April 8th - Swamp Sparrow April 19th - Yellow Red-poll [Palm Warbler] April 22nd - House Wren April 25th - White-bellied Swallow [Tree Swallow] April 27th - Brown Thrasher and Chewink [Eastern Towhee] April 30th - Barn Swallow May 1st - Yellow-rumped Warbler May 3rd - Whip-poor-will May 5th - Solitary Vireo May 6th - Least Pewee [Least Flycatcher], Catbird and Yellow Warbler May 7th - Blue-backed Warbler [Black-throated Blue Warbler], House Wren, and [American] Redstart May 9th - Yellow-breasted Chat May 10th - Wood Thrush, Blue-winged Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole, [Eastern] Kingbirds, and Chimney Swallows [Swifts] May 11th - [Ruby-throated] Hummingbird May 13th - Green black-capped Warbler [Wilson's Warbler], Blackpoll Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Cape May Warbler May 14th - Hooded Warbler May 15th - Prairie Warbler May 16th - Scarlet Tanager May 22nd - Bay-breasted Warbler and Tennessee Warbler I have also observed here a Mourning Warbler (May 25th,1872), a Connecticut Warbler (September 14th, 1874), a Nashville Warbler (May 13th, 1874), and a Worm-eating Warbler (May 14th, 1874).

Winthrop G. Stevens

WINTHROP G. STEPHENS, Esq., a leading citizen of Halifax [Virginia], was born in New York City. He came to Halifax county in 1877 in company with his father, and in 1888 purchased a tract of land on which the city of Halifax now stands, the tract consisting of 321 acres. He had paid much attention to the breeding of fine stock, especially Jersey cattle, and had been financially very successful in this enterprise. In the year 1888 he opened a real estate office in Halifax, and has been the immediate means of interesting a large amount of Northern capital to investments in this place. He is President of the Tobacco Hangers Manufacturing Company, which represents a large stock. This business has assumed considerable proportions and is rapidly growing, its goods being sold throughout the Southern and all tobacco-growing States. Mr. Stephens is a thorough business man, devoting his entire time and best abilities to his work. Politics have never interested him, and he finds himself equally as well off, and fully as contented to eschew this unsatisfactory calling. He has been very successful in the sale of farm land, and enjoys a large and growing and profitable trade. He is a man to be relied upon, full of enterprise and energy.

From: South-west Virginia and the Valley, Historical and Biographical (Illustrated). 1892.

A.D. Smith and Company, Roanoke, Virginia.


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

Crabapples in bloom in Conservatory Garden 11 April 2014


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