November Birding in Central Park is Snail Dynamite BOOM!

Updated: Feb 28, 2020


Hatch-year male Cooper's Hawk by Deborah Allen in Shakespeare Garden (Central Park), 10 November 2019 (Sunday)

Bird Notes: This Saturday, 16 November (at 9:05am), we meet at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Admission is free to NYBG on Saturdays from 9-10am. You can take the 8:16am MetroNorth train from Grand Central Station (Harlem Line; Track 26) and be at the NYBG stop by about 8:50am. Just walk across the street (five minutes) and meet us at the Ticket Booths (free admission). Our walk is $10 and lasts 9:15am until 12noon or so. Call or email us with questions, for more info etc. See Schedule section below for further details.


This will be the last Newsletter for a couple of weeks: look for the next one on or about Wednesday, 27 November, or possibly even Wed. 4 December. Always check the Schedule page of our web site for the most current info on bird walks, especially after this weekend, November 15 (Fri) to 17 (Sun). There is no Monday 18 November walk.

Snail Dynamite is a Finnish expression for nothing happening, nothing happening and then Boom! A great bird pops up. Such is Birding in November in NYC: endless White-throated Sparrows but every once in a while, something amazing is found such as the Purple Gallinule at Turtle Pond in Central Park at the end of our bird walk on 2 November. A great way to finish one might say.

In this week's Historical Notes we present just one excerpt: from the 1984 book, The Falconer of Central Park by Donald Knowler. Here he writes about the birds seen in the month of November 1982 in Central Park (400 Lesser Scaup; 10 Canvasback Ducks and a Tufted Duck on the Reservoir; Red-headed Woodpecker near the Arsenal). Just as importantly, Knowler records what was happening in the park with people some 37 years ago: rampant homelessness; 25 rapes; 10 murders; and how derelict Central Park had become. If you want to purchase Donald Knowler's book, you can find it used for less than $10 (check Amazon).



Golden-crowned Kinglet by Deborah Allen in the Pinetum (Central Park) on 9 November 2019 (Saturday)

Golden-crowned Kinglet by Deborah Allen in the Pinetum (Central Park) on 9 November 2019 (Saturday)


Good! The Bird Walks for mid-late November 2019

All Walks @ $10/person - all in Central Park except for the Sat 16 Nov. Walk

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


1. Friday, 15 November at 9:00am Conservatory Garden; 105th st. and 5th Avenue

2. Saturday, 16 Nov. at 9:05am New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx - see below

This Saturday at 9:05am, we meet at the MOSHOLU GATE (= Main Gate) of the

New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx (free admission 9am-10am).

The best way from Manhattan to NYBG is via MetroNorth: from Grand Central Station take the 8:16am train (Track 32) of the Harlem Line - arriving at 8:50am (20-30 min) at the NYBG station (three stops from Grand Central).

Walk 5-7 minutes across the street (follow signs/very safe) to the Mosholu Gate of NYBG. We will be at the ticket booths (free admission) about 30 meters inside the gate (just walk straight ahead).

Our Bird Walk is only $10...we will be out from 9:15m or so until 12noon or so. There is a nice cafe (expensive) for lunch or just coffee.

Any questions? Call us (718-828-8262/home) or email us rdcny@earthlink.net

Web Site of NYBG (click on this link) = NYBG Web Site

Trip Planner for Directions via MTA (click on this link): MTA Web Site

You can park on the street (free) on Kazimiroff Boulevard (outside Fordham University) or in the NYBG lot ($18). If parking on the street, it is a five minute walk from the entrance at that gate (called the Fordham Gate) to the Mosholu Gate (easy walk and direct).

Any questions? Call us (718-828-8262) or email us rdcny@earthlink.net

3.***Sunday, 17 Nov. at 7:30am/9:30am Boathouse Cafe; 74th st/East Drive (Central Park)

***On mornings when two walks are scheduled, you can do both walks for $10/person. So you get two for one. OR you can do either the early walk or the second walk for $10/person.



4. Saturday, 23 Nov. at 9:30am (Only!) Boathouse Cafe; 74th st/East Drive (Central Park)

5. Sunday, 24 Nov. at 9:30am (Only!) Boathouse Cafe; 74th st/East Drive (Central Park)



6. Saturday, 30 Nov. at 9:30am (NO BIRD WALK - Please Stay Home)

7. Sunday, 1 December at 9:30am (Only!) Boathouse Cafe; 74th st/East Drive

Any questions send them our way: rdcny@earthlink.net or call: 718-828-8262 (home)



Pine Warbler by Jeremy Nadel on 11 November 2019 at Wagner's Cove (Central Park)






Pine Warbler after a bath by Jeremy Nadel on 11 November 2019 at Wagner's Cove (Central Park)







The fine print: Our walks on weekends meet at 7:30am and again at 9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th street and the East Drive) through 17 November. Please note: the Boathouse is not one of the buildings that surround the nearby Model Boat Pond - people make this mistake all the time! Fridays we are uptown at 9am only (Conservatory Garden at 105th street and 5th Avenue; nice bathrooms there).

Starting Saturday, 23 November and through at least Sunday 15 December, we have weekend walks only in Central Park at 9:30am (only). Our friends Sandra Critelli and Jeff Ward (two fine birders) will be leading these weekend walks. After 16 December, we may add several other walks for the holidays through 2 January 2020. Keep checking this web site (schedule page) for updates.

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 Central Park 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.


Carolina Wren by Deborah Allen on 10 November at Shakespeare Garden (Central Park)

Carolina Wren by Deborah Allen on 10 November at Shakespeare Garden (Central Park)


Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Friday, 8 November (9am at Conservatory Garden/105th st and 5th Ave): not a day for high numbers, but there were quality birds. A Lincoln's Sparrow (juvenile) at the Green Bench area before the walk was the best. On the walk, we had several "good" birds including male Black-throated Blue Warbler; Fox Sparrow; Golden-crowned Kinglet; and two flyover Ravens.

Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Friday, 8 Nov: https://tinyurl.com/uwgke33



Saturday, 9 November (Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe at 74th st and the East Drive at 7:30am/9:30am) - Wow: an immature male Baltimore Oriole feeding on Porcelainberries in the Maintenance Field was quite a surprise (see Deborah Allen's photo below); also today, we had a flyover (adult) Red-shouldered Hawk (Deborah's photo just below), as well as a number of sparrow species (Fox eg) and two warblers: Common Yellowthroat and Yellow-rumped.

Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Saturday, 9 November: https://tinyurl.com/rvzjrq2


adult Red-shouldered Hawk [Deborah Allen] soaring over the Tupelo Field (Central Park) on 10 November 2019

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk [Deborah Allen] soaring over the Tupelo Field (Central Park) on 10 November 2019


Sunday, 10 November (Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe at 74th st and the East Drive at 7:30am/9:30am) - in the morning we had Brown Creeper, one of the first northern migrants of the Boreal forest to visit us. But we are awaiting more southern seed-eating birds such as Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and American Goldfinches to visit us - perhaps net week they will arrive as the Sweetgum pods begin to ripen with their many seeds? In the evening on our Owl Walk at Inwood Hill Park, we managed to hear two owls and had one amazing long, and clear look at an Eastern Screech-owl: see Deborah Allen's photo below.

Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Sunday, 10 November: https://tinyurl.com/t3e5thl



Monday, 11 November (Strawberry Fields [Imagine Mosaic] at 8am and again at 9am - Mild weather that brought out many people (the high today was 63f). The Blue-headed Vireo at the north end of Strawberry Fields was special because it was at eye-level (but we did not get a photo). Nearby, a male Pine Warbler came in close to the calls from my tape: it circled over our heads, before heading off to take a bath (and then re-visiting us - see Jeremy Nadel's photo above). In the Ramble we had multiple Cooper's Hawks including one juvenile that was quite interested in the "bird flock" calls I was playing. And the flyover Red-shouldered Hawk over the Great Lawn was pretty good as well.

Deborah Allen's List of Birds for Monday, 11 November: https://tinyurl.com/vwo7lle