GANNETS of New Zealand + Central Park Birding

Updated: Feb 28, 2020


Australasian Gannet at the Muriwai Nesting Colony near Auckland (New Zealand on North Island) on 15 December 2019

Bird Notes: We are now home from New Zealand! This Saturday (21 December) we feature a 9am bird walk at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx; Sunday morning back in Central Park (Boathouse at 9:30am). There is also a Sunday night OWL walk for Eastern Screech-owls at Inwood Hill Park (4:30pm start): Details in this Newsletter and on our web site. THANK YOU to Sandra Critelli and Jeff Ward who led the bird walks in our absence.


As you read this we are home in the Bronx! We were in New Zealand to see pelagic birds, some of which we present in our photos herein.

We have lots of upcoming bird walks by day and OWL walks by night - do check the schedule. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all: we have bird walks on those mornings (and owl walks on those nights).

In this week's Historical Notes we present only one article, the December 1982 Central Park BIRDING observations excerpted from Donlad Knowler's wonderful book,The Falconer of Central Park (available on Amazon for less than $10). Look for Christmas Count results that December, and an odd assemblage of ducks on the reservoir including lots of Lesser Scaup.

Australasian Gannet at the Muriwai Nesting Colony near Auckland (New Zealand on North Island) on 15 December 2019

Australasian Gannet at the Muriwai Nesting Colony near Auckland (New Zealand on North Island) on 15 December 2019


Australasian Gannets at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 16 December 2019 - about 30 minute drive from downtown Auckland

Australasian Gannets at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island (New Zealand) on 16 December 2019. An amazing place...free parking; great viewing areas (free) and a 30 minute drive from downtown Auckland.


Good! The Bird Walks for Late December 2019

All Walks @ $10/person - Note Meeting Locations (some walks not in Central Park)

Directions to All Meeting Locations can be found here


1. Saturday, 21 Dec. at 9:00am (New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx)

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 to NYBG from Manhattan 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 9:10m or so until 12 noon or so. There is a nice cafe (expensive) for lunch or just coffee. The Christmas Show at NYBG is also wonderful... 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 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).


2. Sunday, 22 December at 9:30am - Boathouse Cafe; 74th st/East Drive

3. Sunday, 22 December at 4:30pm (Eastern Screech-owls at Night)

INWOOD HILL PARK in Upper Manhattan - Meet at Indian Road Cafe at 600 West 218th street @ Indian Road New York, NY 10034. For Directions: https://tinyurl.com/qnfodb6

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

Dress Warm; bring binoculars; we will have plenty of light...$10 for owls and fun



4. Wednesday, 25 December (Christmas Day) at 9:30am - Meet at the

Boathouse Cafe; 74th street at the East Drive (in Central Park)

5. Wednesday, 25 December - 4:30pm (Eastern Screech-owls)

INWOOD HILL PARK in Upper Manhattan - Meet at Indian Road Cafe at 600 West 218th street @ Indian Road New York, NY 10034. For Directions: https://tinyurl.com/qnfodb6

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

Dress Warm; bring binoculars; we will have plenty of light...$10 for owls and fun

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


Australasian Gannet (note tail pattern) at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 16 December 2019

Australasian Gannet (note tail pattern) at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 16 December 2019


The fine print: Our walks on weekends meet at 9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th street and the East Drive) through early January 2020. Please note: the Boathouse is not one of the buildings that surround the nearby Model Boat Pond - people make this mistake all the time!

Please note that on SATURDAYS we may meet at other locations than Central Park. For example, on 21 December (Saturday) we will be at NYBG in the Bronx...so keep an eye on the Saturday schedule: we might also have no Saturday walks on some weekends in January.

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.


Cape Gannet (note tail pattern) at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 15 December 2019


Cape Gannet (note tail pattern and compare to Australasian Gannet above) at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 16 December 2019. The Cape Gannet is a very rare visitor to New Zealand that has bred here





Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Saturday, 7 December (Boathouse Restaurant at 9:30am)

Sandra Critelli led today's walk and here is her summary:

Giornata splendida ma gelida, ma nonostante questo e` stata produttiva. Nella zona dei Feeders abbiamo visto Downy Woodpecker , White-breasted Nuthatch, Goldfinches e House Finches.

Continuando a camminare nel Ramble abbiamo incontrato approssimativamente 11 Red-bellied Woodpeckers , molto attivi tra loro. Abbiamo trovato 2 Fox Sparrow vicino a Oven e 1 Brown Creeper.

Nella zono di Shakespeare Garden c`era una femmina di Eastern Towee e altri Goldfinches. Nella parte sud di Great Lawn e anche nel Ramble abbiamo visto un gruppo numeroso di Dark-eye Junkos, insieme con Golfinches e inoltre 2 Chipping Sparrow. Arrivati al Dock di Turtle Pond, ci aspettava un giovane Great Blue Heron, posato su una roccia a godersi I raggi di sole. Con la loro chiamata siamo riusciti a fare avvicinare le 3 Hooded Merganser per vederle piu` da vicino. Intanto in cielo volavano 3 Red-Tailed Hawks e 1 Turkey Vulture. C`erano tanti White Throated Sparrow come alsolito nel parco, 1 Procione e 1 Cooper Hawk avvistata nel primo pomeriggio.


Australasian Gannets at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 16 December 2019.

Australasian Gannets at the Muriwai Nest Colony on the North Island on 16 December 2019 - about 30 minute drive from downtown Auckland - Can you find the lone Black-backed Gull in the photo?


Sunday, 8 December (Boathouse Restaurant at 9:30am)

Sandra Critelli led today's walk and here is her summary:

Iniziando come al solito nella zona di feeders, abbiamo visto Downy Woodpecker, House Finches maschi e femmine, 2 White-breasted Nuthatch. In direzione verso Oven la nostra attenzione e` stata rivolta verso un giovane Cooper Hawk molto cooperativo, passando da un ramo a un altro, in ottima vista, cercando di attaccare uno scoiattolo o facendo pratica probabilmente per imparare a cacciare prede . Scoiattoli sono troppo grossi x Cooper Hawk, per cui presumo sia stata piu` pratica che caccia. Verso Bow Bridge abbiamo avvistato un Great Blue Heron in ottima vista e ottima luce per la gioia di birdwatchers e fotografi. Nella zono di Azalea Pond, un Northern Flicker rispondeva benissimo alle chiamate con il mio speaker. A Oack Bridge c`erano una decina di Goldfinches.

Turtle Pond era tutto ghiacchiato per cui Hooded Merganser non erano piu` li`. A nord del Delacorte theatre, un Eastern Bluebird e` apparso e scomparso velocemente. Le altre solite specie erano sempre presenti come al solito: 3 Robins, a few Northen Cardinal, many Blue Jays….



Saturday, 14 December (Boathouse Restaurant at 9:30am)

Sandra Critelli led today's walk and here is her summary:

Oggi ero sola, non si e` presentato nessuno, probabilmente viste le previsioni del tempo che prevedevano pioggia.

In realtà era poi una giornata nuvolosa ma niente pioggia fino alle 2 pm e molto mite con temperature intorno a 55F

Ad Azalea Pond un adulto di Red Tailed Hawk faceva il bagno solo a 3 metri da me, per poi posarsi sul ramo dello stesso albero su cui era posata gia` una Cooper`s Hawk. Nel Ramble ho poi avvistato 1 Brown Creeper, 18-20 Goldfinches, 5 Dark-eye Junkos . A Turtle Pond 2 femmine e un maschio di Hooded Merganser. A Pinetum cerano 3 Hermit Trush e 2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

Proseguendo al Reservoir, ho osservato molte Ruddy Ducks, Shovelers, 2 Gadwall, e almeno 10 Bufflehead.

A Sparrow Rock, dopo aver incontrato Jaqueline, lei ha avvistato 2 Carolina Wrens, molto cooperativi. Usando speaker con il loro canto, I due Carolina Wren rispondevano cantando e ci sono venuti molto vicini numerose volte. Come al solito cerano tanti White-Throated Sparrow.

Nel pond della 59th street, cera un Great Blue Heron.