Magnolia Warbler in August 202o photographed in our Bronx yard by Deborah Allen.
4 August 2021
Bird Notes: Our updated Aug-Sep schedule is now on our web site. Click here: SCHEDULE Basically Saturday walks (and always Sundays) begin 7 August. Our weekday walks start on Friday, 13 August, and Monday, 16 August. In other words, starting next week (8 August) we have bird walks Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon and will be adding a few evening walks as well. N.B. If the weather is inclement (rain), check the web site for a cancellation notice...we will post that by 6am the morning of the walk. If no notice = we walk we walk we walk.
Our apologies for not sending out Newsletters these last two weeks but there is much work going on at our house - most every room is covered in plastic, and we try and be away as much as possible. Deborah cannot get to her computer - so we are missing many fine bird photos for this issue (apologies). In our defense, we actually did send out a Newsletter on 23 July, but our web site host (WIX) in its infinite wisdom, decided not to send out an alert to anyone that a Newsletter was available. Here it is:
We love small businesses! Our friend and fellow-birder Bina Motiram (born and raised in Mozambique; now a NYC resident for many years) and her partner Dana DuFrane, launched SugarRoti, an organic and vegan Indian spice blend company. They offer
15 different pre-measured spice blends to choose from - to transform any meal into an extraordinary dinner. Use the special code "NUJOIN" to get 10% off when you purchase two packages at SugarRoti.
In this week's Historical Notes, we send an interesting May 1882 report from mid-town Manhattan: (a) Selling Snow Buntings for Reed Birds [Bobolinks]. Hot dogs and pretzels have not been the only street foods available in NYC...
Above: Our Bronx House (1 August 2021). Bay Window (one of five) about to be installed in our 1915 brick house - you can see the window on the right. Note the radiator under the window, a very common design in houses built from about 1880-1950. Why? Tuberculosis (aka Consumption). In winter if you had windows closed, one ran the risk of catching the disease known to be transmissible in enclosed spaces. So windows were to be kept open in winter...and radiators were supposed to heat the incoming cold air. Even today, why do you sometimes see apartment dwellers in Manhattan with their windows open in the cold of winter? It is too hot in the apartments: They have oversized radiators and heating systems (for the building) - from the time of TB. In our case, that radiator could not keep up with cold incoming air...it is more a reflection of design (all radiators were put in front of windows) rather than proper function. Otherwise why take a beautiful space near a window - and put an obstruction in front of it? Tiles (Talavera) on the left wall are from Mexico that we are using throughout the house. Can be purchased directly from the factory (much cheaper than from Amazon)...shipping takes 3-5 days from Mexico via a warehouse in Laredo, Texas. Floors are the original oak parquet design...yikes they will need sanding and finishing...
Below: Bay Window installed. Now we need to do some woodwork, molding, dry wall. In the last few years we have installed 25+ triple pane windows (the extra pane makes a big difference to filter out the street noise of the Bronx) with fiberglass frames. Fiberglass needs no maintenance and insulates almost as well as wood frames, except it is much stronger...so you get more glass and less frame. Outside the window is a native Seckel pear tree that we occasionally get Monk Parakeets in...and once a Mourning Warbler!
Bird Walks for August 2021
All Walks @ $10/person
1. Saturday, 7 August 7:30am and again at 9:30am. Bird Walk. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10. If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free.
2. Sunday, 8 August at 7:30am and again at 9:30am. Bird Walk. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10. If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free.
3. Friday, 13 August 8:30am. Bird Walk. Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) $10. N.B. this walk meets uptown - at the north end of the park...but easy to reach.
4. Saturday, 14 August 7:30am and again at 9:30am. Bird Walk. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10. If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free.
5. Sunday, 15 August at 7:30am and again at 9:30am. Bird Walk. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10. If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free.
6. Monday, 16 August 8:30am. Bird Walk. Strawberry Fields (72nd street and Central Park West) $10. N.B. this walk meets at the IMAGINE mosaic inside the park at 72nd - inside the park (about 50 yards from CP West).
7. Friday, 20 August 8:30am. Bird Walk. Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) $10. N.B. this walk meets uptown - at the north end of the park...but easy to reach.
8. Saturday, 21 August 7:30am and again at 9:30am. Bird Walk. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10. If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free.
9. Sunday, 22 August at 7:30am and again at 9:30am. Bird Walk. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10. If you do the 7:30am walk, you get the 9:30am walk for free.
10. Monday, 23 August 8:30am. Bird Walk. Strawberry Fields (72nd street and Central Park West) $10. N.B. this walk meets at the IMAGINE mosaic inside the park at 72nd - inside the park (about 50 yards from CP West).
Call (718-828-8262) or Email us with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
The fine print: Our walks on weekends meet at 7:30/9:30am 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! Fridays we meet at Conservatory Garden; Mondays at Strawberry Fields - check the "Meeting Points" page of this web site for exact meeting location.
Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is (email@example.com). 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) near 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 aim to please.
The Bronx (West Farms) on 14 February 2014
Below: Along the Bronx River (near West Farms) on 5 December 2016
Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights): the strong cold front of Friday (30 July) with its associated winds from the northwest, brought the first big wave of southbound migrants to Central Park (and the region). On Saturday at the Dock on Turtle Pond starting at 6:15am, there were four warbler species including an early Blue-winged Warbler, as well as a Least Flycatcher. On Sunday, we had many Yellow Warblers, and the first Black-and-whites of the season...as well as an early Ovenbird (FOS). August is a great month for migration...look for Kentucky Warbler, Mourning Warbler - and many many others!
Deborah's List of Birds for Sat/Sun 31 July/1 Aug: Click Here
The Bronx (West Farms) on 14 February 2014
Below: The Bronx (Pelham Bay Park) on 14 October 2015
May 1882 in Manhattan: Selling Snow Buntings for Reed Birds [Bobolinks]
WHILE in New York city, a few days since, I observed a game vender on Broadway, near Twenty-second street, with an immense quantity of plucked birds of some sort strung in dozens, offering them to passers-by. Not knowing the species of small bird he had, without a closer examination, as all the feathers were off of them excepting those, of the head and tail, and noticing that they were very fat, your correspondent, put on the air of an uninitiated one, that he might more readily satisfy his curiosity as to their kind, and accosted the "game hawker" as follows: "What sort of birds are those you are selling, my man?" "Reed birds [Bobolinks], sir," he replied, naming the price. "Why, how is that?" said I, "do you have reed birds in New York?" "Oh, yes, we often have them for sale; they came from Philadelphia."
By this time I had examined the birds, and found them to be snow buntings. "Are you right sure they are reed birds?" I asked. "Yes, I am sure; they came from Philadelphia this morning, and I have just sold Purcell, below here, twenty dozen." I then opened on him, and told him whom he was trying to fool, and showed him very plainly that reed birds at this time of year (May 1) had not reached Pennsylvania or New York from the south, and when they did arrive they would not be in the plumage they appear in in September, when they are known as the reed bird. I made use of very plain language before I left the man, and told him the sale of such birds as he had in the spring of the year would not be allowed in Philadelphia even in autumn.
I have since heard that a very large quantity of these "reed birds" were shipped to New York last week from the north, and learned that families were buying them as reed birds. The sale of these, if I am not mistaken, is in direct violation of your New York law, and I must say I was astonished to see them vended so openly on your most frequented thoroughfare.
We Philadelphians do not claim to have stopped entirely the illegitimate sale of game or harmless birds, but our boldest "hawker" would not have dared to display such a string of "reed birds" on the street in Philadelphia, and I can say he would not have gone many blocks without having been arrested.
Of what use are game protective associations or game laws if such open violations are allowed? So long as leading restaurants make it an object for pot-hunters to kill game out season and to procure for them birds they can palm off to their customers as "reed birds," we may look for a continuance of a violation of the law. It should be made a finable offence for such to be found either on the bill of fare of any hotel or restaurant, or if obtainable sub rosa, to be in like manner subject to penalty. This furnishing on the sly of out of season game was tried in Philadelphia by restaurateurs, but unfortunately for the latter on three or four occasions it was placed before a paid detective of the Philadelphia Sportsman's Club, and the proper fine was demanded and paid. Two or three cases of this kind in your city would have a very salutary effect. Can it not be done?
In about a week we may begin to look for the flight of warblers to pass through our latitude. With the warblers will swarm the specimen collector, canegun in hand. In the pocket of each, with his cotton and plaster of Paris, will always be found a printed copy of our game law, in which he will show you he is allowed to slaughter for scientific purposes. Millinery is a science, you know. Just now all kinds of little birds are in demand for that science. Property owners who arc to be pestered by this horde should know there is a trespass law they can take advantage of, providing they will post their orchards, groves and fields.
Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD
Above: For folks who believe we live in a Bronx forest, this is the view from the front of our house looking east. This bay window is about 98 inches wide (and weighs 300+ pounds). Our installation guys (Pablo and his Sons) have been amazing, fast and clean up too! Work on our house will finish about 20 August. So expect delays with the Newsletter? We'll try our best, but solamente Dios conoce ("Only God knows").