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Rare Migrants + Good People + Central Park in May: Win Win Win

Updated: May 20, 2023

Summer Tanager Central Park 12 May 2023 Deborah Allen

17 May 2023

Bird Notes: Weather for the next several days looks good with the caveat there will likely be occasional showers on Saturday. Make sure to check the forecast - in spring weather can change with a moment's notice ("on a dime"). Peruse our Schedule (click) on our web site for details about our walks, including cancellations and updates + directions to meeting locations. Finally, for all our walks, we ask you to pay us at the END of the walk or thereabouts - and not at the beginning. We strive to earn your trust and respect.

This will be another good week of bird migration before it begins to wind down in early June. Now is the best time to look for the rare ones: Mourning Warblers, Philadelphia Vireos, Olive-sided Flycatchers...and warblers feeding on the nectar of the Honey-locust flowers. On the other hand, you might see birders in the Ramble going through withdrawal symptoms: sensitive and easy to disturb. We've seen telltale signs each spring starting about 20 May. You have been warned!

Last week we provided excerpts from a poem (Tenets of Jewish Buddhism) that many enjoyed. This week we send it in its entirety in the HISTORICAL NOTES section of this Newsletter. But first, the birds: In Historical Note (A), we send a brief note on nesting Nighthawks in Manhattan near Central Park in June 1882. In Historical Note (B) we send a poem about the Poppies of Flanders Fields - in the mode of our Newsletter from March 2022: Birding During World War 1. Finally in Historical Note (C), we send the poem, Tenets of Jewish Buddhism..."If you wish to know The Way, Don't ask for directions: Argue."

Hooded Warbler (male) Central Park 16 May 2023 Caren Jahre MD

Bird Walks for mid to late MAY 2023

All Walks @ $10/person - all in Central Park

*****Please: Payment at the End of the Bird Walk*****

1. Thursday, 18 May: (8:30am) Dock on Turtle Pond (south end of the Great Lawn at approx 79th street...opposite Belvedere Castle...adjacent to Delacorte Theater) $10

2. Friday, 19 May: (8:30am). $10. Meet at the Conservatory Garden Conservatory Garden is located at 106th st. and Fifth Avenue. Led by Deborah Allen.

3. Saturday, 20 May at 7:30am AND 9:30am. Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. If you do the 730am walk, you get the 930am walk FREE (two for one). Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

4. Sunday, 21 May at at 7:30am AND 9:30am. Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. If you do the 730am walk, you get the 930am walk FREE (two for one). Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

5. Monday, 22 May: (8:30am) Strawberry Fields (72nd st. and Central Park West) $10

6. Thursday, 25 May: (8:30am) Dock on Turtle Pond (south end of the Great Lawn at approx 79th street...opposite Belvedere Castle...adjacent to Delacorte Theater) $10

Call (718-828-8262) or Email us with questions:

Black-throated Green Warbler (male) Central Park 14 May 2023 Deborah Allen

The fine print: Our walks on weekends meet on Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30am/9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe. The meeting location is NOT nearby Conservatory Water with its small buildings and Boathouse for model boats...people make this mistake all the time! Here are directions to the Meeting Locations (CLICK HERE) page of our web site. Bathrooms open at about 7:10am at the Boathouse (but the Restaurant/Cafe is closed until mid-June 2023 at least).

Friday morning walks meet at Conservatory Garden (mostly closed for renovation in spring 2023): we meet at 106th street and 5th Avenue (north side of Conservatory Garden). Deborah Allen leads the Friday walks - she knows more about birds than Bob...Her email is: and phone: 347-703-5554. If you want to rent binoculars ($10) please (please) let her know the night before! If you are lost (or god forbid, arrive late) and need to find the group, feel free to call her but do note that 2-3 other people are calling her at the same time...Monday walks at 8:30am meet at Strawberry Fields (at the Imagine Mosaic) which is about 75 meters in from Central Park West. And on Thursdays through (and including 25 May/Thursday), we meet at 8:30am at the Dock on Turtle Pond = where we met all winter).

Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is ( 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 on the morning of the walk: check the "Schedule" page of our web site - 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. Walks last about 3 hrs (a bit less if cold 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. We usually end our M/Th/Sat/Sun Central Park walks at about noon near 79th street and the East Drive.

Black-throated Blue Warbler (female) in a Honey-locust tree 14 May 2023 D. Allen

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Thursday 11 May through Monday 15 May: We've been getting 15-20+ warbler species on every walk for several days now, and this will continue into next week. Deborah's lists below have what we saw each day. What strikes us most about this spring is that the number of birds we are seeing is 20-30% less than in previous years. In the past I could pull up next to a low shrub in the Ramble, play my sounds and usually bring in 6-12 migrants all could see close-up. This year it is more like 4-6...with more occasionally. In a similar way, in prior years bringing in Yellow-billed Cuckoos was fairly easy using sound. This year we've only been able to bring them in on two occasions...Something is happening, and if we had to guess it has to do with the "Bird Flu" you might have read about. More on this in the coming weeks.

Deborah's List of Birds for Thursday, 11 May 2023: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Friday, 12 May 2023: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Saturday, 13 May: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 14 May: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Monday, 15 May: CLICK HERE

Cape May Warbler (male) 15 May 2023 Anindya Seng


The Nighthawk in Cities: Summer 1882.

During the past June (1882) I have observed a pair breeding of Nighthawks on the flat rooftop of a house on the north side of Seventy-first street near Fifth Avenue. This is the first case of the kind that has come under my personal observation, but I have been informed by others of similar instances in this city. In watching this pair I have noticed one habit which is particularly striking. On leaving their eggs, they never rise directly from them, but flutter along to the most distant part of the roof, and then launching out with the customary flight, go swooping and screaming about.

Your correspondent "Man" states that he "never knew before last week that what is known as 'the bull-bat,' (nighthawk), frequently build their nests on the flat rooftops of city houses." This fact has been known for some time by working ornithologists. As early as 1874 Dr. T. M. Brewer says of these birds (Chordeiles popetue, Baird): "Each summer "their number in Boston has perceptibly increased, and through June and July, at almost all hours of the day, most especially in the afternoon, they may be seen or heard sailing high in the air over its crowded streets. The modern style of house building, with flat Mansard roofs, 'has also added to the inducements, affording safe and convenient, shelter to the birds at night, and serving also for the deposition of their eggs. In quite a number of instances in the summers of 1870 and 1871 they were known to lay their eggs and to rear their young on the flat roofs in the southern and western sections of the city. I have also been informed by the late Mr. Turnbull, of Philadelphia, that the flat roofs of large warehouses near the river in that city are made similar use of.

Louis A. Zerega.

111 East 72d street, New York City,

Nighthawk at Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx)

Summer 2018

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. European SkyLark December 2019 Deborah Allen

TENETS OF JEWISH BUDDHISM (From the book by David Bader: Zen Buddhism) Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as the wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with posture like that. There is no escaping karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that? Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story. To practice Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, do the following: Get rid of the motorcycle. What were you thinking? Learn of the pine from the pine. Learn of the bamboo from the bamboo. Learn of the kugel from the kugel. Take only what is given. Own nothing but your robes and an alms bowl. Unless, of course, you have the closet space. Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness. If there is no self, whose arthritis is this? The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao is not Jewish. Drink tea and nourish life. With the first sip, joy. With the second, satisfaction. With the third, Danish. The Buddha taught that one should practice loving kindness to all sentient beings. Still, would it kill you to find a nice sentient being who happens to be Jewish? Be patient. achieve all things. Be impatient. achieve all things faster. To Find the Buddha, look within. Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist. Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated? If you wish to know The Way, Don't ask for directions. Argue. Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkes. -----

Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

Follow our Bird Sightings on Twitter: @DAllenNYC and/or @BirdingBobNYC

Central Park Pond at 59th Street on 18 May 2014 - In Infrared B/W

(below) Along the Bronx River (NYBG) in April 2010 - In Infrared B/W

1 Comment

May 17, 2023

Super website! People who watch birds ROCK !

Mary Megalli, Cairo, Egypt

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