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G’mar tov! Birds and People in Central Park, Early Oct 2022: Zan, Zendegi, Azadi!

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

Red-breasted Nuthatch in Central Park on 25 September 2022 by Deborah Allen

5 October 2022 = "Zen, Zendegi, Azadi"

Bird Notes: After almost a week of rain, the skies will clear and bird migration will resume en masse! We would expect Saturday (8 October) to be especially good because the temperature will drop significantly overnight, and winds will be from the NW all Saturday (great for raptor migration too). Our full list of walks can always be found on the SCHEDULE page of this web site. And on this Yom Kippur Wednesday, Deborah and I say:

"G'mar chatima tova" ("May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for good.") And we toss caution to the wind, combining Hebrew greetings with the chants of Iranian women seeking full rights: "Zen, Zendegi, Azadi"

We have a sort of abbreviated Newsletter this week, as three of last week's five bird walks were rained out. On one of those walks (Thursday, 29 Sept.), we found a Prothonotary Warbler...So our Historical Notes focus on one bird in Manhattan, and the weather: (a) an October 2010 Prothonotary Warbler that spent ~ three weeks in Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan, where birders debated whether to feed the warbler bread crumbs and salami (or not); (b) the weather in NYC in August 2022 - the third hottest August on record here in NYC since records have been kept starting in about 1869; but (c) a remarkably calm September 2022 that followed the 8th warmest summer (June-July-August) on record for NYC.

(above) Downy Woodpecker Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) 22 September 2022 Deborah Allen

(below) Swainson's Thrush Central Park on 25 September 2022 Deborah Allen

Bird Walks for Early October 2022

All Walks @ $10/person

Directions to All Meeting Locations can be found: (Click) here

1. Thursday, 6 October 8:30am. Bird Walk. Meet at the Dock on Turtle Pond. $10.

2. Friday, 7 October 8:30am. Bird Walk. Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) $10. Deb should be back leading today's walk.

3.!!! Saturday, 8 October 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.

4.!!! Sunday, 9 October 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.

5. Monday, 10 October. 8:30am. Bird Walk. Strawberry Fields (72nd street and Central Park West) $10.

!!!: if you do the 7:30am walk, you can come on the 9:30am for free (two for one).


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


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 ( 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 or help to your next destination, just ask someone on the walk - we aim to please.

Lincoln's Sparrow Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) 30 September 2022 Deborah Allen

Below: Savannah Sparrow Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) 30 September 2022 Deborah Allen

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights): Well....we don't have much to report because we only did two bird walks last the rain and strong winds of Sat/Sun/Mon put all hopes of looking for birds on hold. Nevertheless, on Thursday, 29 September we had 16 warbler species - it has been an especially good year for Tennessee and Cape May Warblers - and we found these today. Friday (30 September), there was a Prothonotary Warbler at the Wildflower Meadow at circa 103rd street from at least 745-810am, but it was not re-found on the actual bird walk. Bird walks such as these that set out to re-find a target bird are frustrating: we re-structure the entire walk to find the missing great bird...and if we don't see it, the bird walk is a failure - no matter how many other birds are seen...but it was nice to see Golden-crowned Kinglets for the first time this autumn.

Deborah's List of Birds for Thursday, 29 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Friday, 30 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Saturday, 1 October: CANCELLED due to RAIN!

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 2 October: CANCELLED due to RAIN!

Deborah's List of Birds for Monday, 3 October: CANCELLED due to RAIN!

(above) Tennessee Warbler Central Park on 22 September 2022 Deborah Allen

(below) Prothonotary Warbler in Michigan) 19 May 2021 Doug Leffler


CITY ROOM; A Rare Bird Makes a Visit to the Library

1 November 2010

For birders, the great prothonotary show has apparently ended.

It played outside the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue for seven days after Matthew Rymkiewicz, the manager of development information at the library and a bird watcher, went out at lunchtime on October 21. Along the wall past Patience, the lion at the south edge of the steps leading to the main entrance, he saw ''two sparrows scratching about and right next to them, this brilliant blue and gold bird.''

''My first thought was, 'Oh, my God,''' he recalled. ''My second thought was, I need a witness because no one's going to believe this.''

He ran inside and found a co-worker, Libbie Hayward. ''She's a birder, too,'' he said, ''and I dragged her along, and the bird did not appear. I thought, 'Oh, no.' Then it came out. I said, 'Bye, Libbie,' and dashed in to post a message. ''On the Internet, he wrote: ''Prothonotary warbler 40th and 5th!!!'' He was so excited, he said, ''It was like I was typing with oven mitts.''

It was, he said, ''an unmistakable bird.''

''You couldn't mistake it for any other warbler,'' he said.

And then it was gone.

''It was not there on Friday, and it was not there on Saturday,'' he said on Sunday morning. ''The hopeful consensus is he has gotten a hang on this migration thing, and flown south.''

Ah, the migration thing: That is what birders had worried about, even as they watched and ooohed and ahhhed. Prothonotary warblers are rare migratory birds that are usually just passing through on the way to winter in warm places like West Indies. They are bright yellow with grayish wings that feed on insects. And yes, history buffs, a prothonotary warbler figured in the tangle of memories and claims in the Alger Hiss case.

''They're a special bird to see whenever you see them because they're so bright and they're so elusive,'' said Sarah Elliott, a writer and birder. ''They don't come in large numbers like the yellow warbler or the black-throated blue warbler. There's a special buzz when a prothonotary is spotted. Everybody takes advantage of a sighting, and everybody goes and sees it.''

Mr. Rymkiewicz said it had apparently been around for a while before he saw it. ''The guards had been feeding it for two-plus weeks before that,'' he said. ''They didn't tell me, and they know I'm a birder. They thought it might have been someone's escaped canary.''

The speculation about how long it would stay at the library began almost as soon as his message went out, and before long, birders were converging on the library, just as they once converged across from the Fifth Avenue co-op where the red-tailed hawks Pale Male and Lola had a nest that the co-op board took away in 2004 but later replaced.

By last Thursday, some bird-watchers were complaining about paparazzi and their tricks. ''I was very annoyed to witness a photographer feeding the bird pieces of bread to tease it out from behind the bushes,'' Shari Zirlin of Brooklyn wrote on the birding list on Monday. ''When I confronted the photographer, he said to me, 'Everyone is doing it.' Whether everyone was doing it or not, it is wrong.''

Some were worried that it was almost November.

''Winter is coming,'' Ms. Elliott said on Thursday. ''It's not the cold that would bother it-people think it's going to freeze, but it's wearing its down jacket. It's usually the lack of food. The insects freeze and warblers had better be south. But here, with its coterie of admirers, it might survive if someone provided mealworms everyday, like Meals on Wheels.''

Mealworms-on-Wheels, she said. Why not?

Prothonotary Warbler Michigan 8 May 2019 Doug Leffler

With an average high 86.9F/low of 71.7F (3.2 degrees F above average), August 2022 ranks as NYC's third hottest August on record (behind August 1980 and August 2005). The hottest temperature of the month, and entire year, was 97F on 8/9 (the last time it was this hot in August was in 2006). This was one of eleven days in the 90s, which was well above the average of four. This August was the 14th to have 10 or more days with highs of 90F or hotter (August 1980 has the most, with 15). And its 22 days with lows of 70F or warmer was tied for second most behind 1980, 2005, and 2018, all which had 23.

With 1.71" of rainfall, this was the driest August since 1995 (when just 0.18" was measured) and the 18th driest August overall. The rainiest day was 8/1, when 0.48" fell. (8/1 also had the month's coolest high, 77F). The driest period of the month was the 15 days between 8/2-8/16 when just 0.30" of rain was measured in Central Park.

August's coolest high temperature on 8/1 was followed by 10 consecutive days with highs of 87F or hotter, the longest such streak in ten years. Six of the days were in the 90s, and the streak's average high was 91F.

The coolest low reading was 62F (on 8/18), making this the ninth August in a row in which there were no low temperatures in the 50s. (The longest streak of lows in the 50s in August is 14 years between 1878 and 1891, and 13 years from 1915 to 1927).

There was a beautiful symmetry to the month's daily lows. The month started and ended with lows in the upper 60s. The following 11 days after 8/1 as well as the 11 days preceding 8/31 had lows in the 70s. And the seven days in between the two streaks were all in the 60s. One difference between the two streaks of lows in the 70s was that the earlier one was two degrees warmer (75F vs 73F). Embedded in the first 11-day streak were seven days in a row with lows of 75F or warmer, the second longest such streak in August (after Aug 1896) while the second streak had just one reading that warm.

JULY-AUGUST (2022): Last year (2021) July and August were noteworthy because both months had more than 10 inches of rain; this year it was their hot temperatures that gained attention. July-Augusts 2022's average temperature tied with 2010 as the third hottest July-August combo (behind July-August 1980 and 2005). The two months were also one of 12 pairs of months in which both had 10 or more days in the 90s (all pairs were July-August, except in 1966 when it was June-July). Finally, this July and August combined for the most lows of 70+, at 46 (the average number is 29).

SUMMER 2022 RECAP: This summer was 8th hottest on record (June-July-August), joining four other summers from this century, including the hottest of all-time in 2010. Although 2022's rank of average temperature (average of the average high/low) was 8th, its ranking for average low was higher, at #4.

September 2022 had close to average temperatures (+0.3F degrees) and rainfall that was just slightly below average (4.10"). Through 9/22 temperatures were two degrees above average, but then the following eight days were four degrees cooler than average. Eleven days had mean temperatures that were very close to average (i.e., between one degree below and one degree above average), the most of any month since September 2016. The month's biggest daily rainfall, 1.11" on 9/25, came down in a little less than an hour. (Ironically, 9/25 is one of the least likely dates of the year to report measurable rain.)

The spread between the month's coolest (49F on 9/24) and hottest readings (90F on 9/4) was 41 degrees F, the widest spread in September since 2015. Although the hottest and chilliest readings were 20 days apart, the days with the most above average and most below average mean temperatures were just four days apart (9/19, with a high/low of 85F/68F was nine degrees above average; 9/23, with a high/low of 63F/51F, was ten degrees below average).

The 90F reading on 9/4 was the 25th reading of 90+F of the year, making 2022 the 20th year with 25 or more (all since 1936). Of these years, 2022's hot readings were "coolest", with an average of 91.8F (0.1 degree cooler than 1959, which had 27 days in the 90s).

Finally, what was likely the last low of 70° this year occurred on 9/5. The last time this occurrence was so early was in 2014. (FYI, a low in the 70s in October has occurred in nine years since 1869.) In total, 2022 had 50 days with lows of 70+; only eleven other years have had more: the most was 61 in 1906, and 60 in 2005.

Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

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

Black Skimmer Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 2 October 2022 Deborah Allen

Black Skimmer Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 2 October 2022 Deborah Allen

#CentralPark #BirdWalksCentralParkOctober2022

1 Comment

Thanks so much, Deb and Bob! Peace and good health to all, in every language and in every land!

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