Updated: May 4
Northern Parula Central Park 3 May 2022 Deborah Allen
3 May 2023
Bird Notes: Weather for Thursday through Monday (May 4-8) looks fine for birding. All of these days could be especially good for bird migration as overnight temperatures warm (indicating air coming up from the south). Always check the Schedule page of our web site for details about our walks, such as directions to meeting locations. One last note: Anything underlined in this Newsletter, (eg., Schedule (click on it), will lead to further info.
The next five days begin the best migration movement through the region for spring 2023 - so far. There will be many (many) migrants to see in Central Park starting Thursday 4 May...don't miss it! You have been warned. Expect warblers, vireos, cuckoos...nightjars. Meet you there! Guaranteed!
Our HISTORICAL NOTES detail birding in spring in Central Park just five years ago in late April through early May 2018. In Historical Note (A) we present the results from our bird walks to show how wonderful the birding was in late April 2018. This year...not so much. Migrant Birds are "shadows of the weather". (For an explanation see Historical Note (B).) As guest correspondent Rob Frydlewicz notes, late April 2023 had below average temperatures each day, the longest streak of below average temperatures since December - and we saw very little migration in Central Park. Rainfall during this time made April 2023 the seventh wettest April on record. By comparison, the first half of the month was 9F degrees above normal making April 2023 the second mildest on record. What a crazy month of variability, resulting in good migration until 18 April, and then not much. Hold your hats for 4 May forward, the weather will warm with winds from the south.
Black-and-white Warbler Central Park 10 May 2018 Deborah Allen
Bird Walks for Early MAY 2023
All Walks @ $10/person - all in Central Park
1. Thursday, 4 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, 5 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, 6 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, 7 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, 8 May: (8:30am) Strawberry Fields (72nd st. and Central Park West) $10
6. Thursday, 11 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: email@example.com
male Nashville Warbler Central Park 15 May 2018 Bruno Boni de Oliveira
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: DAllenyc@earthlink.net 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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. 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.
Yellow Warbler Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 5 June 2012 Deborah Allen
Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)
Thursday 27 April through Monday 1 May: Starting 27 April (with six warbler species) and concluding Monday 1 May (six warbler species) we have been in a holding pattern. Winds have been from the north with lots of rain...we went from being four inches BELOW average for April to the seventh wettest April on record for NYC...and all that rain occurred from 22 April to 1 May. So instead of having approx 18 warbler species beginning 28-29 April or so, we have been in bird purgatory waiting for the skies to clear and warmer weather to come up from the south bringing birds with it. Anyway, highlights of the these five days were many lingering Eastern Towhees and a very nice White-eyed Vireo along the southwest edge of the Reservoir that our group found, re-found and re-re-re found. The vireo was particularly easy to find since it would come to us when I played certain calls, and then start calling more or less incessantly once it came in. White-eyed Vireos breed in parts of NYC such as the Staten Island wetlands, but overall it is a less common vireo migrant in our area.
Deborah's List of Birds for Thursday, 27 April 2023: CLICK HERE
Deborah's List of Birds for Friday, 28 April 2023: CLICK HERE
Deborah's List of Birds for Saturday, 29 April: RAIN! No Bird Walk
Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 30 April: CLICK HERE
Deborah's List of Birds for Monday, 1 May: CLICK HERE
Baltimore Oriole 17 May 2019 Deborah Allen
Thursday, 26 April 2018 (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - despite all the "Tweets" about interesting birds in the park, actual birds were scarce. Of the highlights, I could only find a female Summer Tanager before the walk, but others found both the male and female. On the other hand, we had good to great looks at Indigo Bunting, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Black-and-white Warbler (thank You Harry Boyd MD), Blue-headed Vireo and Field Sparrow (as well as more pedestrian species such as Palm W and Yellow-rumped Warbler). More goldfinches at the feeders seem to getting bright yellow, and a male/female Eastern Towhee pair was a nice find there too. I'll remember today for the number of birds we brought in close using my recordings. As the folks on my walk saw, it helps knowing what call to play when, to "reel" the bird in using an audio lure.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Thursday, 26 April 2018: CLICK HERE
Friday, 27 April 2018 (start at Conservatory Garden, Central Park at 9am) - even though we did indeed cancel the bird walk this morning, we were booked by an out of town group to lead them around the Ramble. So despite stretches of moderate rain, we were walking walking...Deborah with her fine group, and bob trying to convince his smaller group that he was indeed a bird guide. David Barrett was with bob to remind him of that as well...Anyway, all of us could not help but notice the 3 or 4 or sometimes 8 Blue-headed Vireos in the same tree. Conservative estimates this morning put the total (in the Ramble only) at 40-60 but there could have been 100-200 easily. This was the greatest number of Blue-headed Vireos I have even seen in Central Park in a single day. Today also marked the first good flight of warblers for the season - they flew "under the radar" as it were - none of the fancy large-scale radar detection places picked up on a "lesser" flight headed our way the night before. This happens often in our area - it does not have to be a grand wave of birds to make a great day...which amounted to 14 warbler species including two male Hooded Warblers (Deborah that great bird guide found the other)...one of which we all watched near the Ladies Pavilion at eye level. So despite bad weather, one bad bird guide and a not so great write-up, our guests returned home amazed at what the saw and what the use of recorded calls could do to bring in all sorts of birds at eye level.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Friday, 27 April 2018: CLICK HERE
Saturday, 28 April 2018 (Boathouse in Central Park at 7:30am and again at 9:30am) - not quite as good as Friday but still exceptional particularly because the weather was so much better. What do I remember today? Using the tape to get a Worm-eating Warbler to sit on a branch motionless and listening about five feet away from us; doing the same for a Prairie Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler and several other species...and then finishing the day with two Great Horned Owl chicks still in the nest nearby at the Long Island Sound in the Bronx. And finally, using sound to get American Oystercatchers to do display flights back and forth in front of the group.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Saturday, 28 April 2018: CLICK HERE
Thursday, 3 May 2018 (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 9am) - Deborah Allen led the bird walk today while I had a private walk with two people from the UK. We totaled 18 warbler species, and it easily could have been 20 if we made a serious effort to track down nearby Yellow-throated Warblers (2) and Worm-eating Warblers (2). However, the heat (92f / set a record for the date) and sheer number of birds wherever we went kept us more or less in our shoes standing in one place for long stretches. Highlights were using my recordings to bring in a male Cape May warbler from the top of a tree to eye-level and then east to west across the bridge at the Upper Lobe. We (David Barrett and I) also did that with a Black-throated Green Warbler today. Other highlights: Scarlet Tanagers just above our heads and swooping low for insects; three Blackburnian Warbler males fairly low in the same branch of a Pin Oak (Maintenance Field)...and using the tape to bring in three Yellow-billed Cuckoos to Azalea Pond to perch over us. I will forever be hated by some for using these recordings (even though the sounds do not harm birds in any way shape or form), and Deborah will more or less be loved. Oh well if they have to have someone to hate, I am as good a candidate as any - but I'll continue to bring in birds my way.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Thursday, 3 May 2018: CLICK HERE
Friday, 4 May 2018 (start at Conservatory Garden, Central Park at 9am) - if you look at bird lists for today (see Deborah's via the link below/19 warbler species), one has the impression it was an amazing day...it was but with caveats. Amazing because it produced several bird species very rare for Central Park: Prothonotary Warbler, Sora Rail, Cerulean Warbler and particularly Chuck-wills-widow a kind of a Nightjar. That being said, of these, only the Prothonotary Warbler was seen by many. At the north end in the Loch, I was having a difficult time pulling warblers down from the oak trees in which they were feeding (upon pollen in the flowers and moth caterpillars that feed on same). I could pull them toward the edge of the tree (in our direction) with calls from my tape, but they were not leaving the tops of the trees. It was here that a grayish warbler (light was terrible today) with a collar came in just above my head for just a few seconds...what was it? It had some streaks along the side but the light and movement of the bird gave me pause. Having just reported via Tweet to the Central Park Bird alert (David Barrett), that other good birders told our group about Yellow-breasted Chat and Prothonotary Warbler - I was hesitant to report anything else unusual. It is the "boy crying wolf" syndrome...and it is very easy to get excited on a good day and start imagining/reporting all sorts of rare birds. Deborah and I value accuracy and precision over exciting...Anyway, when I got home and looked at the field guides, and talked to Deborah, I realized the only "collared" warbler (one with a line across the upper breast) is a Cerulean Warbler...I probably had a young male. Meanwhile the birds stayed high high and it was not until we reached the East Side of the Great Hill that the sound recordings began to work their magic. But why? My guess is that there are fewer tall oak trees there and birds are foraging lower - so when they come in they are on a horizontal bee-line towards the calls I use. And as usual after we had below eye-level looks at such birds as Black-throated Green Warbler and eye-level Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue - they all went back to what they were doing after about a minute. Sadly the people who hate me in the park for what I do (or at least hate what I do) never bother to actually see what I do...they just assume something terrible must be happening to birds. But what exactly is that terrible thing? That people get to see birds up close and marvel in the colors and delicate movements? That people form a bond with these migrators and want to protect them? That people come to understand the importance of urban of parks? That the birds leave us after a minute to go back to doing what they were doing...and we even see them feeding while they come in to check out the sounds I am playing! I'll trade my role as an educator for the opprobrium I receive every time...These days I smile and do my best to walk away calmly when yet another person wants to yell in my face or say whatever. Deborah and I have higher standards and we welcome birders with open minds to actually see what happens when we use sound to attract birds.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Friday, 4 May 2018: CLICK HERE
Saturday, 5 May 2018 (Boathouse in Central Park at 7:30am and again at 9:30am) - amazing day: 22 warbler species in the Ramble including Prothonotary, Kentucky and Cape May and people on my walks saw them all. Add to this Black-billed Cuckoo and Red-headed Woodpecker (we used recordings to pull them in to us), folks had a great list and experience for the day. Nearby, though we did not try and find them, were Clay-colored Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow. In fact it was so good, we "slow-walked" the bird walk - not covering much ground (perhaps two miles by foot), and not reaching tried and true hot spots we almost always visit. We did not need to...there was so much, everywhere. And my recordings worked their magic throughout the morning: Blue-winged Warbler brought down to below eye-level (one foot off the ground); Nashville Warbler followed the recording to one foot above my head; and several Blackburnians very close just above us...who came down from high in oak trees.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Saturday, 5 May 2018: CLICK HERE
Sunday, 6 May 2018 (start at the Dock on Turtle Pond at 7:30am and again at 9:30am) - once again we found 22 warbler species for the people on our walks using recorded calls...and sometimes just our eyes. Highlights were the Prothonotary Warbler just over our heads at the "Point" and a nearby Kentucky Warbler. Favorites were intense orange-yellow Blue-winged Warblers (*two males and a female), and several Chestnut-sided Warblers (the yellow cap is always a favorite field mark). The fly-in Red-headed Woodpecker (thanks tape) on the early walk, and a bright red Scarlet Tanager (second walk) received a lot of ooohs and aaahs as well.
Deborah Allen's list of birds for Sunday, 6 May: CLICK HERE
Northern Parula Central Park 8 May 2022 Deborah Allen
April 2023 was 3.9F degrees above average and rainfall was about three and a half inches above the norm, making the month the second mildest and seventh wettest April on record.
After temperatures nine degrees milder than average occurred in the first two-and-a-half weeks of the month (including back-to-back days in the 90s), the last week of the month was five degrees below average. This cool period is what prevented April from becoming the mildest on record (finishing 0.3 degrees behind April 2010).
As for rainfall, despite the first three weeks of April receiving just 0.40 inches, which was the least amount of rain thru 4/21 since April 1968, incredibly, the month became one of the wettest Aprils as 7.30 inches of rain fell in the last nine days of the month. This rain came from three storm systems that each produced more than two inches of rain: 2.19” on 4/22-23; 2.79” on 4/28-29; and 2.32” on 4/30.
April 13 and 14 had highs of 90F and 91F, respectively. Only three other Aprils have had 90s on earlier dates: April 7, 2010; April 8, 1991; and April 12, 1977. This was the 13th April to have highs in the 90s and the sixth with two or more (the most is three in 1976 and 2002).
The low of 70F on the morning of 4/14 has the distinction of being the earliest reading of 70+ on record.
The month’s chilliest reading was 37F. Only four other Aprils have had their chilliest reading above that (last April was one of them; mildest is 42F in 1878); five other Aprils also had a chilliest reading of 37F.
Finally, the six-days between 4/11 and 4/16 were all ten degrees or more above average, with the three-day period of 4/12-14 being 25 degrees above average. Meanwhile, the last week of April had below average temperatures each day - the longest streak of below average temperatures since December.
Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD
North Woods along the Loch in Central Park 7 April 2010
(below) North Woods in Central Park 14 April 2011