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Moving in One Direction: the Birds

14 September 2022

Bird Notes: Our Thursday through Monday bird walk schedule for September-October is on our web site: SCHEDULE . Price is still $10/person (since 2012 has not changed). Let us know if you want to rent nice binoculars.

Winds are is cooling. When winds are from the northwest we will see hawk migrants by day, and good overnight flights of the neotropical birds overnight. Yes in Manhattan; Yes in Central Park.

In this week's Historical Notes, we send: (a) the "rare" Palm Warbler in Manhattan in September 1896 near the Claremont Hotel (just north of Grant's Tomb on 125th street and Riverside Drive); and then the Western Palm Warbler in September 1911 in Central Park - by this time considered common in autumn; (b) the Red-headed Woodpecker nesting in Flushing (Queens) in 1896-1897, and as an uncommon migrant 7-21 September 1914 in Rhinebeck, N.Y.; (c) the Worm-eating Warbler in Brooklyn on 16 September 1896; (d) the migrant Warbling Vireo (singing) in Brooklyn 16 September 1895 (and subsequently nesting near Prospect Park in 1902; and finally, (e) on 14 September 2015, the migrant Philadelphia Vireo, and resident Pileated Woodpecker on Staten Island.

Common Nighthawk Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) in August 2018

Wood Thrush Central Park on 10 September 2022 Deborah Allen

Bird Walks for mid-September 2022

All Walks @ $10/person

1. Thursday, 15 September 8:30am. Bird Walk. Meet at the Dock on Turtle Pond. $10.

2. Friday, 16 September 8:30am. Bird Walk. Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) $10. Deborah Allen leads all Friday walks.

3.!!! Saturday, 17 September 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, 18 September 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. Monday, 19 Sept. 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.

Cape May Warbler Michigan 29 August 2016 Doug Leffler

Below: Philadelphia Vireo Michigan 1 September 2017 Doug Leffler

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights): We had the most fun with Veerys last week: we walked into the Ramble and none would be around. I began playing the calls and Veerys came in from all directions...but very few perched a few feet in front of us. Instead they preferred to be above the source of the sound, often behind leaves. With similar use sound, we were getting somewhere between 20-35 American Redstarts per walk...and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were coming in to the calls as well. With the recent rains, the hummers have benefited greatly: Jewelweed is in peak bloom. And the first Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were coming down to eat the seeds of ripened Jewelweed. A wild week with great sightings - and long pauses of, "Oh please not another Redstart." Mondays walk was cancelled: it was raining at 4:30am when I awoke, and the forecast was for occasional drizzle through the morning...So please always check the web site in the morning on days when the weather is "iffy"!

Deborah's List of Birds for Thursday, 8 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Friday, 9 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Saturday, 10 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 11 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Monday, 12 September: No Bird Walk: RAIN!

(above) Palm Warbler in Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) on 30 September 2015

(below) Western Palm Warbler in Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) on 20 September 2016


NYC Bird Notes [1886 and 1911]

By Frank Chapman

Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum in New York City (1886; see photo above). An individual of the Palm Warbler was seen by the writer, September 2, 1896, in West 129th Street, New York City, at the base of the prominence upon which stands the Claremont Hotel. The bird is not only rare in this vicinity but the record is an unusually early one. Three of the five recorded instances of its occurrence are based on spring captures at Sing Sing (Fisher) and Riverdale (Bicknell). The two previous fall records are, Fire Island Light, L.I., Sept. 23, 1887 (Dutcher) and Red Bank, N.J., Sept. 28, 1889 (Oberholser).

Palm Warbler (1911). The Western Palm Warbler (see photo above) is occurring quite regularly in Central Park during the fall migration. On September 22 (1911) a flock of three, were seen. This past year one was seen on September 10. All these birds were typical specimens and were spotted at a glance.

Red-headed Woodpecker at Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 10 March 2014

Queens' Bird Notes [1898]

Red-headed Woodpecker (1898). Melanerpes erythrocephalus (photo above). A rare summer resident on Long Island. A pair of this species nested in 1896 and 1897 in an old willow tree on a lawn at Flushing (Queens). The tree was blown down, and the birds did not appear the next year.


Notes on the Red-headed Woodpecker at Rhinebeck, N.Y. (1914)

In the November-December, 1914, Mr. George T. Griswold speaks of the unusual number of Red-headed Woodpeckers seen last autumn.

The Red-head at Rhinebeck, N. Y., has, during the past fifteen years, been an uncommon transient from May 15 to 16 and from September 7 to 21. In October, 1914, however, two immature specimens settled down near my house and at the date of writing are still here.

During the whole of October they were very busy storing acorns, and one bird particularly attracted my attention because he selected the open end of a pipe support of my tennis-court backstop for a storehouse. He would fly to it with an acorn, jam it past a wire that passes diametrically through the end of the pipe, and then turn his head sideways either to hear or to see it drop down to the bottom. It will be interesting to see if he will make any attempt to recover them!

When the Woodpeckers and Blue Jays had disposed of most of the acorns, the former turned their attention to the locust borers and other insect pests with which my trees are unfortunately infested. During November, traces of red began to appear about the base of the Red-heads' throats and the bluish black wing coverts of maturity commenced to show. The birds are still slowly but surely assuming their adult plumage. I have only once seen them together, and for this reason for some time thought that there was only one, until one day I heard them answering each other. They usually work on opposite sides of the lawn, about two hundred yards apart, but whether they ever exchange territory I do not know. Neither do I know if they keep apart through inherited custom or because one is a bully and will not tolerate the close proximity of his partner. I have put suet in a number of trees that the Redheads frequent, but have yet to see them touch it. It will be interesting to find out if they can be persuaded to winter here.

Maunsell Schieffelin Crosby, Rhinebeck, N. Y., December 9, 1914.

Warbling Vireo Bronx Park May 2006

Worm-eating Warbler Helmitherus vermivorus (1896). This Warbler is not a lover of Long Island's woods. Reaching the northern line of his breeding range at about this latitude, and evidently following regularly a route which does not cross Long Island, his occurrence here is doubtless an exception. A specimen of the Worm-eating Warbler of the year was secured within the present limits of Brooklyn on 16 September 1896. This bird was feeding in company with other Warblers in a low shrubby growth within the borders of a wood.

William C. Braislin, Brooklyn, N.Y.


Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus (1895). On the morning of 16 September 1895, while on the Boulevard just beyond Prospect Park, Brooklyn, I was attracted by a sustained melodious warble, which for the moment I was unable to place, but which I afterward remembered having been formerly fairly familiar with in New Jersey as the supposed song of the Warbling Vireo. I had never verified this supposition as it had always been heard in the shade trees of village streets. In this case the bird was in one of the outer of the four rows of shade trees which extend the length of the Boulevard. At my approach it flew into one of a cross row of maple trees, about forty yards from that in which it had first been heard, where it was secured. It proved to be an adult male Warbling Vireo--a bird which on Long Island I had often searched and listened for in vain. For some reason, this bird on Long Island is either rare or often overlooked. The latter seems the less likely in that its song is very characteristic, as well as being one of the sweetest, and most apt to attract attention of all our singing birds. Its song is a refrain of trilled notes, varying up-hill and down in harmonious modulations, with only the merest pause between each effort of, it must be, twenty-five or thirty notes.

William C. Braislin, Brooklyn, N.Y.


Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus (1902). Since recording the Warbling Vireo on Long Island in September 1895, I have observed it every spring and summer near the same locality, namely, just south of Prospect Park near the Ocean Parkway. It probably nested here continuously, and in 1900 I observed the nest, which was in plain sight from the driveway. Not only the nest but the bird upon it could be seen from the ground, and I repeatedly heard the bird and saw the articulating movements of the head and bill as it sang from the nest while brooding. The nesting terminated successfully as far as I could determine, though later in the season I failed to visit the locality for a considerable interval. During the summer of 1901, no birds of this species occupied the locality referred to.

William C. Braislin, Brooklyn, N.Y.


14 September 2015

This morning at ~8:00am there was a Philadelphia Vireo in a mixed flock along the road that leads to the overlook at the Cemetery of the Resurrection.

At ~8:45am, a Pileated Woodpecker was at the Snag Swamp at North Mt Loretto State Forest. It can be accessed by Cunningham Rd from the church side at Mt Loretto (first trail on right hand side of Cunningham). The bird was active and foraging in various trees on the north side of the swamp.

Anthony Ciancimino


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

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

Reservoir, Central Park looking southeast from the northwest corner

Belted Kingfisher Central Park 28 August 2018

#BirdWalksCentralPark #BirdWalksCentralParkSeptember


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