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Summer Heat Waves become Waves of Bird Migration: Sept. 2022 in Central Park

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

7 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.

Good news: we are back to writing about NYC birds! We have been doing research here in Central Park + NYC since 1985, and leading bird walks since 1988.

In this week's Historical Notes, we send: (a) some notable birds of Central Park from August-September of yesteryear including a late August arriving Yellow-rumped Warbler (1908); and a mid-September 1910 migrant shrike (= Loggerhead Shrike). There is also mention of warbler migration beginning in August (in 1910; still true today), with Blue-winged and the Black-and-white Warblers being the earliest arriving species. Yellow Warbler and American Redstart were the breeding species of Central Park in the early 20th century. Our experience (1990-present) has been that the Yellow Warbler is the most common early arriving warbler (sometimes 30-40 seen in a day by 5 August) followed by the American Redstart (ditto) about a week later. And the last time a warbler bred in Central Park was the late 1940s (Yellow Warbler).

The second historical note (b) is the weather for August 2022 in NYC: it was the third hottest August on record (140+ years) for this city. Also, this was the THIRD hottest JULY-AUGUST on record for NYC. And taking 1 June to 31 August together, it was the eighth hottest summer on record for NYC according to measurements taken in Central Park. Details via Rob Frydlewicz writing on his NYC Weather Archive blog.

Cape May Warbler Central Park on 5 September 2022 Deborah Allen

Cliff Swallow (juvenile) Pelham Bay Park (The Bronx) 26 August 2021 D. Allen

Bird Walks for mid-September 2022

All Walks @ $10/person

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

2. Friday, 9 September 8:30am. Bird Walk. Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave) $10. Deborah Allen leads all Friday walks.

3.!!! Saturday, 10 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, 11 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, 12 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.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Central Park 2 September 2022 D. Allen

Below: Red-breasted Nuthatch in Central Park. 3 September 2022 Deborah Allen

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights): So what's different this migration season so far compared to last year? We are seeing many Red-breasted Nuthatches (RBNU) in good number - see Deborah's photo above. They are quite social and as soon as I play their calls inevitably 1-7 show up. RBNUs are a bi-annual (every two years) irruptive species: last year we hardly had any, but 2020 was a huge autumn to see them on migration. Later that year we had other seed-eating birds such as Pine Siskins and Evening Grosbeaks. On the other hand, the number of Northern Parula warblers is way down this year (as it was in 2021). In the past, in August, it was not difficult to see 10-15 on a bird one or two seems to be the norm. As for last week starting 1 September: we are getting somewhere between 8-12 warbler species per walk, with American Redstarts dominating the males are starting to make up a greater percentage of the those seen. Overall, we are seeing the same diversity of species, but it is the number of individuals that is down...probably weather related. If we can get some overnight winds from the northwest...numbers would skyrocket. We are expecting a better than average September because August was a bit lower in number than past years...

Deborah's List of Birds for Thursday, 1 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Friday, 2 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Saturday, 3 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 4 September: Click Here

Deborah's List of Birds for Monday, 5 September: Click Here

(above) Chestnut-sided Warbler in Central Park on 5 September 2022 Deborah Allen

(below) American Redstart in Central Park on 5 September 2022 Deborah Allen


Central Park Notes [1908]

By Ludlow Griscom

Myrtle Warbler [1908]. I saw an individual of this species in fall plumage August 28 [1908]. This is three weeks earlier than it is usually seen in this neighborhood.

Cape May Warbler [1908]. This generally rare Warbler has turned up several times in the Park this autumn. Below I give the dates of occurrence: September 22, one young male; September 24, one male; October 1, one young female.

These birds were seen in company with Blackpoll Warblers which have been exceedingly abundant this autumn.

Ovenbird in Michigan 12 September 2015 Doug Leffler



Migrant Shrike [Loggerhead Shrike]. A fine adult bird was seen in Central Park on September 15, 1910. It was perched upon a fence, surrounding one of the reservoirs, and was eating something which was too far gone to distinguish what it was. This is the only bird of this species recorded from the Park.

Lanius ludovicianus. Loggerhead Shrike. The first record of this species on Long Island was made by Mr. N.T. Lawrence in 1878. No other records have been made since, that I am aware of. I have the pleasure of adding a second record - a male, young of the year, taken August 28, 1888, at Springs, Suffolk Co. [Long Island]. It was sent to me in the flesh by a correspondent, Mr. Daniel D. Parsons, who occasionally sends me birds, especially those that are new or strange to him. His letter of transmit stated that the Shrike "was alone, and was shot from the highest branch of an apple tree, in the middle of a field. I never saw one like it before." From the date of capture, and also from the 1ocality near the extreme eastern part of the Island, it is probable that this specimen was bred on Long Island or in the adjoining State of Connecticut. William Dutcher

Cape May Warbler. This bird is noticeably increasing in numbers in this vicinity during migrations. It was almost common in Central Park during the fall migration of 1910. The writer’s records are as follows: September 3 and 4, two immature males (probably same birds on both days); September 8, an immature male; September 17, a female; September 25, a female; September 29, three immature males and a female in one flock. Other observers reported several more birds. During the past spring a pair or two spent several days in the Park. One male was an exceedingly handsome bird. The yellow on the throat and breast was very intense, almost orange, and the chestnut auricular patch was very extensive.

Palm Warbler. The western Palm Warbler is occurring quite regularly in Central Park during the fall migration. On September 22 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.

Central Park is the best place for miles around in which to study the Warbler migrations. As only two species, the Yellow and the Redstart, nest, any other showing up in the fall can safely be called migrants. The first individuals appear soon after the first of August. The Black and White and Blue-winged share the honor of being the first species. This latter is often common in August, but is very rare in spring. Both nest in near surrounding country. As Myrtle Warblers never winter in the Park, the first to appear in the spring are of course migrants. The above illustrations show the position of Central Park in regards to Warbler migrations.

White-crested Helmet Shrike South Africa 17 July 2022 Deborah Allen

NYC Weather Archive

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 Aug 2005). The hottest temperature of the month, and entire year, was 97F on 9 August (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.

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 Aug. (after Aug. 1896), while the second streak had just one reading that warm.


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).


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.


This August was the seventh month with 1.71" of rain. The previous time was in May 1977.

Despite being third warmest for average temperature, August 2022 ranks sixth for warmest high as well as sixth for warmest low.

With August 2020 entering the top 10, it pushed August 1955 out of the exclusive club.

Although July 2022 was 0.2F degrees hotter than August 2022, July ranked as 13th hottest among all Julys.


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

Summer Azure Butterfly Central Park 28 August 2022 Deborah Allen

#BirdWalksCentralPark #BirdWalksCentralParkSeptember


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