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What's Goin On, Central Park? Fungi and Birds late July 2021

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

American Redstart male in heavy moult in Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) on 20 July 2021 by Deborah Allen.

21 July 2021

Bird Notes: Our Sunday morning (7:30/9:30am) walks continue in July, with small numbers of migrants beginning to arrive to augment the usual suspects. See the SCHEDULE page of this web site for the most up-to-date info for bird walks and meeting locations/times including if we have cancelled (or plan to cancel) because of inclement weather.

How I wish it would rain is the soul song of NYC Mushrooms (Fungi). Here in Central Park we spent this past Sunday's bird walks finding more/different kinds of mushrooms for which we provide photos below with preliminary IDs. Do send us comments on corrections/suggestions so we get our IDs 100% right. With all the rain this July look for Fungi! If you find one in Central Park, send a photo: Sandra Critelli has been diligently compiling a list over the last five years - and we are all ears as they say for new ones in the park.

We love small businesses! Our friend and fellow-birder Bina Motiram (born and raised in Mozambique; now a NYC resident for many years) and her partner Dana DuFrane, launched SugarRoti, an organic and vegan Indian spice blend company. They offer

15 different pre-measured spice blends to choose from - to transform any meal into an extraordinary dinner. Use the special code "NUJOIN" to get 10% off when you purchase two packages at SugarRoti.

In this week's Historical Notes, we send observations from all five boroughs from July-Augusts of the distant past: (a) a July 1881 American Woodcock in mid-town Manhattan; (b) Lesser Yellowlegs and Stilt Sandpipers on migration through coastal Brooklyn in late July 1884; in (c) a longer note on Wilson's Storm Petrels off Brooklyn and Queens in July-August 1888; (d) the early August 1885 appearance of the rare Turkey Vulture over Flushing, Queens; (e) one of the first occurrences of Great Egrets in NYC (at Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx) in mid-July 1916; (f) a House Wren in sneakers on Staten Island in July 2008; and finally, (g) Cedar Waxwings in Manhattan and Japan including the Japanese names for the various color forms of these birds.

Crown-tipped Coral Fungus - uncommon/rare in Central Park

18 July 2021 Sandra Critelli

Golden Chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius at NYBG in the Bronx on 10 July 2021;

this species is also found in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, as well as (rarely) Central Park.

Usually, the fruiting bodies emerge in August w/ the onset of thunderstorms/cooler weather

Bird Walks for late July 2021

All Walks @ $10/person

x. Saturday, 17 July. NO BIRD WALK!!!!

1. Sunday, 18 July 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.

x. Saturday, 24 July. NO BIRD WALK!!!!

2. Sunday, 25 July 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.

x. Saturday, 31 July. NO BIRD WALK!!!!

3. Sunday, 1 August 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.

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

Yellow Patches in Central Park on 18 July 2021 Sandra Critelli

Grisettes(???) in Central Park on 18 July 2021 Sandra Critelli

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights):

Sunday, 18 July (Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am/9:30am): it is still July....but this past Sunday we felt like we were in Borneo with the high humidity. But mushrooms were everywhere - see Sandra Critelli's photos herein for some (and send us photos of any you have seen). We tracked down a very high Barry Barred Owl; re-found the Swamp Sparrow that arrived in the Ramble in early July...but could not find the three White-throated Sparrows that have been in the Ramble all summer. Small flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds were flying south overhead of Belvedere Castle - and found no migrant warblers...

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 18 July 2021: no list this week because no species of note. Next week the list returns, migrants we hope.

Chestnut Bolete(???) in Central Park on 18 July 2021 Sandra Critelli

Ruby Bolete(???) in Central Park on 18 July 2021 Sandra Critelli


A Woodcock in Reservoir Square [Manhattan 1881]. Two New York city correspondents send us this very interesting note of a woodcock observed in one of the city parks. On crossing Reservoir square, Forty-second street and Sixth avenue, about noon, July 1 [1881], a woodcock, Philohela minor, was observed feeding with the sparrows. Upon approaching it, it seemed quite tame, but would not allow us to go very near it. After picking around for some it flew into some bushes and disappeared, and we were unable to find it afterward. — E. W. L. and S. W. A.

[Some months ago our readers will remember we chronicled the capture of a woodcock in a house in Brooklyn, the bird having flown in through a window.]


Micropalama himantopus. STILT SANDPIPER. I have always found this bird unusually common in the vicinity of Far Rockaway, and should like to give my experience with it on two occasions during the past two years. On September 10, 1883, I was shooting on the meadows; wind east; rained from 6am until twelve midnight. On that day I had three flocks come to my decoys, composed of Little Yellow Legs [= Lesser Yellowlegs] and Stilt Sandpipers, and numbering from fifty to one hundred birds in each. I killed nineteen, twenty-one, and ten, respectively; among them were twenty Stilts. On July 28, 1884, there occurred one of the largest flights of Bay Birds at Far Rockaway that I have seen in a number of years. The day was bright and clear, with a light southerly wind; it had stormed hard from the East all the preceding day. The flight was composed almost entirely of Little [Lesser] Yellow Legs and Stilt Sandpipers, every flock containing more or fewer of each. Saw several flocks composed entirely of Stilts. One numbering twelve came to my decoys and I killed them all. I secured that day twenty Stilt Sandpipers, all old birds. On both the dates mentioned a great many flocks of traveling birds were seen flying very high; some of them must have numbered over two hundred individuals.

Newbold T. Lawrence.

Marsh Wren at Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) on 17 July Deborah Allen

Wilson's Petrel 1888

by William Dutcher

Oceanites oceanicus. Wilson's Petrel. Of this species Mr. Giraud says: "Are not uncommon off Sandy Hook [NJ], within sight of land, and occasionally stragglers are seen coasting along the shores of Long Island." Petrels are not uncommon off the Long Island coast during the summer months, and that they are mostly of this species I am led to believe from the present evidence. Gunners and baymen on the south side tell me that they have seen Petrels off shore while bluefishing, but that they rarely see them near the surf line, or on the bays, except after very heavy blows. A letter written by Mr. W. L. Breese, who owns and resides on an extensive estate called Timber Point, near Islip, L. I., proves that they are sometimes found in Great South Bay. In a communication to Dr. A. K. Fisher, June 25, 1885, he says: "I saw a flock of about twenty-five Petrels in the bay, this week, the only ones I have ever seen down here. I do not know what they were doing here so late in the season and so far up the bay [about eight miles northeast from Fire Island inlet and near the mainland]. July 20, 1888, Mr. N. T. Lawrence, B. H. Dutcher, and the writer sailed through Rockaway Inlet in a bluefish smack, for the purpose of ascertaining what Petrels, if any, were to be found off Rockaway Beach and Coney Island. We went out on the last of a strong ebb tide and with a very light breeze, that hardly filled our flapping sail. When about a mile off shore we saw a single Petrel, which passed us out of gunshot, flying parallel with the shore. In a short time this or another individual passed us going in an opposite direction. Until we were nearly two miles off shore we saw single individuals at short intervals, always just skimming the tops of the long ground-swells, apparently in search of food. When about two and one half miles off shore, we changed our course and sailed parallel with the beach; almost imperceptibly the Petrels became more numerous. We would see a pair flying in company, or a small flock of six or eight scattered in an irregular but following manner. Sometimes one or two would rest for a moment on the water, floating buoyantly, like a tossing cork. Where the ebbing tide made slick, greasy looking streaks on the water, and also in eddies where drift and floatage gathered, these birds seemed most fond of congregating, evidently for the particles of food they there found. We remained on the ocean about three hours, when the gathering wind and clouds warned us to return to the more quiet waters of the bay. While the wind was light the Petrels were quite shy and would rarely come within gunshot, but as the breeze became stronger and the water rougher, they seemed to lose their fear of our boat and we could sail within gunshot without difficulty. Six specimens were secured, all proving to be of this species. Many more could have been shot, but unfortunately we were without a landing-net and so could not recover them. While returning to the beach we saw them in gradually lessening numbers, the last one being just inside the mouth of the inlet. While feeding, their movements were extremely graceful. On finding floating matter they would hover over it, dropping their feet to the water and apparently patting it, and, with partially extended wings, bend their necks so that their bills would point downwards at a right angle to the body. During the early part of August, Petrels were common at the entrance to Long Island Sound, as per report of Basil Hicks Dutcher; the only one he secured was of this species. That they sometimes wander westward through the Sound is established by the record made by Robert B. Lawrence, of one taken near Sands Point, Queens Co., August 7, 1881

Willow Flycatcher Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 17 July 2021 Deborah Allen

Great Egret in Infra-red Black-and-white digital


Editor: While woodcock shooting on August 2, 1885, at Flushing [Queens], Long Island, N. Y., a turkey buzzard (C. aura) flew over me, with the graceful motion characteristic of that bird. I tried him with No. 8 shot, but the small loads were powerless and the only effect was to make him soar somewhat higher. I have never before seen the bird on Long Island, though stragglers have frequently been reported. I have in my collection a specimen of the black vulture (C. atratus) killed at Sandy Hook some years ago.



American Egrets in New York City [1916]

By CLARK L. LEWIS, JR., New York City

LAST summer (1916) three beautiful American Egrets (Herodias egretta) made their appearance in Van Cortlandt Park, New York City. They were reported to have arrived on July 16. As the neighborhood appealed to them, they settled down in the vicinity of the pond, at the southern-most extremity of the Park, and remained for a number of weeks. The birds finally disappeared, one by one, the first to leave quitting the Park sometime around August 10, the next, a few days later, and the remaining Egret on October 10. Their roosts were located somewhere in the northern part of the Park woodlands, just where I do not know. At the approach of dusk the Egrets would rise into the air and fly northward. Their flight was slow and graceful, and often I would watch them until they were lost from sight in the darkening horizon. Every morning found them back at the pond where they spent the long summer days, feeding upon small fish, insects, and other forms of Heron food.

The neighborhood of the pond seemed far too civilized and noisy to warrant any length of stay for these birds, whose habitual haunts are semi-tropical swamps and marshes. The pond is bordered on the north by a much-used automobile road-way, on the east by a branch line of the New York Central Rail Road, on the west by Broadway with its noise of passing vehicles, Subway trains, trolley cars and never-ceasing crowds of pedestrians, and on the south by a small strip of land which boasted of a few trees and wild vegetation. Tall grass formed a border around the pond. The water was practically open and thus afforded the Egrets plenty of room to move about.

However, this change of atmosphere and surroundings did not seem to trouble these beautiful white creatures, but made them rather unsuspecting and fearless. Excellent observations of the birds, some as close as eight to ten feet, were obtained. On September 9 I took several photographs of the remaining bird. The one shown here gives a characteristic pose.

[To one who has known the Egret when every man's hand was raised against it, and nearly every woman's head bore the aigrette plumes which gave eloquent, if silent, testimony to her heartlessness, it is as surprising as it is pleasing to observe that under proper protection this beautiful bird may again become a part of our lives.

In a vain effort to rob it of protection in New York, the milliners' agents claimed that the Egret did not belong to the fauna of that state, but the photograph and observations of Mr. Lewis are welcome evidence to the contrary.

male Common Yellowthroat Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 17 July 2021 Deborah Allen

Locust Borer Beetle on Goldenrod

July 2, 2008

A house wren is constructing a nest in a pair of sneakers hanging from the power lines at the Conference House parking lot. He was bringing in nesting materials, and singing as he stood on the toe of the sneak.

Seth Wollney


The Cedar Waxwing [2017] From: Noriko Koyanagi To: Robert DeCandido PhD <> Subject: Cedar Waxwings Date: 7 March 2017 Dear MR Bob Thank you for your polite reply! I could understand about Cedar Waxwings in NY. They come to Japan in migration in this season and come to have seeds in definite area. We can watch them in Shownandaira in Kanagawa in Japan. So I asked a question to you in their living place. More than 1000 birders come to gather. Do you believe it? It’s true. Cedar Waxwing are separated from the colors of their tails. Red tails are called Hirenjyaku and Yellow ones are kirenjyalu in Japan. Hi means red and Ki means yellow. I’m looking forward to seeing again next time in Central Park. Masaru Koyanagi ====================

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

Yellow Warbler Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 20 July 2021 Deborah Allen


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