Date: 3/30/18 5:21 pm
From: Thomas Fiore <tomfi2...>
Subject: [nysbirds-l] Central Park, NYC 3/28-29-30 (American Bittern, lots more arrivals)
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 28-29-30 March, 2018
Central Park, Manhattan, N.Y. City

A decent day on Wednesday (3/28) - for Ardeidae anyhow, in Central Park - where a modest flight of Great Blue Herons took place between first-light & around 8 a.m. - totaling 12 birds of that species, all moving across & over the north end of the park, & exiting to the N/NE. It’s a fairly good count, for just 2 hrs. or so, & for the location. Much later in the day it seemed, the Great Egrets followed, albeit in far lower number - these were found in up to 4 locations, but it was not certain that all 4 sightings were separate individuals - locations were from The Pond, in the SE part of the park (where none were noted by me in mid-morn’), Turtle Pond, the Lake, & the Meer (later). Finally and not too unexpectedly given the preceding, at near-dusk on Wed. evening, at least 6 Black-crowned Night-Herons snuck in to locations that can be typical for them, at the Lake, Pond, & the last-seen at nearly 8 p.m., at the Meer. In other Wed. birding, it seemed that [Red] Fox Sparrows may have been on the move, with a few in scattered small parks-greenspaces where I am not usually aware of any (midtown & Upper E. Side in Manhattan) as well as a very limited number in Central, some of those singing right thru mid-day.
Thursday (3/29) saw fog & drizzles, but there was a good amount of migration in the early hours of Wed. night, however, a lot went straight through, & it seemed from Thursday’s park-wander (a typical walk taking in the north, middle, & southern parts of Central Park, with a stop at the reservoir) that a number of birds had also lifted off & moved on from the park, northbound now… numbers of Robins, White-throated Sparrows, and some other species all down. The E. Phoebes (in sparse no’s.) that were present on Mon., 3/26 (tip ‘o’ the hat to Alan Messer) around the Ramble & Lake seemed to have already mainly moved on by Tuesday. Even a find of one Phoebe had been cause for more excitement; it’s been slim-pickings, in a lot of hyperlocal migrant-watch in Manhattan, but birds are & have been moving, esp. on any nights without fierce northerly winds, as was so in the prior weeks. At least 40 Cedar Waxwings (probably a few more than) were still visiting the area both in & outside the Conservatory Garden’s west fence, adjacent with the English (south) garden. I did not come up with any Hermit Thrush on Thurs., although easily could have missed a few if there were some; [Red[ Fox Sparrows were in a few more-concentrated patches, in the Ramble (esp.) and also in a few spots in the N. end. Not tough to notice were the at least 250 N. Shovelers, mostly on the east half of the reservoir (which is now sharply delineated by the highly-exposed dividing dike that runs between the old pumping stations). Also at the reservoir were lingering Am. Coots (and 1 at the Pond was lingering too), over a dozen Bufflehead, and only about 40 Ruddy Duck. The gulls were not in great numbers Thurs. morning, & included the 3 typical “winter” species of the region: Ring-billed, [American] Herring, & Great Black-backed. N.B. - many of the Shovelers appeared to be taking flight, possibly moving on, as the morning progressed on Thurs. - a lot of other waterfowl may have already moved on, yet additional movement will likely be detected in coming days here.

- - -
Good Friday, 30 March - A much stronger pulse of migrants made it thru ahead of the showers that moved in late Thursday night (rain came past N.Y. City from the west Fri. early a.m.) - and while a lot again managed to make it past N.Y.C., a good many birds set down too - as a light band of showers moved across the region in the pre-dawn hour - the “magic” hour, sometimes.

A number of likely first-of-year sightings for Central, & a fresh reinforcement of some species that had already shown up in lesser numbers before this day. Freshly-arrived migrants were being seen in almost any & all green-spaces around Manhattan (& of course, beyond), with nice migrant sightings in Manhattan from one end of the island to the other & points east & west.

One big (& well-seen) bird of the day for Central Park was an AMERICAN BITTERN, which was found by Michael Waldron in the Ramble; while not entirely unexpected, these birds are not at all common as 'drop-ins' to Central. Thanks for that discovery! And thanks to a flow of air from the S/SW thru much of the day, a small number of diurnal migrants were also passing, such as Osprey, Tree Swallows, and small numbers of icterids still moving into mid-day (as seen going north out of the north end of the park by nearly noon).

Friday, 30 March - all in or over Central Park - (I was out from first-light to around 3, w/ very short time-out; all areas in park looked in, less-so at the Ramble, which however plenty of other birders covered, & good chance more was seen as the day progressed! I made brief forays into other places, while some birders put in real time in a variety of green-spaces in Manhattan. one example of species I noted from outside the park: Turkey Vulture - but just as likely some were seen from within C.P. as well.)

Pied-billed Grebe (1, reservoir - seen e. of dike in a.m.)
Double-crested Cormorant (multiple, including some fly-overs)
AMERICAN BITTERN (1, photographed, and found by Michael Waldron in the Ramble)
Great Blue Heron (at least 2 in park)
Great Egret (hunkered in at Lake, early a.m.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (adult, semi-hidden on Meer island)

Canada Goose (not too many lingering)
Wood Duck (The Pond)
Gadwall (few pairs, several locations)
American Black Duck (modest no’s. on various water-bodies)
Mallard (common)
Northern Shoveler (at least 160 on reservoir, a lot less than on early Thursday morning)
Bufflehead (20+ on reservoir)
Hooded Merganser (pair on reservoir, south edge just west of S. pumping station, a.m.)
Ruddy Duck (reservoir & Meer; a lot are now coming into spring colors)

OSPREY(at least 2 thru about 2 p.m. - north-bound)
Cooper's Hawk (one non-adult flying low past Great Lawn / Turtle Pond, a.m.)
Red-tailed Hawk (regulars, plenty of nest &/or play-nest activity in lots of places surrounding the park, seen very often in the park)
American Kestrel (urban nesters, scattered locations, a regular sight in many parts of the park)
Peregrine Falcon (urban nesters, scattered locations, irregular sight from any parts of the park)
American Coot (1 lingering at The Pond, & others at reservoir)
Ring-billed Gull
[American] Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
['feral'] Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove (fairly common)
Belted Kingfisher (minimum of 2, female & male, several locations, which could be just 2, or perhaps more than 2 individual arrivals)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (resident regulars)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (fair influx of fresh arrivals, park-wide)
Downy Woodpecker (resident regulars, also some hint of a few migrators - or 'local movers')
Yellow-shafted Flicker (modest fresh influx, most evident in parts of the n. end, which is typical of this species in spring movement here)
Eastern Phoebe (fairly modest influx, but certainly more than previous weeks)
Blue Jay (fairly common, some movement, but mainly still those that wintered)
American Crow (regular, few noted by me this Friday)
Tree Swallow (several flyovers as seen from North Meadow area, mid-day, not low & not noted at the Meer in subsequent passes there)
Black-capped Chickadee (uncommon, even almost scarce still this spring & all of the winter)
Tufted Titmouse (not very common this spring, so far, also not too common over the winter)
White-breasted Nuthatch (regulars, have been courting, & perhaps a few local-movers now)
Brown Creeper (modest no’s. given the influx of other early-season migrants)
Carolina Wren (scarce so far)
Winter Wren (several in n. end, 1 noted at s. end next to Hallett Sanctuary)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (50+++ thru all of park; examples of these: the 20+ just in the vicinity of the stream near West 77 Street, in a.m. - and also many all thru Strawberry Fields in a.m.)
Hermit Thrush (modest no’s., but a small fresh influx, from s. end thru n. end)
American Robin (1,000+ thru all of park; Anders Peltomaa told me he counted well over 400 on Great Lawn; also concentrations in north end, fewer on Sheep Meadow in early a.m.)
Northern Mockingbird (fairly common, in select spots)
Brown Thrasher (one seen singing, high in tree near n. side of Hallett Sanctuary, early a.m.)
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing (few noted by me, this Friday, had been regular in n. end, up to Thurs. 3/29)
Pine Warbler (at least several - Falconer’s Hill, very early, & at N. end, Great Hill, etc. - some singing, all seen were males)
Palm Warbler (minimum of 5 seen away from Ramble - N. end, & also Falconer’s Hill very early, + word-of-mouth report from Anders Peltomaa for the Ramble; those I saw all of “yellow” form)
Eastern Towhee (male, perhaps one that had been seen in area previously, SE of Bow Bridge / Bethesda Fountain)
Field Sparrow (at least 1, with many Songs at edge of Sheep Meadow, e. edge near the trees)
Chipping Sparrow (very small number, First-of-Season in Central - Great Hill, compost area, Great Lawn n. end, etc.)
Savannah Sparrow (one with a very large Junco & Song Sparrow flock, Great Hill’s n. side)
[Red] Fox Sparrow (perhaps a light new arrival, but a dozen+ had already been in park this week)
Song Sparrow (100’s of fresh arrivals, park-wide)
Swamp Sparrow (few, some in brighter plumage, some not so much yet)
White-throated Sparrow (still moderate numbers, many singing)
Slate-colored Junco (400++ throughout the park, a few flocks contained 60++ in one view; mixing with migrant sparrows)
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird (in breeding color, Loch)
Common Grackle (multiple)
Brown-headed Cowbird (few, those seen all males)
House Finch (scattered groups)
American Goldfinch (still in very modest numbers)
House Sparrow (ubiquitous & too-often pestilential)

Very likely at least a few additional species were on the move, in & around Manhattan (& beyond, of course).
On the Carolina Parakeet, <>
also see: the World Parrot Trust .org

A joyous Pesach (Passover) to those celebrating, also a joyous Easter this Sunday - and to all, enjoy the brightening time of early spring.

Thanks to all those who quietly & courteously seek birds and offer help in doing so; I shall next report sightings from the NYC area in May, going away to see some other-side-of-world birds again, following succesful trips to see and survey wildlife, birds in particular, in Sierra Leone (W. Africa) in Jan. and in n. Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in mid-March. In each of those trips, birds still little-known to science were found, with the direction of local & specialist guides & others along for these small adventures.

Tom Fiore


NYSbirds-L List Info:


Please submit your observations to eBird:

Join us on Facebook!