Sunday, September 28, 2014

Croton Point Park - 28th Sept.

My first visit to a great site on the Hudson, about half an hour's drive north of my house. The site is a small peninsula extending southwards into the Hudson. It has a variety of habitats including mature trees, extensive reedbeds and open grassland. It is the only place in Westchester that has breeding Grasshopper Sparrow, and hosts a wide variety of birds at various times of year.

For a first visit the birding was modest, but with promise. The commonest warbler in the woodland was Black-and-white Warbler, with Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. Other birds included Scarlet Tanager, Blue-headed Vireo, Carolina Wren, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, White-throated Sparrow dozens of Cedar Waxwing and several Eastern Phoebes.

The grassland was good too, with quite a few Savannah Sparrows, more Eastern Phoebes, a lone American Kestrel and a cracking Palm Warbler just as I left.

Palm Warbler. This looks like the eastern race D. p. hypochrysea. Uniformly yellow underparts and in face.
Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Black-and-white Warbler.
Blue-headed Vireo.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Savannah Sparrow.
Carolina Wren.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Garden birding - 27th Sept.

Only 30 minutes drive from downtown Manhattan, our house is in a very green and wooded area of new York state. Our garden list is already quite respectable, and I've decided to be keep a series of different kinds of bird feeders filled throughout the autumn and winter.

My first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of autumn, and the first in my garden.
Tufted Titmouse at the bird table
White-breasted Nuthatch. At least 2 birds coming regularly.
Black-capped Chickadee, possibly the most numerous visitor to the feeders.
Song Sparrow.

Central Park - 27th Sept.

With terrible weather during the week on my day off, and no birding last weekend I decided to try an maximise my chances of good warblers in what remains of the autumn migration season by birding Central Park. It was just unfortunate that this was the day that the Global Citizen Festival was also to be held in CP. And the sound check started at 9:10am. Wow.

The birding itself had been pretty good up until that point however. At dawn I found myself on the northern edge of the Sheep Meadow surrounded by a flock of Eastern Towhees, Brown Thrashers, Eastern Wood-Pewee and a couple of Prairie Warblers. I took this as a good omen and proceeded to the Ramble. A fair amount there including numerous Magnolia Warblers, a couple of Northern Parula, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Thrasher, Scarlet Tanager, White-throated Sparrow and several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

At about this time the sound check for the concert started up, so I retreated to the Strawberry Fields area which was very nice. As well as several more Magnolia Warblers and Northern Parula, there were also a Black-and-white Warbler, 2 American Redstart, 2 more Brown Thrashers and a female Canada Warbler.

Brown Thrasher. Loads about today. Very smart bird.
Female Northern Parula.
Female Magnolia Warbler. A real feature of today was the numbers of this species almost everywhere.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

West Pond, Jamaica Bay - 14th September

A beautifully clear and sunny day, with strongish breezes to start which brought the temperature right down. I planned to look for shorebirds at Jamaica Bay, and decided to bird the West Pond first as the high tide wasn't due until 1:00pm. Several migrants visible early on, with a couple of American Redstarts and a Brown Thrasher. A small warbler popped in, at first I thought it might be Tennessee which has been reported from several sites recently, but it turned out to be a female Prairie Warbler. Elsewhere in the area the fruiting trees were attracting dozens of Cedar Waxwings, as well as another Brown Thrasher and a very confiding White-eyed Vireo.

Down by the end of the accessible path a Northern Harrier gave me a few brief, but amazingly close flyby.

When I eventually did get to the East Pond there were very few birds about, and almost no waders. No matter, it had been a pleasant morning nevertheless.

Female Prairie Warbler.

White-eyed Vireo.
Female American Redstart.
House Finch.
Vein White, Pieris napi.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Marshlands Conservancy - 13th September

A nice day at Marshland Conservancy, but with not much in the way of migrants. The only warblers on show were a large number of Common Yellowthroat, and a couple of Black-and-White Warbler. A Red-shouldered Hawk was a nice surprise though.

Wild Turkey. Quite a surprise to find these so close to a major city. I had imagined they'd be vulnerable to harassment by dogs and similar, but here they are.
Great Blue Heron.
White-breasted Nuthatch. I just love nuthatches!

Red-shouldered Kite. A very poor shot, included as it shows the pale crescent on the upper primaries which is the key identification feature of this migrant.
Male White-tailed Deer. Lots of these today. I must have seen 20 in total, some of them very tame indeed.