Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chuck Will's Widow in Bryant Park - 14th April

Late last week a Chuck-Will's-Widow was reported from Bryant Park in Manhattan. This is a tiny park, entirely landscaped and very busy, so finding good birds here seems unlikely. It has turned up a succession of crackers though, with this nightjar being the latest.

Chuck Will's Widow. The key features separating this from Whip-Poor-Will are the relatively large head, and long wings, almost reaching to the tail-tip.

The wings here seen crossing over each other, apparently a key feature. Whip-Poor-Will's wings are somewhat shorter, and do not cross over.

Female Northern Cardinal on a nest
Male Purple Finch at the feeders

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Crested Carcara in Orange County, NY - 12th April

A Crested Caracara was reported from Montgomery in Orange County earlier in the week, but my first opportunity to go for it was Sunday morning. It had been feeding on a dead Opossum on a golf course, and true to its scavenging nature it was still within a few yards of the carcass early on Sunday.

The range of this species within the US has historically been confined mainly to southern parts of Texas, California, Arizona and Florida. In recent years they have been seen with some regularity much further afield, including many records from the north-eastern US. 

No signs of jesses, rings or feather damage, so not obviously an escaped bird...
...however... A closer look reveals that while its right eye is fine...
 ...the left eye is missing. There is a suggestion that a bird seen in Cape Cod in April was also missing its left eye, and was therefore presumably the same bird. In any raptor other than a scavenger this would be a death sentence, and a sure sign of an escapee. Not sure what to think now.

The dead Opossum is a big factor in keeping this bird in the same spot for a few days.

Once the main group of twitchers arrived it kept away from the carrion, making only one close pass, presumably just to check out the situation.

ebird records of Crested Caracara in the US for the past 10 years.

Two Pileated Woodpeckers flew over while we were at the Caracara.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Central Park - 10th April

A grotty day in Central Park, with low cloud cover and a fairly constant misty drizzle early on. The birds were similarly subdued, with only Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Eastern Towhee as new arrivals. Other migrants included Pine Warbler in The Ramble and on the Great Lawn, more Eastern Phoebe, and huge numbers of American Robins. 135 of the latter counted in a single 90 degree scan from one spot on the Great Lawn.

Eastern Towhee

At least 2 Chipping Sparrow at the feeders.
Several Brown Creepers today
Another Pine Warbler, this time near the feeders.
The Common Loon persists on the reservoir...
...Where a pair of Wood Duck are very obliging.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pine Warblers in Central Park - 7th April

At least 4 Pine Warblers near the Great Lawn today, along with 2 Palm Warblers. Elsewhere in the park was a Great White Egret on Turtle Pond, singles of Common Loon and Laughing Gull on the reservoir, Swamp Sparrows, Eastern Phoebe and Brown Thrasher in the North Woods.

The Pine Warblers were feeding on the grass, initially in company with a pair of Palm Warblers.

A slightly duller individual

Brown Thrasher

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Marshlands - 5th April

My first visit to Marshlands since the snow melted. Plenty of evidence of spring including; displaying Wild Turkey, Red-winged Blackbird and Hairy Woodpecker, nest-building by many species including Osprey, and newly arrived migrants such as Tree Swallow and Eastern Phoebe.

Male Wild Turkeys really are the most ridiculous birds. 32 in total around the feeders today.
Red-winged Blackbird
These two female Hairy Woodpeckers were chasing each other around a tree...

...while this male was just pootling along, minding his business.

More Eastern Phoebe. Not sure they'll be appearing again in this blog!
Black-capped Chickadee posing nicely near the feeders.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Yellow-throated Warbler at Valley Stream State Park - 4th April

A Yellow-throated Warbler was reported from Valley Stream State Park on Monday. I had no luck on a grey at damp Good Friday, but Saturday was much brighter, and the conditions clearly suited the little stunner as it was out an highly active.

There were plenty of other migrants about, notably Eastern Phoebe, dozens of Northern Flickers, and literally hundreds of Golden-crowned Kinglets.

The yellow supralorals indicate this is of the eastern race S. d. dominica.

Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Central Park - 2 April

The first truly spring-like day of the year. I spent a couple of hours wandering on my becoming-regular route that starts at the northeast tip of the reservoir near 96th st, takes me around the reservoir anti-clockwise to the Pinetum, then down to Turtle Pond and then to The Ramble. A few spring migrants have arrived, most notably Eastern Phoebe, Hermit Thrush and Great White Egret.

There were a few winter birds still around. On the reservoir these included a fabulous breeding plumage Common Loon, several Buffleheads, Hooded Merganser and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser.

The feeders in the Ramble still had a few Fox Sparrows, along with the usual crop of Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Goldfinch and others. It was a good woodpecker day, with Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flickr, Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker all active.

Common Loon, on the reservoir.
Hooded Merganser, a few still present.

The first two Great White Egrets of spring today, on the Turtle Pond.
Hairy Woodpecker.
Hermit Thrush have been in for a few days. This was on Tuesday 31st March.
Eastern Phoebe.

This amazingly confiding Racoon was climbing down a tree on the east side of the reservoir at about 11:00. It ignored (and was completely ignored by) the approximately 30 runners and other denizens of Central Park that passed it as it descended.