Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lapland Longspur on Randall's Island - 31st Jan

While waiting for Conor to finish his football training session on Randall's Island today I took a quick tour around the island looking for whatever I could find. Almost the first bird I looked at was a stonking Lapland Longspur sitting on a fire hydrant! It was flushed soon after by a couple of joggers, but I relocated it, and it was fantastically confiding. It didn't let me get too close, it's trigger distance seemed to be about 10 metres, but it was very happy if I stayed beyond that range.

Edit 2nd Feb: This turns out to be a much rarer bird than I expected. This is the first 'on-land' record in New York County (Manhattan) for over 50 years! Odd as they are basically annual at Floyd Bennett Field in Queens...

What a bird!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wilson's Warbler in Central Park - 7th Jan

Another Central Park foray, this time to pick up on a couple of over-wintering warblers. The first was a gorgeous little Wilson's Warbler on the Great Hill, in the section known as the eastern blowdown meadow. I found this very quickly, and it was extremely obliging, causing me to move back several times in order to get it in focus.

Next stop was a mile or so south, between The Met and the 79th st traverse where a rather drab Orange-crowned Warbler has been hanging out. This was much trickier, giving only brief views after about an hour of waiting around. I shall have to try again tomorrow.

Apart from that the best bird was a juvenile Cooper's Hawk having a staring competition with a squirrel

Female/ first year Wilson's Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

A bit of a stand-off. I must admit I wouldn't take on a Central Park squirrel without heavy gloves so I know where my money would be here...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Continuing Great Horned Owl, Central Park - 6th Jan

School is back in session, which means early morning birding in Central Park. I made sure on this first foray of the year that I caught up with an old favourite, the Great Horned Owl which has continued to roost near the feeders in The Ramble.

Other nice birds included a very posey Red-tailed Hawk, and lots and lots of White-breasted Nuthatch.

Great Horned Owl

Red-tailed Hawk

Monday, January 4, 2016

Clay-coloured Sparrow at Corona Park - 4th Jan

My first day of birding for 2016 so I headed off to Flushing Meadow Corona Park for the rare sparrows. I got on to the flock of Dark-eyed Juncos that have been hanging around the Meditation Garden. One of the first birds I spotted was the Clay-coloured Sparrow, my major target. The Lark Sparrow turned up after a while, followed by one of the Pine Warblers. Sorted!

Clay-coloured Sparrow 
Lark Sparrow

At one point both rare sparrows posed together.