I have known about the spring migration through there for many years but not until this spring did I have chance to go. Not that all went well as the chap who was to guide me Saturday and Sunday was ill, which ruled out the visit to Jamaica Bay, plus it was the worst spring migration for at least two decades according to local birders as prolonged easterlies had driven the passerines, warblers in the main, further west and instead of anywhere between 15 and 25 of them per day, there were 5 to 7, which is not a lot. Neverthless, I was not unhappy, enjoyed myself and saw some good birds as you will see.
Iberia (big bird Airbus 340, all flights on time!) on 2 May and arrived in New York the same evening after a very long day, it always is going west which is infinitely preferable to the easterly return flight which always has a more shattering effect on the system for me, especially as I had to stage through Boston. For convenience, I had arranged to stay in an hotel on West 72nd right by the park, not cheap (it cost more than the flight for the four nights!) but comfortable and I slept well every night, got up early, breakfasted and was in the park by 07.30 each morning, including the last.
So, I spent all three days and a couple of hours the final morning in the park, with a side visit to the American Museum of Natural History on the West Side by the park to see a special and very good exhibition on whales, with all written information in English and Maori (not on my list of languages) as it was in cooperation with the New Zealanders and Pacific islands.
|Strawberry Fields for ever|
|Azalea Pond area in The Ramble|
|in The Ramble|
|searching for a Prairie Warbler|
|House Sparrow at nest|
|House Sparrows dust bathing|
One of the species that I particularly liked was the White-throated Sparrow, an unassuming little bird which at times stood out incredibly well in dark shadow while they scratted around in the undergrowth.
|three White-throated Sparrows|
Also quite numerous and certainly the most frequent are the Red-bellied Woodpeckers and I saw several pairs and saw 2 pairs excavating holes in old tree trunks. There are other woodpecker species in the park, all rather scarcer, notably Hairy, Downy and Flicker, each of which I saw on less than four occasions.
|three Red-bellied Woodpeckers|
|Hairy Woodpecker, male|
|2 Yellow-rumped Warblers|
|male Common Grackle|
|(l-r) male Red-winged Blackbird, male Common Grackle, American Robin (too close), stern of a female Grackle|
|female/young male Baltimore Oriole|
|Great Northern Diver / Common Loon|
|Great White Heron/Egret or White Egret (USA)|
|2 Grey Squirrels|
Trip list (blue means new species)
Great Northern Diver, Double-crested Cormorant, Great White Heron, Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Nightheron, Canada Goose, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, American Herring Gull, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Barn Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, House Wren, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Veery, American Robin, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay, American Crow, European Starling, White-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow,.
T = 49 species (12 new)
Not bad, is it, and all in one lovely, lovely park to then return to the reality of life on night 6-7 May, jet-lagged out of my mind (not difficult) and to find a Broad-billed Sandpiper first found by Blas López at the Guadalhorce! It's a hard life being a birder .......