Check out City Birder Tours, and Green-Wood sponsored tours on their calendar pages here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

More Migrants plus Hawk Updates

The past week's big push of migrant songbirds continued through the weekend with a few nice arrivals seen. In addition, at least two of the Red-tailed Hawk nests appear to have hatchlings.

After our April 25th fallout of warblers in Prospect Park, I was curious how the rest of the week would play out. Would the songbird migration slow to a drizzle of new birds or would we continue to see an early stream of frenetic passerines moving north? I pedaled into the park on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to check things out. What I found was that there were still a lot of birds around, but not the rarities that surprised birders from the previous weekend.

Maple trees are dropping their flowers at around the same time that oaks are sprouting their mustard-colored, dangling catkins. Birds that had been previously monopolizing the maple canopy have moved over to the oaks. It was interesting to see that both warblers (insectivores) and sparrows (seed eaters) were finding the oaks a great source for food. At times I was a little confused when scanning a flock of warblers in the top of a massive oak and came across an unrecognizable warbler that actually turned out to be a White-throated Sparrow.

One of the highlights of the week for me occurred on Tuesday. I was birding with my friend Heydi and we had already seen a great mix of warblers and other birds that morning. We were walking the bridle path parallel to the Ravine and had just passed below the Nethermead Arches. At a narrow opening in the underbrush Heydi spotted a Worm-eating Warbler foraging in a small shrub at the edge of the water. The bird cautiously approached the stream then decided to take a bath in the slow moving, shallow water. We watched this normally hard-to-see warbler for about 5 minutes splashing in the water. I shot a short video through my binoculars which came out better than I expected.

Another great find was of a Cape May Warbler. These warblers are normally found foraging high in the treetops. We lucked out, though, and found this bird in the lower branches of a European Chokecherry. He actually reminded me more of a honeycreeper than a wood-warbler as he appeared to be probing inside the flowers for nectar. To be clear, it just looked that way as I'm sure he was finding lots of tiny insects within the blossoms.

At Nelly's Lawn, Nelly and Max appear to have at least one hatchling in the nest. I watched intently as Nelly pulled small pieces of food from a squirrel then gently dipped down into the base of the nest. From the west side of the nest I could make out one small, white patch of fuzz. In a week any chicks should be large enough that I'll be able to photograph them from the east side of the tree. Alice was on the nest in the Ravine, sitting still in the heat. I could not see any signs of chicks, but that doesn't mean none are present, just that I need to be more patient. Marge reported that she saw Big Mama acting as if she was tending to chicks in the bottom of the Green-Wood Cemetery nest. That nest is huge, so it may be a little longer until the chicks are large enough to be seen.

From April 25th through May 2nd I tallied 31 new species for my year list. I expect that over the next week that will probably double again:

1) Green Heron
2) Osprey
3) Spotted Sandpiper
4) Great Crested Flycatcher
5) Eastern Kingbird
6) Yellow-throated Vireo
7) Warbling Vireo
8) Red-eyed Vireo
9) Northern Rough-winged Swallow
10) Veery
11) Wood Thrush
12) Blue-winged Warbler
13) Nashville Warbler
14) Northern Parula
15) Chestnut-sided Warbler
16) Magnolia Warbler
17) Cape May Warbler
18) Black-throated Blue Warbler
19) Black-throated Green Warbler
20) Townsend's Warbler
21) Blackburnian Warbler
22) Blackpoll Warbler
23) Worm-eating Warbler
24) Ovenbird
25) Common Yellowthroat
26) Hooded Warbler
27) Scarlet Tanager
28) Rose-breasted Grosbeak
29) Indigo Bunting
30) Orchard Oriole
31) Baltimore Oriole


dAwN said...

Awesome birding!
Is this early for all these migrants?
Last year we were in Central Park mid may...migration was booming..warblers all over the place..
We will be in NYC again mid may..I am hoping for a good birdie turnout.

Pamela said...

Whoever named the Worm-eating Warbler was not very romantic. Why not Zebra warbler, or Pin-Striped Warbler. Worm Eating! That is just not right. (:
(Now Cape May warbler is rather beautiful. I think a few have been seen in our area. But I don't think I've heard anyone mention the worm eater. Poor thing)

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope