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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

May Birds

During the month of May I added 60 more species to my year list, bringing the total to 222. Twelve of those bird species were found outside of the borough of Brooklyn. With 7 months left of 2010, I am now just 10 species away from last year's Brooklyn total.

I spent the Memorial Day weekend visiting family in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Thinking my month list was finished, I began writing this posting before I left. At 2am on Saturday morning, however, I was awakened by the whinnying of a screech owl outside my bedroom window. During the day, I also discovered an Alder Flycatcher singing non-stop a short distance from the house. I continued to hear his rolling "fee-bee-o" call throughout the weekend. It would have been nice to have found these two species in Brooklyn, but I really can't complain since I usually don't encounter them in New York State every year.

Thirty-one of the month's new birds were found in Prospect Park. I started the month off with 8 species in my local park, but the highest increase occurred on May 10th, during our annual Big Day.

On Monday, May 10th, Doug, Heydi, Shane and I birded from 4am until 8pm. We tried to stay within the confines of Brooklyn, but did spend a short time within the Queens section of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and the ocean front at Fort Tilden. During the 16 hour birding marathon we covered habitats at
Bergen Beach, Caesar's Bay, Coney Island Pier, Floyd Bennett Field, Fort Tilden, Greenwood Cemetery, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Paerdegat Basin, Plum Beach and Prospect Park. By the end of the day I had added 24 more species to my New York year list. The highlight for me was watching a Barn Owl hunting over the marsh at Paedegat Basin at 4 o'clock in the morning.

The weekend of the 15th and 16th appeared to be the climax of the migration with 93 species tallied in Prospect Park. Of those species, 6 were new for the year. That same weekend Heydi, Paige and I observed a Bicknell's Thrush on Lookout Hill. It was the second one for me in a week. These rare thrushes are notoriously difficult to separate from the similar Gray-cheeked Thrush, but as with my first sighting, we were able to confirm the ID with the use of a recording. The three of us were shocked when the thrush responded by both calling and singing after we played a few seconds of its song off of an iPhone. Here is a video of that encounter (camera wasn't rolling for the singing, but you can here it calling very clearly):

On May 22nd, Heydi and I joined a Linnaean Society trip up to Doodletown, near Bear Mountain. A good number of warblers and other neo-tropic songbirds breed within that section of Harriman State Park. Our target species were Golden-winged Warbler and Cerulean Warbler. Both of these species have experienced large drops in their population and are on Audubon's Watchlist. We found lots of ceruleans, but were unable to locate any golden-wings.

In all respects, it was a great month for birding and over the next month I look forward to spending more time keeping tabs on Brooklyn's soon-to-fledge Red-tailed Hawks.

163) Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
164) Great Crested Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
165) Warbling Vireo (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
166) Veery (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
167) Tennessee Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
168) Magnolia Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
169) Blackburnian Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)
170) Indigo Bunting (Prospect Park, 05/01/10)

171) Snowy Egret (Dreier-Offerman Park, 05/02/10)
172) Spotted Sandpiper (Dreier-Offerman Park, 05/02/10)
173) Common Tern (Dreier-Offerman Park, 05/02/10)
174) Blackpoll Warbler (Shore Road Park, 05/02/10)
175) Orchard Oriole (Dreier-Offerman Park, 05/02/10)

176) Whip-poor-will (Prospect Park, 05/04/10)
177) Red-eyed Vireo (Prospect Park, 05/04/10)
178) Prothonotary Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/04/10)

179) Eastern Wood-Pewee (Prospect Park, 05/06/10)
180) Swainson's Thrush (Prospect Park, 05/06/10)
181) Chestnut-sided Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/06/10)

182) Gray-cheeked Thrush (Prospect Park, 05/08/10)
183) Bay-breasted Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/08/10)

184) Blue-winged Teal (Bergen Beach, 05/10/10)
185) Little Blue Heron (Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 05/10/10)
186) Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Bergen Beach, 05/10/10)
187) Clapper Rail (Paerdegat Basin, 05/10/10)
188) Virginia Rail (Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 05/10/10)
189) Piping Plover (Fort Tilden, 05/10/10)
190) Solitary Sandpiper (Bergen Beach, 05/10/10)
191) Willet (Plum Beach, 05/10/10)
192) Lesser Yellowlegs (Bergen Beach, 05/10/10)
193) Semipalmated Sandpiper (Bergen Beach, 05/10/10)
194) Least Sandpiper (Plum Beach, 05/10/10)
195) Dunlin (Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 05/10/10)
196) Least Tern (Plum Beach, 05/10/10)
197) Gull-billed Tern (Fort Tilden, 05/10/10)
198) Forster's Tern (Plum Beach, 05/10/10)
199) Black Skimmer (Plum Beach, 05/10/10)
200) Barn Owl (Paerdegat Basin, 05/10/10)
201) White-eyed Vireo (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/10/10)
202) Yellow-throated Vireo (Prospect Park, 05/10/10)
203) Bank Swallow (Prospect Park, 05/10/10)
204) Cliff Swallow (Prospect Park, 05/10/10)
205) Marsh Wren (Bergen Beach, 05/10/10)
206) Wilson's Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/10/10)
207) Canada Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/10/10)

208) Bicknell's Thrush (Prospect Park, 05/12/10)
209) Cape May Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/12/10)

210) Willow Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/14/10)
211) Mourning Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/14/10)

212) Least Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/15/10)
213) Lincoln's Sparrow (Prospect Park, 05/15/10)
214) Black-billed Cuckoo (Prospect Park, 05/16/10)
215) Olive-sided Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/16/10)
216) Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/16/10)
217) Acadian Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/16/10)

218) Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Doodletown Road, 05/22/10)
219) Pileated Woodpecker (Doodletown Road, 05/22/10)
220) Cerulean Warbler (Doodletown Road, 05/22/10)

221) Eastern Screech-Owl (Windham, 05/30/10)
222) Alder Flycatcher (Windham, 05/30/10)

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