Tuesday, June 04, 2013

May Birds

It shouldn't be a surprise that the month of May saw my greatest increase in year species. Despite weather conditions that created a shortened migration season with spotty periods of North-bound migrants around New York City, I managed to add 48 new species, bringing my Brooklyn total for this year to 216.

Most birders, myself included, were really concerned by the delayed migration and dominant North winds. I did, however, have a seemingly auspicious start to the month when a Prothonotary Warbler dropped in on Prospect Park. This brilliant, golden-yellow warbler's breeding range is South of NYC, but a few yearly overshoots tend to appear around the five boroughs early in May. This cooperative individual spent the day foraging around the edges of Prospect Lake and was ultimately seen by a couple of dozen lucky birders.

During the second weekend of May I tallied my highest number of new species for the year - 18. I was able to pick up a bunch of shorebirds that Saturday when thunderstorms forced down a nice sized flock onto the runways at Floyd Bennett Field. I wrote about that weekend here.

The highlight of the month occurred right after I returned from a trip to New Orleans. Flycatchers had apparently begun moving through the area and I received a text from Shane that there was an Alder Flycatcher in Prospect Park. This bird breeds in New York State and isn't particularly rare, yet I'd never managed to see one anywhere within the city's five boroughs. My mother used to live upstate in the Catskills and, when I'd visit in the Summer, would hear this flycatcher's harsh, buzzy "fee-bee-o" call virtually all day long. I hopped on my bike and pedaled into Prospect Park and up Lookout Hill hoping to hear the alder. Turns out there were actually two birds present, one down the hill, near the Maryland Monument and one at the top of the hill, near the Butterfly Meadow. So, after not finding a single Alder Flycatcher in Brooklyn in over 20 years, I was sitting on top of Lookout Hill listening to a pair in a distant duet. I sent out a tweet and Keir showed up less than 5 minutes later, looking for his first Brooklyn Alder Flycatcher. I was happy to help him find it, which only took a few minutes.

If you follow my Twitter feed, you know that I had one more very good bird sighting at the end of the day on the 30th. There had been a report of a Mourning Warbler at the Vale of Cashmere early in the morning. This beautiful, skulking warbler is difficult to see as they spend most of their time foraging in the understory. After finding the Alder Flycatchers, I met up with Andy, Isabel, Paige, Peter and Rob at the Vale, all hoping to find this bird. It had gotten stiflingly hot and bird activity was nearly nonexistent. I decided it might make more sense to look for the bird at the end of the day. I've found that birds often come down to the ornamental pond at the Vale of Cashmere to drink and bath late in the day. At 6:30pm Robin and I rode our bikes back up to the Vale. Rob had just arrived and Heydi came straight from work a few minutes later. We were patiently waiting on a park bench opposite a puddle that had formed in the base of the mostly drained pond. At around 7:25pm I spotted a yellow bird flying low from the hillside behind us and into the cover of an azalea shrub a few yards from the puddle. A couple of minutes later a Mourning Warbler emerged from the cover of the shrub, hopped down to the puddle and began to bath and drink. It's nice when a plan comes together...

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NYS Total: 219
Kings Total: 216
Added in May: 48

169) American Redstart (Green-Wood Cemetery, 05/01/13)
170) Black-throated Blue Warbler (Green-Wood Cemetery, 05/01/13)

171) Wood Thrush (Prospect Park, 05/04/13)
172) Orchard Oriole (Prospect Park, 05/04/13)

173) Prothonotary Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/05/13)

174) Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Gerritsen Creek, 05/06/13)
175) Willet (Gerritsen Creek, 05/06/13)
176) Lesser Yellowlegs (Gerritsen Creek, 05/06/13)

177) Veery (Prospect Park, 05/09/13)
178) Worm-eating Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/09/13)
179) Blue-winged Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/09/13)
180) Nashville Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/09/13)
181) Magnolia Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/09/13)
182) Blackpoll Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/09/13)

183) Blackburnian Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/10/13)
184) Chestnut-sided Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/10/13)
185) Scarlet Tanager (Prospect Park, 05/10/13)

186) Least Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/11/13)
187) Swainson's Thrush (Prospect Park, 05/11/13)
188) Cape May Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/11/13)
189) Wilson's Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/11/13)
190) Indigo Bunting (Prospect Park, 05/11/13)
191) Little Blue Heron (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
192) Semipalmated Plover (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
193) Red Knot (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
194) Semipalmated Sandpiper (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
195) Short-billed Dowitcher (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
196) Least Tern (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
197) Common Tern (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)
198) Least Sandpiper (Floyd Bennett Field, 05/11/13)

199) Solitary Sandpiper (Prospect Park, 05/12/13)
200) Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Prospect Park, 05/12/13)
201) Eastern Wood-Pewee (Prospect Park, 05/12/13)
202) Gray-cheeked Thrush (Prospect Park, 05/12/13)
203) Tennessee Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/12/13)

204) Lincoln's Sparrow (Green-Wood Cemetery, 05/15/13)

205) Common Nighthawk (Prospect Park, 05/16/13)
206) Bay-breasted Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/16/13)
207) Canada Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/16/13)

208) Clapper Rail (Plumb Beach, 05/18/13)
209) Willow Flycatcher (Dreier-Offerman Park, 05/18/13)
210) Bobolink (Dreier-Offerman Park, 05/18/13)
211) Broad-winged Hawk (Green-Wood Cemetery, 05/18/13)

212) Olive-sided Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/20/13)

213) Bicknell's Thrush (Green-Wood Cemetery, 05/22/13)

214) Acadian Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 05/30/13)
215) ALDER FLYCATCHER (Prospect Park, 05/30/13)
216) Mourning Warbler (Prospect Park, 05/30/13)

1 comment:

Akira Kurosawa said...

One that you may have but didnt appear here is peregrine falcon. I hear there's a nest on top of Brooklyn House of Detention.

Congrats!

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