Thursday, April 23, 2015

Central Park 4/23--Blue-headed Vireo

Great Egret by Bow Bridge
It is rare that I bird Central Park twice within a week--rare as in never, but I had to be in the city again today so got up early and was in the park before 9:30. A little late for warblers but that was the best I could do. And it was, as the weathermen say, unseasonably cold. Still, The Ramble was a lot busier than most of the places I go to around here, both with birds and birders. The paths were crammed with binocular-bearing pedestrians. When I'm birding Colliers Mills, Double Trouble, Wells Mills, Whitesbog--any of my local "hot spots" if I run into another birder it's practically "Dr Livingtstone, I presume." In The Ramble it reminded me of birding Magee Marsh (which we'll do again next month), i.e.: it's like birding on an IRT platform. I'm not complaining, I was just not used to so many people staring up into trees.

I was impressed, once again, with the sheer numbers of birds to be found--I might see as many species locally, but not as many birds. There were dozens of White-throated Sparrows, robins wherever you looked and they don't bother to fly away when you walk past, hundreds of House Sparrows, of course, but also a lot of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (which seem to be a big deal down here where see 10 Golden-crowned for every Ruby) and good numbers of the common warblers.

I spent most of my time wandering around The Ramble and when I say "wandering" I mean it. I am essentially lost when I'm in there and always happy when I stumble onto a familiar spot like the feeders, "The Oven," or "The Point." I get to one of them, tell myself that now I know where I am, walk away and become immediately lost, again, until I bump into the next familiar area.

It was on The Point that I added a new year bird: a Blue-headed Vireo, pointed out by a couple of photographers. It was directly over head, so by bending backwards like I was about to do the limbo, I was able to get a very nice look at its breast, belly, and under tail feathers, with just a peek at of its blue head. Later in the morning when I was somehow able to find my way back to The Point I got a more satisfying view, profile, showing all the field marks. Whether it was the same or different bird I don't know. I only need one.

For my 3 hours touring Olmstead and Vaux's maze I was able to pick up 34 species:
Canada Goose  5
Mallard  4
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Egret  1
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  4
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Blue Jay
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  10
Tufted Titmouse  1     Heard, feeders
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  10
American Robin  75
European Starling  10
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Palm Warbler  8
Pine Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  10
Eastern Towhee  1     Ramble
Chipping Sparrow  5
White-throated Sparrow  50
Northern Cardinal  5
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Common Grackle  10
Brown-headed Cowbird  1     Feeders
House Finch  1     Feeders
Purple Finch  1     Feeders
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  100

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