Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting 2012 in Manhattan - Dickcissel and Rufous Humingbird (again)

I don't take state listing too seriously, but the two lists I do pay some attention to are life lists (USA: 644) and year lists. So at dawn on 1/1/2012 the year list was zero and needed some work.

First stop: Perth Amboy waterfront, in search of Eurasian Wigeon without success. This is not somewhere I've birded before but was more-or-less en route to Manhattan. I found other ducks like American Wigeon, Gadwall, Bufflehead, American Black Duck, Red-breasted Merganser and a Double-crested Cormorant (seen well, not a Great). A Cooper's Hawk was hunting downtown, but there wasn't any reason to delay getting into NYC any longer.

Second stop: Inwood Hill Park at 200th St (Dyckman) where it took almost no time at all to find the Dickcissel feeding in the ball fields amongst the House Sparrows. A good extra find was a fly-over flock of Cedar Waxwings.

Third stop: easily finding parking along Madison, I walked from E72nd to W81st through Central Park in a meandering route, checking evergreens for Barred Owl (no luck). The Ramble was quiet and the best bird by far was the Eastern Phoebe at Turtle Pond. I found two more Cedar Waxwings near Tanner's Spring and then starting the wait for the Rufous. Seen earlier in the day, it took its sweet time turning up outside the American Museum of Natural History. It was relatively warmer out and some bees were feeding on the Leatherleaf Mahonia that were still flowering (apparently flowering during the winter). Having got decent looks at the Rufous Hummingbird I hopped the subway and went down to Bryant Park which was about as crowded as it was on xmas eve. I've not got much patience for crowds but did see White-throated Sparrows and a single Ovenbird (by far my late date - I wonder if it has any chance of making it to spring?).

Finally I hopped a bus and returned to the park - a Wood Duck on 59th Street Pond and a Red-headed Woodpecker at the Hallett Sanctuary were good finds here - before retreating to my car and heading home.

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