Thursday, May 3, 2012

Migration wave, Central Park, May 3rd

It is approaching the peak season of  May 5th-12th, and today's birding showed that despite challenging viewing conditions with dark overcast.  I left the camera at home - a rarity for me - and ranged further afield, starting at the North End which already had interesting reports by the time I reached the park.  I found one of these birds - a Tennessee Warbler - fairly quickly.  The Tennessee was literally belting its song out, although it was a lot easier to hear than see and I only got mediocre views.  For quite a while it was singing semi-continuously.  There were also a lot of other singing birds, particularly Nashvilles and Yellows.  I found Yellow-throated Vireo by song, and saw at least two up there.  Blue-headed Vireo was especially numerous.  I also found Blackburnian by song, and finally tracked down a Blue-winged when I was searching for the elusive "Lawrence's" (Blue-winged x Golden-winged).  I also had a fleeting glimpse of a tantalizing bird - something that by size and particularly color was either a female Summer Tanager or a female Blue Grosbeak, but which was extremely uncooperative and I had to leave that unidentified.  I didn't even wander off the Great Hill, such was the activity.  There was also a Least-ish Empidonax flycatcher hunting low on the south slope of Great Hill, but did not sing for confirmation.

Eventually I headed south toward the Ramble.  I found Prairie Warbler near the Tennis Courts, American Redstart at the nw corner of the Reservoir, and about 100 yards south I stopped to listen to something that sounded somewhere in the range Hooded-Magnolia Warbler song.  It wasn't full-fledged Hooded and I suspected Magnolia for a while because a second bird was answering it.  The west side of the Reservoir is not really Hooded Warbler territory being mainly trees with little understory.  A  surprise, then, when this second bird turned out to be a male Hooded Warbler, and the first male Hooded showed itself after they'd taken a break from singing at each other.

Nothing was happening at the Upper Lobe at the Ramble, despite Bay-breasted being reported there earlier, but I did pick up Hermit Thrush and my first Wood Thrush nearby.  Toward Azalea Pond there was a good mix of warblers present, with two Magnolias and  Black-throated Blue Warbler also being new for the year.  Down at the Gill there was Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula (one of many heard all day) and another year-first: Canada Warbler.

On my way out of the park I picked up two Great Crested Flycatchers and a single Veery, bringing my new-for-the-year additions to a grand total of twelve and a total of twenty warbler species for the day, with Tennessee and Hooded the best of those.

American Kestrel
Empidonax sp.
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo  (many)
Warbling Vireo
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler (many)
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler (several)
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole (several)

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