Monday, September 17, 2012

Central Park Sept 15th and 16th

The front passed too late in the night to make Saturday a good migration day and so birding was extremely patchy.  Strawberry Fields was extremely slow, the Ramble a little better, but excitement came in the form of an Eastern Whip-poor-will found in the Ramble.  This is the first one I've seen in CPK in quite a few years (spring 2004 was the last), and also the first one in fall.  Based on pointed tail feathers it appeared to be an immature bird.  While watching the nightjar other good birds of the day were Cape May Warblers (possible ad. female and imm. male) and a Least Flycatcher.  The final icing was the ongoing American Bittern at Turtle Pond - I almost missed it until it flew across the pond to the island just as I turned to leave.  This is only my second Bittern in the park (last: in April 2004).  Other migrants included Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager and only three other species of warbler (American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat).

As of Monday morning the Whip-poor-will reappeared in the same tree - I'm pretty confident that this is the first time anyone's refound a bird like that in the same roosting spot in the park.

On Sunday migrant volume was better, although still not spectacular and the initial stop at Strawberry Fields included my first Red-breasted Nuthatch for the year - a bird that had been tormenting me.  There was also a start of a change-over in warbler species: Black-throated Green, Blackpoll and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet being evidence of that.  Swainson's Thrushes were numerous but Cedar Waxwings were putting up the best migrant numbers in the park with multiple flocks moving through places like the Maintenance Field while I was there.  A decent raptor flight occurred in the morning with multiple Broad-winged Hawks and an Osprey.  I also had my first White-throated Sparrows of fall.  The American Bittern remained at Turtle Pond, this time giving good views while hunting on the north side of the island.  Despite its persistence here it's a pretty rare bird in Central Park, actually a rarer sighting than the Connecticut Warbler that evaded me in the Ramble later that morning.

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