Sunday, October 7, 2012

Central Park Oct 6th

My first Purple Finches of the year - last winter was not an invasion year - were in Strawberry Fields, although I missed the Pine Siskins by 15 minutes.  Both were female-type but at least one was probably immature male since it started singing.  There were also my first Golden-crowned Kinglets in fall migration.

Despite a somewhat northerly wind the warbler numbers were unexceptional all day.  There was a hint of a raptor flight, with two Cooper's Hawks, a Merlin and an ambiguous falcon (Merlin/Peregrine) over the Maintenance Field.  But otherwise the day's biggest migrant numbers were unquestionably Cedar Waxwings.  Flocks of mainly juveniles (many molting into a facsimile of adult plumage) were all over the park all day feeding on pokeweed and crab apples.

My best bird turned out to be an immature Black-billed Cuckoo, which popped up in the Upper Lobe while I was listening to another Purple Finch making the 'pik' call on the other side of the water.  This was followed by a Gray-cheeked Thrush - one of my rather more unlikely misses this year since they are regular in the park.  This particular Gray-cheeked gave no hint of candidate Bicknell's and had a nice cold olive-brown tone to it.

Otherwise birding was not high volume.  In the afternoon I ventured out to Duke Farms (Somerset area in NJ) in the mid afternoon and found the parking lot brimming with walkers and cyclists.  Between overcast and a fairly strong breeze the bird activity was relatively low, but I did have a Peregrine (likely a migrant headed down-river after coming off the Watchung Ridge), a family of American Kestrels, Palm Warblers and Savannah Sparrow.  This looks not a bad bet for early winter birding because much of the weedy field habitat is intact - over in Griggstown Preserve they've mowed 90% of the habitat down to the stubble in another example of how not to manage habitat for fall migrants, so there's little reason to revisit it.

Cooper's Hawk                          
Black-billed Cuckoo                    
Chimney Swift                          
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker               
Northern Flicker                       
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe                         
Black-capped Chickadee                 
Red-breasted Nuthatch                  
White-breasted Nuthatch                
Golden-crowned Kinglet                 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                   
Gray-cheeked Thrush                    
Hermit Thrush                          
Gray Catbird                           
Brown Thrasher                         
Cedar Waxwing                          
Common Yellowthroat                    
American Redstart                      
Northern Parula                        
Magnolia Warbler                       
Blackpoll Warbler                      
Black-throated Blue Warbler            
Swamp Sparrow                          
White-throated Sparrow                 
Dark-eyed Junco
Scarlet Tanager                       
Northern Cardinal                      
Rose-breasted Grosbeak                 
Purple Finch                           
American Goldfinch                     

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