Monday, December 17, 2012

Dec 15th: White-winged Crossbill and CPK #200 (actually 204)

A brief visit to Central Park on the morning of Dec 15th was entirely mercenary with one species in mind: White-winged Crossbill.  Having dipped on Evening Grosbeak and Red Crossbill previously I was immensely relieved to find three female White-winged Crossbills in Mugger's Woods (charming name, historically accurate) feeding on sweet-gum seeds.  While Evening Grosbeaks were seen earlier that day they continued to evade me.  A Barred Owl was still present, although the vanishing leaves had led it to move roosts to an evergreen over its previous deciduous.

Other birds were an ongoing swarm of Tufted Titmice at the Ramble feeders, a Brown Creeper, a flock of Cedar Waxwings at Strawberry Fields feeding on holly, and a late Baltimore Oriole.  Judging from tail feather shape this oriole was a first winter bird.  Hopefully it heads south quickly because despite a fairly mild start to the winter I cannot imagine it's going to be as mild as last winter.

On Saturday I was elated about the Crossbills at least in part because I thought they were Central Park bird #200.  In fact I'd seriously undercounted and they were #204:
  • 204: White-winged Crossbill
  • 203: Brant (Nov 17th 2012)
  • 202: Barred Owl (Nov 17th 2012)
  • 201: Grasshopper Sparrow (May 4th 2012)
  • 200: Acadian Flycatcher (May 3rd 2011)
Given that #198 and 199 were Western Tanager Dickcissel (2008) and Varied Thrush (2010) it's clear that 2012 was a far better-than-average year for difficult park species and equally clear that I'm getting laissez-faire with my editing of some of my location species lists - Central Park is actually one of the ones I pay attention to, allegedly.

I'm still missing Red Crossbill and Evening Grosbeak in what is an invasion year for both, however.

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