Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring migration April 20th/21st

On Saturday 20th I was in Central Park, although not too many migrants were there along with me.  Lingering Northern Shovelers on the Lake, plus three species of swallows (Barn, Northern Rough-winged, Tree) and later on joined by a Great Egret.  A single Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was overshadowed by the continuing pair of Hairy Woodpeckers (common elsewhere, very uncommon in the park) where the female is rather buffy in ways reminiscent of western Hairy subspecies.  They are quite vocal and one has to think that the prospects of nesting are fairly high.

There were a couple of first-of-year-for-park birds, with Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Northern Waterthrush, but the actual New World warbler count was only up to 3: Yellow-rumped (1) and Palm Warbler (2) adding to the list.  The Gnatcatcher is an Old World warbler.  The limited migration was rather expected from the colder temperatures and northern-trending winds, however.

On Sunday morning the overwintering female Red-breasted Nuthatch showed up at my feeders again, apparently also unimpressed with spring migration weather.   The previous day's Wilson's Phalarope did not "stick" at Negri-Nepote Preserve (Franklin Twp, Central NJ) so I was left with ~8 Greater Yellowlegs and single Killdeer.  The morning was redeemed by the ongoing American Bittern in the pond at Princeton's Institute Woods and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

On the 24th the overnight northerly winds nevertheless allowed some migration, judging from the appearance of a slightly early Gray Catbird on the suet in my back yard.  The overwintering sparrows seem to have left (Juncos first, then White-throated) being replaced by incoming Chipping Sparrows.

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