Monday, March 17, 2014

Unusually productive mid-March in Central Park

Almost literally mid-March, on March 15th, saw me in Central Park to look for some unusual birds that had been around.  Foremost amongst those was a Red-necked Grebe hanging out on the Reservoir - there had been one the previous weekend and this one was allegedly an entirely different one.  The appearance by two makes it less obvious that this is really a very rare species in Central Park with the last one being ~30 years ago (I've only been birding CPK for 17 years) and is my park bird #205.

Surreal experience at one point was the Grebe surfacing right next to a Red-breasted Merganser, itself relatively rare in the park.

The Ramble was also extremely productive, since it was hard not to see American Woodcocks as they repeatedly took flight and twittered through the Ramble, probably in response to a lot of people walking through there on a warm spring day.  Took me a while to see one on the ground for more than a few seconds.  At the feeders the sparrow numbers continued to be low, and there was only one Chickadee, but the variety was exceptional for mid-March: a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, singing Fox Sparrows, Brown Creeper, two Baltimore Orioles (overwintering) feeding on oranges.  In fact Fox Sparrows were particularly numerous at Mugger's Woods when I finally caught up with a more-or-less stationary Woodcock (but also had one fly by and others were present that I did not see).

While absolute numbers of birds and species continue to be low, not least of all because of a dilettante 2 hour afternoon visit, it really was very good birding for mid March.  FOY birds were Wood Duck, Black-capped Chickadee, Fox Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole.

Red-necked Grebe
Wood Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
American Woodcock (3-5)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Fox Sparrow (10)
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch