Well, spring migration is just about over, but I promised to post this tidbit. It's one of Tom Fiore's field reports from Central Park, including a compliment for me. Tom is an excellent birder, and particularly devoted to documenting the Park's birds. (Although, like a number of veteran birders in need of new challenges, I think he's now more interested in butterflies.) He writes exhaustive lists in the Park's log book, as well as posting online. He always sees more birds than most of us, but his reports have the nice effect of convincing you that there's got to be something interesting around, if you just keep looking. These log entries at the Boathouse were certainly one of the things that finally convinced me to pick up binoculars, after years of strictly naked eye viewing.
The field report as a literary form is an interesting possibility. Some people want no more than the basics of location, observers, and the birds seen. Others write everything out in paragraphs, like a little story, which is not considered very "scientific". Tom's are somewhere in between: annotated lists with comments and occasional opinions interjected. He collects information from many other birders, and estimates numbers to create inclusive day lists. He's become a sort of minor celebrity of the Park, especially after the story of his kidnapping in Columbia got around, and he was featured in Marie Winn's book Red-tails in Love. Birding with him is a bit of an honor, although mostly I end up watching him, and try to figure out how he sees the birds I miss. By the way, Red-tails is supposedly being made into a movie, by Nora Ephron; not sure if it's going to include the humans, or just the birds. Sadly, the Red-tails' chicks died this year, and several Peregrine Falcon nests around town also failed. Hawks in Prospect Park and Falcons downtown are said to be doing OK. Anyway, I'm posting the 5/19 report in the comment field. Just be aware that when Tom credits me with being cautious and conservative, what he really means is that I just don't know enough to make the quick call. And yes, the Blackpoll Warblers did show up, bigtime, last weekend.

- alex 5-30-2002 9:07 pm

DATE: Sunday, 19 May 2002
LOCATION: Central Park's "north end"
OBSERVERS: Tom Fiore, Mike Freeman, Alex Wilson

I met up with MF early in the morning; AW joined us later, though
he'd come in fairly early from a different direction, AW & TF stayed
in the north end a while, after MF left the park, & enjoyed some nice
sights (Cape May, etc.) in the mid-day hours!

It was fairly good birding, once we saw where the active feeding
flocks were (such as they were) - especially in some of the now-
blooming Tulip Poplar & Black Locust trees. These trees were good for
a variety of warblers & some other types of songbirds as well.

Some, but not all of our combined sightings from CP's north end...

- Snowy Egret (occasional flyovers, headed E. &/or W. all day)
- Common Nighthawk (1, perched on a limb near the West Drive)
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird (several, seen at the Tulip Poplars)
- Belted Kingfisher (1, rattling through the Loch)
- empid. species (some of them very likely Least, poss. others?)
- Eastern Kingbird (a possible nesting pair near the Meer)
- N.Rough-winged (fewer) & Barn (good no's.) Swallow[s] - (Meer)
- Red-eyed Vireo (very few; many more of these should be coming!)
- BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (1 heard singing: that is, the plaintive
"fee-bee" SONG, as opposed to scolding "dee-dee-dee-dee" CALLS;
this could indicate a nesting pair, or at least one half of the
possible nesting pair, an increasingly UNcommon CP nester. This
was my favorite bird of the whole day, & we didn't even SEE it!)
- Tufted Titmouse (probable nesting pair)
- House Wren (several nesting pairs)
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet (several lingering)
- Veery (fair numbers)
- gray-cheeked-type thrushes (several, prob. Gray-cheeked Thrushes,
as opposed to the far less-populous [in toto] Bicknell's Thrush)
- Swainson's Thrush (numerous)
- Hermit Thrush (several, that we carefully & closely studied; most
of these have passed through the NYC parks by now)
- Wood Thrush (fair numbers, some singing)
- Gray Catbird (many)
- Brown Thrasher (in the N.woods; a potential [rare] nester in CP)
- Cedar Waxwing (several)

- Wood Warblers:

- Tennessee (1, female - in the Loch)
- Nashville (1 - Loch)
- N. Parula (fair numbers)
- Yellow (few)
- Chestnut-sided (few)
- Magnolia (fair numbers)
- CAPE MAY (a reasonably bright male, & an extremely drab
female, almost certainly a first-spring female, that TF
& AW studied for some time before pronouncing any ID -
Alex Wilson the more cautious & conservative of us two,
which is one of the reasons I value his CP/N.end bird
reports so much - they're very reliable & accurate -
as are many other CP birders, many of whom DON'T bird
in the north end so regularly or report all sightings.
This bird seemed to nearly lack any of the coloration
that would generally offer clues, but did have the fine
& well-defined streaks down the breast, belly & flanks,
along with the size & bill size appropriate to this sp.
& furthermore fed (as did the male C.May) actively yet
deliberately, going into each individual blossom on the
trees both were seen moving back & forth from (Tulip, &
Black Locust, which as already noted had a fair variety
of songbirds & a hummingbird or two coming in to feast)
- Black-throated Blue (20+, about equal no's. of females)
- Myrtle/Yellow-rumped (mostly females, & not that many)
- Black-throated Green (1 or 2)
- Blackpoll (few)
- Black-and-White (few)
- American Redstart (fair no.s - adult males, 1st-spring
males, & females)
- Worm-eating (1, singing south of Blockhouse - MF only)
- Ovenbird (rather common Sunday, in the N.end)
- Northern Waterthrush (fair no's.)
- Common Yellowthroat (tied with ovenbird for most common
warbler species on Sunday? - in the north end of CP)
- Hooded (1, female - seen well, south of Blockhouse)
- Wilson's (1, male - seen later on in the Loch)

(Surprisingly, no Canada seen by the three of us Sunday - perhaps
Ramble area birders did) There were REPORTS of at least 3 warbler
species additional to the 19 spp. we saw: Blackburnian, Bay-breasted
& KENTUCKY were each REPORTED; I don't have all the details on the
first two spp. - that Kentucky reportedly seen by at least 3
observers, around the [Timothy Laupot] footbridge that crosses the
Gill as it nears the rocks it tumbles over in a waterfall leading
into the Lake - this is west of the Azalea Pond/Ramble. A 'list' of
possibly 22 or more warbler spp. on a relatively quiet migration day
- not bad, Central Park. We'll hope it can continue to produce good
sightings, as we transit from a Taurean mode into the time of the
[horseshoe] crab feast that lures some of us from the song of the
woods, out onto the rich muck & turn of the tides - the dances of
'waders' - & perhaps a pelagic or two ventured after. Could be this
week will tell the tale of the missing passerines we could yet see on
passage..... has anyone seen more than a dozen- if that - Blackpoll
Warblers in a single day's NY birding? If not, then there's many more
geometrid-eaters to come...

- Scarlet Tanager (few, females)
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak (rather few, more females seen)
- Indigo Bunting (a minimum of 4 different individuals)
- Eastern Towhee ("pair" in the N.woods; lingering late)
- Field Sparrow (1)
- Lincoln's Sparrow (at least 4 on the Great Hill)
- Swamp Sparrow (several)
- White-throated Sparrow (50+++, lingering still)
- White-crowned Sparrow (at least 6 seen on the Great Hill)
- Baltimore Oriole (fair numbers, nesting & poss. migrants)

An adult Orchard Oriole was reportedly seen near Turtle Pond.

Good birding to all, wherever you be -

Tom Fiore

- alex 5-30-2002 9:07 pm [add a comment]

Jim, can we close this thread? I'm deleting a spam a day here at least. The other one that always gets it is dave's monster mash post.
- tom moody 4-17-2007 10:56 pm [add a comment]