WINTER BIRDING IN NEW YORK CITY (1)


Strange as it may seem, New York City is a great place for birding. The city may not sleep, and maybe neither do the birds, but nonetheless there are several excellent locations to see a wide variety of species. NYC lies right on the East Atlantic Flyway, the eastern migratory route of the USA. Along it, birds hurtle forth and back twice a year, from tiny warblers to large shorebirds, as they seek winter warmth nearer the equator before returning in summer.

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The optimum hotspot is CENTRAL PARK, in particular The Ramble (central) and the secluded Pond / Ravine walk by a pretty stream (north). This is definitely the first place to head for if you have half a day to spare. There’s a very good Central Park website (link above). You’ll also find a CP birding map online, and several websites devoted to birding CP from which you can get or make your own checklist (caution: some sites are a bit… intense). Among books, I have Birds of Central Park by Carl Vornberger and The Ramble: A Wilderness West of 5th by Robert A. McCabe. These are small coffee table books to enjoy rather than field guides, and can be found on Amazon (.com), ABE and occasionally eBay.

It’s worth mentioning PROSPECT PARK BROOKLYN as another good place for birds. It is very large and has plenty of water, which is excellent for water fowl and geese. I’ve seen chipmunks there too (well, I was excited, anyway). There’s the added bonus that the BROOKLYN MUSEUM is right there – perfect for a morning followed by an afternoon in the park.

Here are a few birds photographed in and around the City when temperatures remained below freezing despite a bright sun. There’ll be some more soon.

STARLING BY THE HIGH LINE, LOWER MANHATTANStarling, High Line, NYC

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, HIGH LINENorthern Mockingbird, High Line, NYC

NORTHERN CARDINALS, CENTRAL PARK Northern Cardinal, Central Park, NYCNorthern Cardinal, Central Park NYC

TUFTED TITMICE, CENTRAL PARKTufted Titmouse, Central Park NYCTufted Titmouse (2) Central Park NYC

HOUSE SPARROW, CENTRAL PARKHouse Sparrow, Central Park NYC

RING-BILLED GULLS, STATEN ISLAND FERRYRing-billed Gull, Staten Island Ferry NYCRing-billed Gull, Staten Island Ferry, NYC

HERRING GULLS, STATEN ISLAND FERRYHerring Gull, Staten Island Ferry, NYC

Helicopter photobomb above the bird!Herring Gull, NYC

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THE HIGH LINE, NEW YORK: (1) ART + ADS


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The  High Line in New York City is a 1-mile ‘linear park’ built on a disused section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line.  This line runs along the lower west side of Manhattan currently runs from Gansevoort Street, three blocks below West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, up to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center. 

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The line has been imaginatively redesigned and extensively planted as an ‘aerial greenway’. Many reminders of its former life have been incorporated, including sections of track; and the line cuts through a number of large office blocks. Along the way, there are a number of access points. There are plenty of neat ‘mini-platform’ wooden seats from which to contemplate the scenery or the urban art; and areas with larger wooden seats long enough to lie on, as with a sun lounger. Some of these are doubles… 

You’ll find plenty of information on the excellent Friends of the High Line website HERE. When we were in NYC a couple of months back, it was in winter mode, with snow on the ground and a freezing wind. However I enjoyed the experience so much that I walked the length of it… twice! It was gratifying to see the large number of people doing likewise, even in very cold weather, and making the most of New York’s most recent city innovation.

I am planning a series of photographic posts to highlight various aspects of the High Line, starting slightly perversely with some of the astonishing and/or entertaining art (in a broad sense) along the route. I really look forward to coming here in summertime one day. This is a wonderful railway restoration project that you definitely do not need to be a rail-geek (trackie?) to enjoy.

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