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.

north-america-migration-flyways
wqed.org

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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TUFTED TITMOUSE STUDIES, CENTRAL PARK, NYC


Tufted Titmouse CP NYC 5Tufted Titmouse CP NYC 1Tufted Titmouse CP NYC 2

Tufted Titmouse CP NYC 4Tufted Titmouse CP NYC 3 copy

‘DUCKING & DIVING’: BUFFLEHEADS IN CENTRAL PARK NYC


The Bufflehead Bucephala albeola is a small American duck of the goldeneye family, named for the ‘buffalo’ shape of its head. These shots were taken on the JKO Reservoir in central Park NYC, at a bit of a distance. The ducks were mostly floating peacefully, with the occasional sudden splashy dive. When they surfaced, fat beads of water stayed on their backs. Unfortunately the light / position of the sun meant that I never caught one head on, when the purple and green sheen of the face feathers would be clearly visible. 

Bufflehead Duck Central Park NYC 1Bufflehead Duck Central Park NYC 4Bufflehead Duck Central Park NYC 3Bufflehead Duck Central Park NYC 5Bufflehead Duck Central Park NYC 6Bufflehead Duck Central Park NYC 7

HOODED MERGANSERS IN CENTRAL PARK, NYC


These hooded mergansers were on the JKO Reservoir in mid-Central Park, New York. The colourful male is shown first, then the less flamboyant female.

Hooded Merganser (m) NYC CP 3Hooded Merganser (m) NYC CP 2Hooded Merganser (m) NYC CP 1Hooded Merganser (f) NYC CP 2Hooded Merganser (f) NYC CP 3Hooded Merganser (f) NYC CP 1This bird has just surfaced from a dive, leaving her rather wet and dishevelled

GULLS ON ICE: PROSPECT PARK, BROOKLYN


Prospect Gulls 2 Prospect Gulls 3 Prospect Gulls 4 Prospect Gulls 5 Prospect Gulls 6 Prospect Gulls 7 Prospect Gulls 8Prospect Gulls 1The gulls above are mainly ring-billed gulls of various ages, from last year’s fledgelings to mature adults of 4 years or more. To cope with landing on ice, they had to lower their undercarriages in very good time…

RED-TAILED HAWKS IN CENTRAL PARK & PROSPECT PARK, NYC


CENTRAL PARK

Red-tailed Hawk CP 7Red-tailed Hawk CP 1

PREPARING FOR FLIGHTRed-tailed Hawk CP 6Red-tailed Hawk CP 3Red-tailed Hawk CP 4Red-tailed Hawk CP 5

PROSPECT PARK, BROOKLYNRed-tailed Hawk PPB 6Red-tailed Hawk PPB 5Red-tailed Hawk PPB 1