Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chilly day

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Common Merganser landing on Central Park Reservoir

A blustery day with a storm coming in turned out productive: I picked up some usual species I knew were in Central Park but had missed on New Year's Day (Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, American Goldfinch, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker), plus I got a good view of a Cooper's Hawk dining at Azalea Pond. I believe the entree was a House Sparrow; I will share photos soon.

After a couple of hours, I was going to finish by skimming the south end of the Reservoir and going home, but I looked at the NYSBirds mailing list and saw that Pat Pollock ("Pat in the Hat") had reported a Canvasback (very rare in Manhattan) in the northeast corner of the Reservoir, so I went up there. No Canvasback that I could spot, but there was a Lesser Scaup, which is also a good bird in the park. Another birder spotted something red-headed back on the west side, so back we went; it turned out to be a female Common Merganser, who kindly flew in to give us a better look. (Common Merganser is not common in NYC; almost nothing with "Common" in the name is, except Common Grackle.) By then it was getting very nasty out, so when I worked around to the southeast corner and met a birder who had also not seen the Canvasback, I bailed out.

Anyway, that gets me up to 43 species. I'm told that White-Winged Crossbills sometimes come in after a snowstorm...

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