Sunday, March 23, 2014

First Phoebe of Spring

Some birders mark the real beginning of Spring from the sighting of the first Eastern Phoebe. Though I'm not really one of them, I do admit that the first Phoebe does give a certain sense of Springitude to the proceedings.

Elena and I were having brunch and discussing where to go afterwards, and I checked my usual bird resources. On the NYNYBird web page (the web site for a text alert system I don't subscribe to; I don't like texts) was a message from Karen Fung: "E phoebe swampy pin oak. FOY?"

Certainly the first I'd heard of. So we went to the Ramble, intending to check the Swampy Pin Oak. That needs a new name, by the way, since the big Pin Oak was brought down in the aftermath of Sandy, but I digress.

We came up Cedar Hill, spotting a male baltimore Oriole there (maybe the one who wintered around Evodia), and entered the Ramble through Maintenance Meadow, and...

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Eastern Phoebe, Central Park
Phirst Phoebe

...there it was, our first Phoebe of the year. Ah, Spring!

Evodia was normally busy with the usual birds, including the female Baltimore Oriole. There were a lot of Downy Woodpeckers around.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Downy Woodpecker, Central Park
Downy glaring at an incoming house sparrow

We spotted another Phoebe a little south of the Humming Tombstone, and also our first Hairy Woodpecker of the year (life bird for Elena, and 82nd species of the year for me).

We looked for Woodcock in the Humming Tombstone area, with no luck, but at Tupelo Meadow we saw someone peering intently into the fenced area around the big Tupelo tree. She made a complete circuit, and then suddenly a football with wings burst forth from the middle of the area and flew south toward the Gill. So there are still Woodcocks around.

At the east end of Tupelo Meadow is a tree dark with sap. Two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were disputing ownership.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Central Park
winner and still champeen!

See how his crest is up? That's an agitated bird.

On our way back out through Maintenance, we saw this Swamp Sparrow in the meadow.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Swamp Sparrow, Central Park
Spring in his step

That's Spring all over.

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