Monday, May 19, 2014

Tweeting about birds

Twitter has made it a lot easier to find good birds in Manhattan. Birders are naturally helpful, but before the digital age, helping was done retailretail--telling one person at a time where the birds are. Things began to change in the 1990s with mailing lists, and in the last couple of years there's been an explosion of text alert systems and Twitter use. The #birdcp hashtag is widely used by Manhattan birders now.

Saturday, as I headed to the park, I saw a #birdcp tweet from Roy Tsao that a Blackburnian Warbler was singing in the elms near Cleopatra's Needle. I wanted to go visit the magic beech tree at nearby Greywacke Arch anyway, so I went there. Roy showed me the tree and described the bird's behavior before going on his way. It was about 25 minutes before the bird showed up--I heard a high tsip-a tsip-a song, and found him well up near the trunk. The photos will need some work, so let me show you one of my older Blackburnian photos instead.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Blackburnian Warbler, Central Park
That's what I'm talking about!

The Greywacke area was otherwise pretty quiet, as was Turtle Pond. I was able to show and tell a few people about where the Blackburnian was. When I saw another tweet, this time about a Common Nighthawk Eric O. had found roosting high up a tree near the High Meadow in the North Woods, off I went.

One problem was, I didn't know where the High Meadow is. I don't think it's called that on any map. But Karen Fung (who had tweeted the report) was able to give me directions on Twitter, and when I neared the area, another helpful birder pointed me to the right place to stand to see the Nighthawk.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Nighthawk, Central Park
Common Nighthawk, chillin'

The Common Nighthawk is my 159th species in New York County this year.

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