Usually, Pine Siskins stay well to the north, but in some years when the pine cone crop is scarce, they irrupt into the US to find food. There have been a lot of Siskin sightings this Fall. I had missed them until now, and they became my 185th Manhattan species of the year.
While I was in the Park that day, I spent a pleasant hour at Belvedere Castle looking for migrating raptors. I didn't have much luck with the migrants, but I did watch a local resident Kestrel hunting over the Great Lawn. Eventually it roosted in a tree top, and a bold Blue Jay made it known that he found the Kestrel's presence unsatisfactory.
off with you, I say!
The Kestrel was not too impressed.
During the week I saw my first brown creeper of the autumn in the Park, bathing at the east end of Turtle Pond. It was the most birdlike I've ever seen a Creeper--they usually act more like some kind of acrobatic mouse.
Last Sunday was the NY Marathon. I live east of First Avenue, so usually the Marathon traps me at home all day. This year, I got moving early to take a bus north before they closed the streets, and went over to Randall's Island.
I once again failed to see a Nelson's Sparrow in the salt marsh area at the northern tip of the island, although an older gentleman there told me he had seen one. Well, they're notoriously hard to spot. I gave up after an hour and a half and went off to see what else was on the island.
sign of winter
There were a lot of Brant in the East River, a sure sign of impending winter. I noticed two very small brownish ducks swimming with them. Green-Winged Teal! (Species 186 for the year in New York County.)
our smallest duck
Down in the Hell Gate Inlet salt marsh there were Yellow-Rumped warblers, and a very pale bird with streaks on the sides of the breast that was either a very pale Yellow-Rumped, or maybe a Blackpoll.
Along the "Water's Edge Garden" on the east shore of the island, Palm Warblers frolicked in the flower beds. Then I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk flying hard and low across the grounds of the mental health center. He was carrying a squirrel, which he carried up into a tree. There was a dense chain-link fence between us, but I got a couple of decent photos.
hawk and dinner
I hear there are Green-Winged Teal on the Central Park Reservoir, and someone saw a Woodcock in Strawberry Fields the other day. There was a report of a Varied Thrush in Madison Square Park as well, but the reporter wasn't sure of the ID and as far as I know the bird was not refound. among more common but still very nice birds, there are Kinglets all over the place. So it's still quite birdy out there.