Sunday, December 14, 2014

Central Park Christmas Bird Count

I was up at 6:30 this morning and at the south pumphouse of the Central Park Reservoir by 7:45 for the Christmas Bird Count. The count divides the park into seven zones--northeast (Harlem Meer and environs), Northwest (the North Woods mostly), the Reservoir, teh Great lawn, the Ramble, Southeast (the Pond and environs), and Southwest (usually the least productive area, having no real water feature). I joined the Reservoir team this year (last year I did the Great Lawn).

It was a pleasant day to be out. Last year was miserable, icy and slushy, all the joys of bad footing and of getting your feet soaked through; but this year was warm for December, and partly sunny, and dry. But not birdy. The best birds of the day for us were right atthe start--the three Ring-Necked Ducks still hanging out in the southeast corner of the reservoir.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Ring-Necked Duck
who's the best bird? you are!

Other than that, it was slow. We had a Kestrel along Central Park West around 94th Street--heard it first, calling klee-klee-klee! and then spotted it perched on a rooftop. Later we had what turned out to be the only Cedar Waxwing in the whole count. There were a goodly number of woodpeckers, including two Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. I think it's rather late for them to be here.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

At the compilation, it turned out that there were only 56 species seen in the whole park. Some of the missing species were pretty shocking--no Red-Winged Blackbirds--and numbers of some common species were very low--only a hundred-odd Robins, a couple of dozen Cardinals. Not sure what's going on with that. At least the Titmousen and Nuthatches were back in force after being basically missing last year.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; White-Throated Sparrow bathing
plenty of these guys, though

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