Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring begins

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; American Woodcock, Bryant Park

Spring has arrived, and with it the first migrants. American Woodcocks have been seen in the Ramble several times in the last couple of weeks; then on Tuesday, a pair showed up in Bryant Park.

Woodcocks have a terrible time navigating through cities. They migrate at night, flying very low--only about 50 feet up--and their eyes are placed so far back on their heads that their vision straight in front is poor. All this makes them the most like birds to be involved in window collisions.

These two seemed OK--they were foraging actively in the light rain, and seemed quite aware that they were being watched. They didn't flush to cover, but they did move away from the observers' lines of sight. Of course, who can really tell how a collision-dazed Woodcock would act?

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; American Woodcock, Bryant Park

It rained into the evening, so they might not have flown out tonight. If you're in New York City and reading this on Wednesday, it might be worth looking for them. Today I found them in the daffodil plantings near the birdbath in the northeast part of the park.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Swamp Sparrow, Bryant Park

Sparrows are moving through as well--this Swamp Sparrow was also in Bryant Park, and I've seen several in Central Park as well. Both parks are covered in a fine mist of Song Sparrows. Central Park has also been hosting a large number of Fox Sparrows--I've seen a dozen in a day.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Fox Sparrows, Central Park

Other recent arrivals are Black-Crowned Night Heron; one has been reported around the Lake in Central Park. I haven't seen it yet, but I did have my first Great Egret of the year at Turtle Pond on Monday evening.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; first Great Egret of Spring, Turtle Pond

And of course, Spring isn't Spring until the Phoebes arrive. They started to come in at the end of last week, hurrah!

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Eastern Phoebe, Turtle Pond

I haven't seen any warblers yet, but there was a sighting of a Pine Warbler at the Ross Pinetum in Central Park on Monday. Keep watching the skies!

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