Thursday, December 17, 2015
Until the end of October, when my job moved, I worked at 45th Street and Sixth Avenue. Across the street is a pedestrian plaza--a fountain, some cafe tables, a few trees--that I hadn't really paid much attention to in the Spring and Summer. But in September and October it was surprisingly birdy.
Several Common Yellowthroats passed through, and a Brown Thrasher stayed for a considerable time, only disappearing a few days before I did.
The photo above is a looking out of the plaza onto 46th Street. I don't have a good photo of the plaza's glory, which is a circle of five Dawn Redwoods. The history of the plaza is kind of interesting; here's an old New York Times article about the plaza.
The neighboring building was the headquarters of International Paper, whose symbol is a redwood tree. The redwoods can stand there because that part of the park was occupied by a building whose owner didn't sell out for years, so there isn't any building space below teh tree circle, so it can accommodate the tree's huge root balls.
One of the first interesting birds I noticed there was this Ovenbird, the only warbler besides The Yellowthroats I saw there. The Ovenbird moved on fairly quickly, which is good. Every year, one or two Ovenbirds try to overwinter a few blocks away in Bryant Park. They never make it.
This Flicker showed upo one afternoon, farging furiously on the ground behind the benches, just a few feet away from peopel chattingon cellphones and drinking coffee. It wasn't there the next day. A Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker showed up one in a while. That one might be trying to stay the winter.
A number of other migrants came through -- sparrows and Towhees and Catbirds and Hermit Thrushes. Some of them occasionally do manage to survive a winter in the city, but usually in Central Park.
The best bird I saw in the plaza was a Woodcock, who foraged fairly happily in the redwood circle, but flew out in the mid-afternoon. I think he found the street noise a bit much.
Of course, the little park also had the usual New York street birds--House and White-Throated Sparrows, Starlings, and pigeons. Here's a couple of pigeons who were getting affectionate my on my last day there.
My new work neighborhood is less interesting, but I'll have something to say about it eventually. really, there are birds almost anywhere if you look.