Sunday, January 24, 2016

Catching up

Last Sunday (1/17), I went out to Central Park and caught up on a few birds I hadn't seen in Manhattan this year.

The best thing there were two Snow Geese, a very rare sight in Central Park, even as a flyover much less down on the water.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Snow Goose, Central Park
rare visitors

I have heard that they are still there.

Walking around the Reservoir, I saw the Ring-Necked Duck drake that has been wintering there.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Ring-Necked Duck, Central Park
I think this is the first photo I've taken where you can see the ring around the neck

The Reservoir gets one or two Ring-Necked drakes every winter. I wonder if the same bird has been returning every year. He was hunting quite successfully, and I spent some time trying to get a good photo of him at the moment of the dive.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Ring-Necked Duck diving, Central Park

It was a little beyond my skill, and it was quite windy and cold so I gave up after only ten minutes or so. . This is the best one I got.

Also new for the year at the Reservoir was a Pied-Billed Grebe. We generally have two or three hanging around, but I think only one this winter.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Pied-Billed Grebe, Central Park

Heading toward the Ramble, I found the Orange-Crowned Warbler that was found during the Christmas Count. It looks like it's trying to overwinter here, which is pretty scary.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Orange-Crowned Warbler, Central Park
it's a living

In this photo, you can see it's probing at sapsucker scrapes on the viburnum (I think that's the plant, anyway). The Orange-Crowned has basically been following an overwintering Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker around, poaching insects from its wells and scrapes.

It is still behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though it has moved to the area right up against the East Drive between the Transverse and Greywacke Arch

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Central Park
the hawk gaze

In the Ramble itself, I found this juvenile Accipiter, which I think is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Central Park
tail looks pretty square to me

On my way out, I was startled by a flash of white wings darting into a mixed flock of sparrows. It turned out to be this partially-leucistic House sparrow. I think a couple of people have remarked on this bird recently.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; House Sparrow, Central Park
white wings

It's interesting--the white doesn't look that extensive when the bird is at rest, but in flight it was really startling.

One thing I didn't see that day was the Great Horned Owl which was present from late October to early January, and then disappeared once all the leaves droppped from its favorite roosting tree. It's apparently back! I've seen several reports of it this past week, in the same now-bare tree near the feeder area in the Ramble. I guess it missed the attention.

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