Thursday, December 17, 2015

Midtown birding

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Yellowthroat, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Brown Thrasher, International Paper Plaza

Several Common Yellowthroats passed through, and a Brown Thrasher stayed for a considerable time, only disappearing a few days before I did.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Brown Thrasher, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Ovenbird, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Northern Flicker, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Song Sparrow, International Paper Plaza

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Swamp Sparrow, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Eastern Towhee, International Paper Plaza

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Hermit Thrush, International Paper Plaza

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Gray Catbird, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; American Woodcock, International Paper Plaza

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.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Affectionate Pigeons, International Paper Plaza

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.

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