Saturday, 18 May 2019

New York Spring Migration Trip - Part Three

Date: 2nd May - 7th May
Location: New York - United States

Part One Here
Sunshine and Dry.. Finally!

Species Lifers - Day 5 - Central Park + Governor's Island
Red Breasted Nuthatch, Orchard Oriole, Brown Creeper, Nashville Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Throated Vireo, Red Throated Diver, Killdeer, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Bobolink

Species Lifers - Day 6 - Central Park
Swamp Sparrow, White Eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Pine Siskin, Canada Warbler, Least Flycatcher

With our last full day in New York, we stayed local and and spent the day in Central Park. We caught the tube to the Park (to save our steps for later in the day!). 
We arrived in North Woods and had a great start.

 Our first sighting was this showy Northern Parula.

In the same area, we had some great views of the Chestnut Sided Warbler

A new lifer for Lauren, a Brown Creeper, very similar to our Treecreepers.

We finally managed to get some good views of a American Redstart, that landed in the bush next to us, no more than 5 foot away! A very fast moving bird!

Leaving the North Woods area, this Yellowthroat popped up.

At this point, the moisture from yesterday had kicked in, Dad's camera had completely steamed up so whilst he stood pointing his lens at the sun to warm it up,after 20 mins it cleared. I stood photographing the Orchard Orioles.

A quick toilet break, we stopped off at Conservatory Garden, totally worth it, as we found a pair of Nashville Warbler

The sightings were quickly arriving from the Ramble area, so we started walking South.

This gorgeous Kinglet catching flies above our heads

We stopped in our favourite part of the Park. The Rambles feeders.

A common visitor were House Finch.

A stunning Brown Headed Cowbird in the sunshine

We pulled out a Muffin for a snack and within seconds, the Cardinal hopped into view.

We were no more than 100 foot away when a tweet come in for a Blue Grosbeak at the Feeders, so we rushed back and managed to see him.

It suddenly become very birdy in this little area, with Blue Headed Vireo

Then another lifer, Yellow Throated Vireo.

A second Grosbeak species at the same location, this time a Rose Breasted Grosbeak, a bird we'd seen plenty of around each location we had visited. A stunning bird!

As we had done so well this morning, we decided to carry on and head to Governor's Island. It took about an hour to get there and involved a 2 Tubes and a Ferry, but it was worth it!

This picture taken on the way out the Park. How stunning is this view!

We arrived onto Governor's Island, with tweets saying '2 Bobolink' on the Island. We spoke to a lovely birder who gave us some great information on some target birds, but he hadn't seen the Bobolink, we had a quick look but couldn't see any either.

We followed his directions 'Head for a area that has a large puddle and some horrible buildings' and just as we thought we had gone the wrong way, we spotted a large puddle, with plenty of Black Duck, Gulls and then in the distant a single Killdeer!!

We had seen a low number of Laughing Gull, compared to previous visits, but this pair were perched against the city backdrop.

Not far from them, we found this Loon, a Red Throated, our first species of this in the US and our second tick for the Island.

You get a great view of the Statue from here, and no tourists here!

The reason we visited the Island was to get some Yellow Crowned Night Heron, as they nest on the Island. We were advised by two separate birders head to the School and you will see them.... we thought they would be nesting in plain site but didn't expect this!!

Initially we spotted this Juvenile on the floor collecting some sticks, which we presume was for the nest, We stayed our distance as didn't know how close we could get, with that a local passed the Heron at no more than a few feet away.

He did later fly up into the tree, enabling us to get some close shots.

Look at that eye!!

This was one of the adults on the nest, in total we seen 3 adult birds and 1 juvenile, but only 1 nest, maybe the Juvenile was helping build the nest?

Extremely happy we started heading back to the Ferry port, going back via the Fort to try again for the Bobolink that had been sighting about 2 hours earlier.

After a good search we found 3 Male birds feeding in the grass!

We had exceeded our targets and with a Island just over a mile in size, it holds some amazing wildlife, well worth a visit if you get the chance.

We headed back in Manhattan for a celebratory meal, think it was well deserved!

7th May

Our last day in New York and we had 7 hours for birding left before heading to the Airport.

Like yesterday, we caught the Tube to the Park, this time planning to get off at 81st Street (4 Stops).... that's the last time I let Dad navigate, he told us we had arrived after what turned out to be ONE stop so we arrived at the beginning of the Park and it would have been quicker to walk than to do what we did!

We headed straight for the Feeders, as sightings were slow this early on.

This a Red Bellied Woodpecker about to be attacked by a Downy Woodpecker.

This a Rose Breasted Grosbeak - Female, which is just as pretty as the Male, we thought!

This the Male.

Alot of the birds were perching lovely in the morning light.

White Throated Sparrow

A displaying Red Winged Blackbird

Northern Waterthrush

We seen a couple of birders getting excited and looking up, so we headed over to see what they were on. A White Eyed Vireo, another lifer!

A lovely bird to photograph as it perched a lot longer than the Warblers did.

Just about finishing up and at Turtle Pond, we sat and had some lunch, when this Eastern Kingbird flew over and perched nice and close.

On the way out, we got some tweets and the Azalea Pond was looking good, so again we had a short break here. After about 10 minutes, a Summer Tanager perched above us, another lifer, a similar bird to the Scarlet Tanager.

In this area, we then spotted 3 more lifers in a matter of minutes. We heard a flock of what sounded like Goldfinch, and we seen about 4 American Goldfinch, and amongst them was 3 Pine Siskin!

Then feeding below them was a Swamp Sparrow, a bird that we had missed most days but had been sighted.

And then.. we know!! We seen a flock of Purple Finch feeding in the nearby trees, a couple came down and perched enabling us to get some pics.

Our last bird of the whole trip was yet another lifer a Least Flycatcher, we sat and watched it feed for around 10 minutes.

From there we headed back to the hotel and onto the airport :(

A round-up of what we seen. Over 6 days we seen:

126 Species
57 Life Ticks
1 New butterfly

An average of 58 species a day and almost a 50% life/sighting ratio.
With approx 9000 pictures taken between us.

We had the most amazing trip and hope you enjoyed reading our blogs and looking at our images.

If you need any information on locations, we are more than happy to help.

Thanks For Looking! 
  Thanks For All Your Support!

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Friday, 17 May 2019

New York Spring Migration Trip - Part Two

Date: 2nd May - 7th May
Location: New York - United States

Part One Here
Part Three Here

Still a Mixed Sunshine, Rain + Overcast.
Species Lifers - Day 3 - Jamaica Bay 
Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Savannah Sparrow, Least Sandpiper, House Wren, Boat Tailed Grackle, Forster's Tern, American Oystercatcher, Field Sparrow, Tri-Coloured Heron, American Wigeon, Short Billed Dowitcher.

Species Lifers - Day 4 - Central Park
Red Breasted Nuthatch, Orchard Oriole.

4th of May, we planned a trip to Jamaica Bay. A coastal reserve next to JFK airport, a Tube ride, a very helpful bus driver and we arrived. It was drizzly rain but on entering the reserve the birds were everywhere Tree Swallow, Bank Swallow buzzing in the skies but our first spot was a Greater Yellowlegs, distant but a lifer.

The grey wet condition was making it difficult but waders could be seen out on mud flats, Red Knot, Dunlin, Plover and Short Billed Dowitcher

 And Brant.

From behind us we could hear what sounded like a Wren, it was a House Wren, my first Wren in USA, note the longer bill.

Tree Swallow were everywhere buzzing 2/3 ft above our head such beautiful birds.

We counted 6 Osprey nest around the reserve, all occupied.

The grey weather did mean that the Tree Swallow were sat and even mating was going on.

This male was sat on one of the many nest boxes around reserve.

Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow plus a sub species of Barn Swallow the H.R.  erythogaster (Rusty Orange Breast)

 Boat Tailed Grackle was calling to its mate another lifer.

Willet a shore feeding bird.

It even landed for a better look.

3 Forster's Tern were great to watch, feeding, diving into water and complete submerging into water.

 Apart from the many feeding birds like Song Sparrow, Mockingbird, American Robin, Kinglet, Chipping Sparrow, and many more another lifer was spotted a Savannah Sparrow.

Did I mention the Tree Swallow, you just cant help snapping them!

Ospreys soaring overhead, just so much to look at.

Yellow Rumped Warbler, this a Female.

Even Ruby Throated Hummers in the drizzle!

We had to walk half way around the reserve and it was wet, we stopped at a bench to wait for it to go off, hopefully. While sat a Lesser Yellowlegs landed, nice to see one away from Lodmoor.

Least Sandpiper (lifer)

Spotted Sandpiper, Blue Winged Teal also from bench.

The rain didn't really stop but we had better views of the 7 Least Sandpiper, what a bench!

We continued on around to some shelter with Magnolia Warblers, Flicker, Scarlet Tanager, House Finch and Brown Headed Cowbirds to keep us company.

We got to the Information Centre to dry off, some helpful wardens were there for any info, and a good display with a before and after of when the Reserve was built. Our plan was to wait until rain stopped and walk around again, it didn't stop but we walked around anyway.

American Oystercatcher was now on the Tide Line, it turns out the morning we arrived at the perfect time, the tide was right in , most of the Swallows had now taken to the skies higher up, but still plenty to see.

A brief spell of Sunshine and a American Painted Lady appeared plus this Sulphur Yellow a new butterfly for us both.

Lauren still has the luck, open wing shot!

Glossy Ibis overhead.

Another Lifer, the Field Sparrow, United States has 40 species of Sparrow 40 !!

Yellow Warblers were singing all around the reserve.

Next a real highlight, I spotted through the bushes a Tri-coloured Heron a stunning bird, and another lifer.

The weather had finally changed and some blue skies had appeared.

Ruddy Duck in their natural habitat.

American Herring Gull, a bit bigger than ours also known as Smithsonian Gull having a crab lunch.

Still singing Yellow Warblers.

House Finch with Sunflower seed.

That was the West Pond covered, we now headed across road to East Pond this was overlooking JFK airport but didn't stop the Osprey hunting on the pond or us spotting our first American Wigeon.

Laughing Gulls along with 2 (rare here) Lesser Black Backed Gull seen

On the way out of the Reserve, we saw a stunning male Towhee, a great day was had with 70 species seen and 11 lifers ticked!!

5th May

It rained constantly so a morning at Central Park, but still had a lifer in the form of a Orchard Oriole and plenty of birds to be seen at the North End.

This picture taken with my phone in Central Park In North Woods, you can't see the rain but trust me it was pouring down. 
We were the only birders in Central Park that morning.

The American Robin feeling the conditions.

Nesting just a few feet from the normally busy paths.

As I said still birds about this a Blue Winged Warbler.

Common Yellowthroat sheltering.

We eventually got to the Jackie Onassis Reservoir to see Gadwall and a Double Breasted Cormorant. We put our camera away and headed back to the hotel to do some sightseeing.

One of the newest sights in New York is the Vessel, a bit weird
I think it should be called the Pretzel building its located in Midtown Manhattan, Hudson Yards.

No shortage of Police here!

We got the Tube to Times Square for some photos.

Selfie time, back to the Hotel and to get ready for the lasts couple of days birding. 
Part 3 on it's way.

Thanks For Looking! 
  Thanks For All Your Support!

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