Thursday, 29 January 2015

NYC Birding - Winter Storm Juno

"Please Do Not Feed The Birds" 

I arrived back from New York City early this morning, I was due to fly back on the 27th Jan but after flight cancellations due to the Winter Storm Juno hitting the city during the week, I had to stay longer in the Big Apple (what a shame!). This meant more time exploring the city and getting new bird ticks to try and beat Wayne (the other half of NSL-Birding) with life list totals.

 Ring-Billed Gull

As I was staying with family members and friends who weren't into bird-watching, I set a few hours aside every couple of days and tried to walk through Central Park as much as possible, although it proved in NYC there's birds everywhere, whilst shopping I spotted a small group of Sparrows outside Macy's ! In that group there was 1 White-Throated Sparrow, whom I put some grain down for, and within seconds I was surrounded by them!

White-Throated Sparrow

I caught the boat across to the Statue of Liberty, and there were stacks of Ring-Billed Gulls and Starlings, aswell as a small group of Brant Geese and Canada Geese. After a walk around the Island and some night shots of the Manhattan Skyline, I was up early the next day for a bus trip around the city, whilst waiting for a bus change, I spotted some little birds feeding in the bushes, 2 of which were Tufted Titmouse and then a Downy Woodpecker appeared!

Tufted Titmouse

Downy Woodpecker

I jumped off the bus and had a quick wander through Central Park, I heard the Red-Tailed Hawk within minutes but just couldn't find him, so moved on, there was a roost of Mourning Doves in one tree, with Blue Jays in the next tree across calling. I was just leaving the park when I saw some feathers falling from the tree above, it was only the "Pale Male" Red-Tailed Hawk on a kill about 10 foot above me, I snapped away and caught up with the others.

Blue Jay

Mourning Doves

Red-Tailed Hawk

The next day we woke up to snow (before this Storm hit) about 4-6 inches in most places, so another trip to take some pictures of Central Park in the snow was in order, again plenty of Blue Jays and seen at least 3 Red-Tailed Hawks around the park all sat just to far away for my 135mm lens.

Then a bright red bird flew straight in front of me and landed 3 or 4 foot away from me! A Northern Cardinal, amazing bright colored bird, which quickly attracted a crowd of non-birders. Overhead was a hunting Red-Tailed Hawk which is causing havoc with the Feral Pigeons / Rock Doves. Last bird of the day was a pair of Rusty Blackbirds, calling to each other.

Northern Cardinal

Rusty Blackbird

A week later and 7 new ticks, along with an extra 6 I got a few years back whilst in NYC, the storm was on it's way so all flights were cancelled and a travel ban was placed for NYC for that evening, exciting, after having to move hotels and re-book onto flights, we settled in for another 2 days (1 night) and spent more time in Central Park where I seen more of the same aswell as a Red-Bellied Woodpecker (only had my phone on me, so no pictures of this one unfortunately!)

After an amazing birthday spend in New York, and getting stranded, I'm glad to be home, and more blogs will be back soon! I will be returning to NYC to spend more time bird-watching there soon!

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