Tuesday, 14 May 2019

New York Spring Migration Trip - Part One

Date: 2nd - 7th May
Location: New York - United States
Mixed Sunshine, Rain + Overcast

Species Lifers Day One: Central Park
Warbling Vireo, Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Scarlet Tanager, Black Throated Blue Warbler, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Blue Winged Warbler, Veery, Great Crested Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Chipping Sparrow, Wood Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Prairie Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Green Heron.

Species Lifers Day 2: Greenwood Cemetery + Prospect Park
Blue Headed Vireo, Monk Parakeet, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Towhee, Chestnut Sided Warbler, Northern Rough Winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Purple Finch, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grey Gnatcatcher, Worm Eating Warbler, Solitary Sandpiper

We've been lucky enough to go to New York a few times now, not for the normal touristy things but for the bird life in Central Park and surrounding areas, its amazing! We (Me & Lauren) had been planning this trip for some time and New York Spring Migration started for us on May 2nd slap bang in middle of the season.
A 7 hour flight from Heathrow, 2 Subway rides and we arrived at our hotel just 8 blocks from the entrance to Central Park. By the time we arrived it was 3pm local or 9pm UK time, so we planned on get a few ticks in before bedtime, not disappointed our first lifer was this Warbling Vireo, the trees were covered in Central Park making it quite tricky to get clean shots of the many birds in the canopy.

Our next was a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, similar to our Goldcrest 
A Summer Tanager, a bird you could hardly miss was high up in the trees.

Along side American Robin, Grey Catbird, Hermit Thrush, Downy Woodpecker and White Throated sparrow to name a few more. But a lovely bird was the Black Throated Blue Warbler a seemed very common in the Ramble.

A Rose Breasted Grosbeak suddenly appeared along side the Black Throated Blue Warbler, a few more of this bird later.

No trip would be complete without mentioning Northern Cardinal, the punk rocker of New York with its constant calling and also the Blue Jay making a great sound track to accompany us.

A few posing birds from the Ramble, Mourning Dove

Not a lifer but with summer plumage, so spectacular was the Common Yellowthroat

Another lifer was this slightly dodgy shot of the Palm Warbler.

Hermit Thrush, also posing nicely.

I've seen Ovenbirds on my other trips to the States but again summer plumage a little beauty!

Plenty of Grey Catbird, don't feel too bad about missing the Cornwall bird!

So many shots of the Black Throated Blue Warbler but it just kept popping into view.

Veery was happy to stand a while.

With it now being almost 2am UK time we headed back towards the hotel stopping off at the Pond, lots of Turtle apparently there are 5 species in the park this one being Red-Eared Slider.

A bird I'd been hoping on seeing was a Green Heron, and in the darkest spot around the Pond we found one!! A few more on this cracker later.

 Central Park being surrounded by buildings has a amazing diversity of wildlife and Raccoons wonder around inches from us with no one giving them a second look.

So day one done and 16 new birds seen with a day total at 47 species not bad for 4 hours.

Day 2 - Greenwood Cemetary
After a few hours sleep and Breakfast we boarded the New York subway 20 stops later we arrived at Greenwood Cemetery, a renowned place for birds with a couple of small Lakes and plenty of trees for the bird on migration to feed. With Chimney Swift, Barn Swallow plus a sub species of Barn Swallow (H. r. erythrogaster) with its orange chest. But a stunning bird was the Yellow Warbler, aptly named!

Mockingbird numbers were high sitting on Gravestones, just keeping a eye on us.

In previous trips, Red Tailed Hawks were the highest counted raptors this time it was... Merlin, I know right!

The Warbler species we also seen the most was the Yellow Rumped Warbler probably 100's

Blue Headed Vireo

A closer view of the Vireo.

Great Egrets in USA don't mind you walking by a few feet from them, not like ours!

Mockingbird still checking.

Our little brown jobs in the UK, sometimes we don't give them a second glance but a Baltimore Oriole definitely makes you double take.

Monk Parakeets were suppose to have made there home in Cemetery but not sure how we missed the huge nest and colony on entrance gate!

Day 2 Prospect Park

We had planned to spend the morning at Green Wood Cemetery, moving onto Prospect Park for the afternoon, we finished in the Cemetery earlier then planned. Heading straight into Prospect Park.
Our first sighting in the park were Red Winged Blackbird and some distant 
Hirundines, that we originally couldn't ID.

As we headed over to the main Lake, we spotted this Eastern Ground Squirrel or Chipmunk, a little cutey!

Around the eastern side of the Lake, there were plenty of birds, more Kinglets, Song Sparrow.

American Goldfinch, a stunning bird!

There were a few Tree Swallow and Northern Rough Winged Swallows feeding over the Lake, aswell as Chimney Swift and Barn Swallow. We won't insert pictures here, wait until Part Two for these pictures!

Just before the rain started, Dad managed to spot 3 Indigo Bunting, they were very flighty birds, but look at the colour, this is a Juvenile Male.

As the rain started we headed for "cover" in the Upper Pool area. This area was a highlight with Eastern Towhee, Chestnut Sided Warbler, Green Heron and Solitary Sandpiper in the space of 15 minutes! We waited and waited for the rain to go off. The birds started to take cover so we copied and we found a Bridge and with that the rain stopped!

After the rain stopped, we headed back to the Upper Pool and the birds were on full show! A Green Heron landed about 10 foot in front of us and had a stroll, whilst we snapped.

Like a little punk rocker!

The rain had bought the Warblers to the floor to feed.

This Black and White Warbler with a little grub.

We started to finish up here, and head back as the light was fading.

The same spot as the Green Heron, a Solitary Sandpiper come to feed for a few minutes about 5 foot from us!

On the way out, we visited the Vale of Cashmere as some sightings had been coming out of there and upon arrival, we wondered why. After a few minutes, Dad spotted a Ruby Throated Hummingbird, which perched for a few minutes!

Whilst we tried to relocate the Hummingbird, a Blue Grey Gnatcatcher came and landed at touching distant, meaning we had to zoom out to 100!

Last sighting of the day was another beautiful Chipping Sparrow.

So day one done and 13 new birds seen with a day total at 66 species, another great day despite the rain!

PART TWO - Click Here
PART THREE - Click Here

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