A Travellerspoint blog

Will my luck turn around?

New York, NY

semi-overcast 44 °F

Today my original plan was to bird a few locations in Brooklyn first and then head back to Central Park. My target birds in Brooklyn were a Varied Thrush in Prospect Park, Razorbill at Coney Island Beach, and Eurasian Wigeon at Bush Terminal Piers Park. Then in Central Park, I was hoping to find an out-of-season Wood Thrush as well as Snow Goose, Green-winged Teal, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Boat-tailed Grackle, all of which have been seen in the last few days. Upon arriving to Prospect Park around 8:15am, I found an abundance of both male and female RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS (sexing is determined by the amount of read on the head):


BLUE JAYS are another common one among nearly all NYC parks:

Among the many White-throated Sparrows present, I did find a single FOX SPARROW which was a wonderful addition to the birdlife in Prospect Park this morning.

Unfortunately, both the many other birders searching and I were unable to find the Varied Thrush, so I checked Manhattan Bird Alert, and upon seeing a report of a Thick-billed Murre in the Bronx, immediately changed my plans. I hopped on the Q and 6 trains taking me to Pelham Bay Park in the northeast Bronx, the opposite corner of the city, in hopes of seeing this species that I have only seen once before. Thick-billed Murre is a definite rarity for NYC waters (the only “expected” Alcid species in NYC would be Razorbill) so I was really hoping for it to stick around for me.

As many birders can probably relate, luck runs in streaks, and not only did I fail to find the Thick-billed Murre, but on the way back to Manhattan I also missed the train by about one second and had to wait twenty minutes on the freezing platform for the next one. INCREDIBLY frustrating! The only bird I photographed in the Bronx was a lone TURKEY VULTURE:

BUT I have to give a huge thank-you to a super kind birder named John Wall for the ride back to the subway, and we learned that we share a common talent for keyboard playing and a shared enthusiasm for old music (though he, unlike myself, is a bona fide expert). So I was really hoping I would have time to bird Central Park for a bit to redeem the day before I had to head to work. Based off my calculations, I had just enough time to cover the northern end of Central Park before heading to work, so I was hoping to find Green-winged Teal, Boat-tailed Grackle, and Red-headed Woodpecker. Upon walking through the Loch, I saw one of the resident RED-TAILED HAWKS:

Unfortunately, I dipped on both the Green-winged Teal and Boat-tailed Grackle at the “Pool,” but I did find the resident immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER that I believe has been hanging around the area of 98th St for months now. Still a great bird, even though I have seen this particular individual before:

And I noticed that the red is growing in more and more on its head and nape:

Well, even though I dipped on all but 1 of my target birds, it was still very nice to get out to the three of the most beautiful NYC parks this morning: Prospect, Pelham Bay, and Central. Bird-of-the-day to the Red-headed Woodpecker, with runner-up to the Fox Sparrow. Stay tuned, hopefully my birding next weekend will turn my ongoing foul luck around!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1108 Species

Posted by skwclar 15:19 Archived in USA

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