A Travellerspoint blog

How much wood can a woodcock cock?

Manhattan, NYC

rain 52 °F

Between brunch with Tian and an evening rehearsal, I was able to squeeze in a bit of NYC birding. First, I visited Bryant Park in hopes of seeing a dancing woodcock that had been seen this morning just north of the ice skating rink there. Bryant Park is THE place to find woodcocks in the city — there was even one individual who may have overwintered here this year! I suspect these sight-challenged birds have a propensity to get “trapped” by a green space like Bryant Park being surrounded by so many skyscrapers — certainly not a habitat to which they have adapted for the millennia of their existence on Earth. Upon arriving, I found a good amount of passerines including this SONG SPARROW:

And after about five minutes of searching, sure enough I found the amazingly beautiful AMERICAN WOODCOCK right where Manhattan Bird Alert reported it — north of the ice rink! Here is a less-zoomed photo to give an idea of its surroundings:

And here are the close-ups of the bird:

In this head-on shot you can see why the woodcock commonly faces death in large cities: eyes on the sides of its head, resulting in poor frontal vision. Hope this one makes it north!

It posed for a loooong time — if only all birds could be as cooperative as the Woodcock! This GRAY CATBIRD, though, soon stole the show, allowing for a “double photo:” one of my favorite types of bird photography! In addition to the few individuals who wintered around the city this year, Catbirds and other early migrants are definitely starting to move through. Awesome!

Next, I took the B train to the Central Park Ramble in hopes of seeing Fox Sparrows which have recently been reported at the bird feeders there. On the way from the train station I passed some beautiful azalea flowers right next to the aptly-named Azalea Pond:

This WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH posed beautifully for me:

And snagged a large peanut from the feeders:

Spring is here — the RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS have conspicuously returned.

And although it was a fleeting glimpse, I did spot the FOX SPARROW far back in the Ramble, rooting around in the leaf litter:


Then I walked to the Central Park Reservoir where both Iceland & Lesser Black-backed Gulls have been seen recently, as well as a Red-breasted Merganser. I immediately found the usual suspects there, including this group of NORTHERN SHOVELERS swirling around, feeding:

The odd one out: male BUFFLEHEAD!


Female RUDDY DUCK as it started to rain:

Soon, it quickly became too rainy to enjoy, so I found a Hungarian pastry shop before my rehearsal. YUM!

Bird-of-the-day to the adorable American Woodcock with runner-up to the Fox Sparrow. Stay tuned: on monday Tian and I will travel down to Washington, DC for sightseeing. (and a little birding :))

Good birding,
World Life List: 1111 Species

Posted by skwclar 20:26 Archived in USA

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Fun post! I lived on 111th St. right by the Hungarian Pastry Shop if that was the one you were at. The almond horn was one of my favorites!! See you on some walks in Oak Park.

by Joanne Dusatko

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