Weather continues to discourage migration

Since the very promising Wednesday, April 17, of last week, we have had five consecutive poor birding days. Continued cold weather and northerly winds surely are to blame. By now we normally would be seeing great numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, but birders are tallying only one or two per outing. Last year these warblers were already abundant by the 17th.

The standout migrant so far has been Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Last year this was a difficult bird to to observe all throughout spring migration. I believe I had only two during all of April. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, totals of three to six gnatcatchers were the norm among eBird lists that I checked, and my own counts were also in this range.

Other warblers have appeared, but perhaps only one or two birds across the whole of Central Park: Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush, for example.

All three swallow species have been appearing on the Lake, along with a Black-crowned Night-Heron or two. I had my first-of-season Chimney Swifts on Sunday over the Lake.

I also had my first-of-year Red-breasted Nuthatch in Inwood Hill Park on Saturday (heard only), followed by a close-up visual of one in the North End on Sunday.

Conditions for migration may be briefly more favorable during the middle of this week. We will see!

 

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Longstanding nemesis bird finally enters my list

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs (Photo credit: Len Blumin)

I added a number of good birds since my last post: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on Sunday the 14th — a tough bird to find early in the season, of which there have been only a few reports so far in Central Park; Northern Rough-winged Swallow, which I had over the Meer on Monday and over the Lake this morning; Snowy Egret, seen from around 93rd Street and the East River among a breeding colony of Great and Snowy Egrets on Mill Rock Island; and, today, Greater Yellowlegs!

Credit goes to ace birder Stephen Chang, who appears in my book. He found two Greater Yellowlegs on the Sherman Creek mud flats of Swindler Cove Park in Inwood last evening and posted his sighting on eBird. This morning eBird alerted me to his observation, as the species is one I have not yet observed this year (or ever) in Manhattan. I made many trips to Swindler Cove in the heat of August last year to try to see large shorebirds, but after my initial sighting of a likely Short-billed Dowitcher, no others appeared for me. I was delighted to see this one venture out on the mud flats roughly 20 minutes after my 11:15 a.m. arrival.

I then went to Fort Tryon Park to raptor-watch, but I saw only three Turkey Vultures gliding north over the Hudson and two Red-tailed Hawks.