Prairie warbler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, April 25, brought more warblers to Central Park, though the only ones in great numbers were Yellow-rumped Warblers, as would be expected. My morning walk had three Black-and-white Warblers (also five Blue-headed Vireos) but otherwise the new warblers that appeared did so singly, or close to it.
I saw a male Prairie Warbler twice. The first time was at 8:20 a.m. just west of Azalea Pond. The bird appeared with close to thirty birders nearby (I believe that Joe DiCostanzo spotted it first), and all were treated to close, sunlit views. This was my first Prairie Warbler of the year.
I returned to the park for a late-afternoon walk. On a not-too-hot day this can be productive: birders are fewer and migrants can become active again. I found a shady, unoccupied part of the Ramble where I was hearing some songs: Northern Parula and Prairie Warbler. As I was standing there, the male Prairie fluttered down to within ten feet of me and perched low. What a treat!
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!