Spring Migration is under way, and the Warblers have arrived in full force! After traveling thousands of miles from their Winter homes in Central and South America, these little birds pass over our area and need to refuel on insects. Large green spaces are hard to come by amidst our urban sprawl, so places like Central and Prospects Parks draw huge numbers of birds (and the bird watchers who admire them.) This is one reason birding is so great around NYC, it’s easy to find the birds. We entered Prospect Park at 8am Saturday morning, May 3rd, via the 16th Street entrance. We were greeted immediately not by a Warbler, but by a vibrant Baltimore Oriole.
We walked a little further into the park and hit the jackpot- a tree dripping with Warblers! Well there were only 3, but still, it was more than we could focus on at once. There was a Chestnut-Sided Warbler LL, a Black-Throated Blue Warbler, a Magnolia Warbler and a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet we thought was a rare Warbler species until we properly ID’d it 2 hours later.
We sat on steps next to the special tree while eating breakfast (Sarah is no longer allowed to eat while walking, way too much cream cheese and coffee has fallen onto her binocular lenses) and saw Redstarts and Black and White Warblers. Black and White Warblers were the most numerous species around, we must have seen 25 over the course of the day. They are rather cooperative birds and allow you to get a good look at them too.
As we made our way to the Ravine, we saw many friendly birders. One Sage British Man in a Safari Vest helped us identify our first Ovenbird LL, and another group pointed out a Worm-Eating Warbler LL. This bird has an unfortunate name and is rather drab looking, but it really excited the birders, so it must have a great personality. Birding tip for fellow novices: If you see a group of people staring at something through binoculars, go there. They will show you a cool bird you never would have found on your own.
At the Ravine we saw our first Northern Waterthrush LL, and a lovely Northern Parula.
Bird sightings were slowing down by early afternoon, but as we made our way to the Peninsula, we did spot a pair of Blue-Winged Teals and Black-Crowned Night Heron perched in a tree.
We also saw additional Warblers species, like the Yellow Warbler, and the Common Yellowthroat.
This was a record for the greatest total number of species we’ve seen in one day at Prospect Park (see full list below) and we added many to our Life Lists. With such an epic day of birding already behind us, how do you think we’d spend the rest of the afternoon and evening? That’s right, more birding in Jamaica Bay, followed by watching a movie about birding! More to come in Big Day: Part Two. Until then, a word from our mascot, the House Sparrow:
Our List: Prospect Park 5/3/14 8:00 am – 2:30 pm
House Sparrow (!)
Ovenbird – LL
Black-Throated Blue Warbler
American Redstart (male)
Black and White Warbler
White-Eyed Vireo – LL
Worm-Eating Warbler – LL
Veery – LL
Northern Waterthrush – LL
Red-Tailed Hawk (chased out of the ravine by a grackle)
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Peregrine Falcon (spotted over the lake from the peninsula)
Double Crested Cormorant (two flying overhead)
Pigeon (nesting beneath an overpass)
Gull sp. (identifying gulls is for the birds)
51 species in one outing. A new record for the bird nerds!