Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Birding the Bronx River at New York Botanical Garden

Wood Ducks benefit from the habitat conserved at New York 
Botanical Garden (NYBG). This species breeds in tree cavities
near water, two qualifications which can be found in the forest
at NYBG. 

Although birds can be found throughout the garden (and some
species, such as Red-breasted Nuthatches might be more likely
around certain plant collections, like conifers), most of my
favorite spots are shown on this map. The Thain Family Forest
contains roughly four short trails that are worth hours of
combing for both birds and tranquility. The model wetland
can be accessed just outside the trail at the center of this map
(but not shown). Also not shown are the Twin Ponds, which
would be on the left side of the map, just outside the forest
and below the river. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Birding the Bronx River at the Bronx Zoo

The Bronz Zoo is a great place to see birds- and not just the species on exhibit!

A mother Wood Duck with her ducklings swims on the
Bronx River, on May 12, 2017, at the Bronx River,
seen from the Mitsubishi River Walk. Species like this

are able to breed and raise their young in the habitat
around the Bronx River.

Habitat along the Bronx River at the Bronx Zoo includes
remaining forest of Tulip Trees, oaks, and other native trees.
Other habitats include mudflats and some wetlands along the
river (and some in animal enclosures). While most species
just migrate through, there are species that breed here too.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Birding the Bronx River along Soundview Park

The mouth of the Bronx River, emptying into the East River, which is a tidal
straight between Long Island Sound and the Upper New York Bay.. 

Industry is still part of the Bronx River and this is in full view
at Soundview Park, but there are birds here.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Birding the Bronx River Corridor

Looking downstream along the Bronx River, 
at New York Botanical Garden in June 2017

A sign at the Bronx Zoo (at the World of Birds) depicts 
an American Redstart and notes the ecological importance of the 
Bronx River for migratory birds. 

I saw an American Redstart chasing insects in a tree about 
50 feet from the sign pictured above, at the Bronx Zoo.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Gray-cheeked Thrush or Bicknell's Thrush?

I spent most of the day on May 20, 2017, birding at New York Botanical Garden, in Bronx County, NY.

In addition to a good mix of warblers, I encountered four species of thrush. I was able to identify three of the species, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush, and American Robin. I cannot identify the fourth because the potential species are reportedly not distinguishable by sight alone, per David Allen Sibley and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

When submitting the bird to eBird, the designation as "Gray-cheeked/Bicknell's Thrush Catharus minimus/bicknelli" was flagged as rare for this date and location.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Birding Crotona Park in the Bronx

Northern Waterthrush, Crotona Park, May 18, 2017

Previous to November 2016, there is no bird data on eBird for Crotona Park. Who knows what species were flitting among the treetops?

It came to my attention- and a couple of other birders- that this park has some interesting conditions that might make it a good place to bird watch.

The park has a variety of mature trees, especially oaks and black cherries, which support hordes of arthropods and might prove attractive to migrating birds  The current park staff have also planted many native trees, including many tuliptrees, which should bode well for the future of birds (and birding!) at this site.

A meadow in the northeast section of Crotona Park, Bronx, NY

As birds migrate along the Atlantic Flyway, they need spaces to stop. Central Park is a well-birded migrant trap; in Manhattan, the lack of space for birds to stop funnels them into concentrated areas like Central Park. Crotona Park is also a bright green spot in the lower half of the Bronx. The top half of the Bronx has much more green space in Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park, both of which are hotspots for birds, but the spaces are large and birds can be diffuse. The Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden are north of Crotona and are also great for birds. However, below 180th Street, there is not much green space overall. St. Mary's Park or Fanz Sigel Park might also host birds; Soundview Park, east of Hunt's Point, could also have favorable bird conditions in the lower half of the Bronx, as there are many cotttonwood trees, some grassland, and a small marsh there.

With the combination of large, flowering trees and a surrounding of concrete and asphalt, Crotona Park proved to be an excellent place to observe migrating birds.

Bay-breasted Warbler, Crotona Park, May 17, 2017