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