Trip Reports
Central Park & Audubon Exhibit Tour, New York County (Manhattan) — April 7, 2013

Many thanks to NYSYBC member Marc Katz and his dad, Charlie Katz, for leading this walk, and to Reyna Franco (Marc's mom) for coordinating with the New-York Historical Society Museum for our special tour of their John James Audubon watercolor exhibit.

The stream where we found the Winter Wren, photo by Carena Pooth
The stream where we found the Winter Wren
photo by Carena Pooth

Our trip began early in the bustle and tumble of Manhattan, right across from the New York Historical Society with a large group of excited and eager young birders. Marc Katz and his dad led us into the paths of the Ramble to see our first birds of the morning. We quickly saw a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree and a Cooper's Hawk flew over. As we neared the Lake, we saw some waterfowl including a Double-crested Cormorant, Gadwall, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and some water-loving songbirds like Red-winged Blackbirds. We also passed a small stream which surprised us with close looks at a Winter Wren. We moved on to the well-tenanted feeders of Central Park where we noticed a few interesting birds like a Fox Sparrow and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. We then walked north and stopped at Turtle Pond to check for any other waterfowl. Though we were disappointed there, we quickly made up for it as we reached the Arthur Ross Pinetum and the Reservoir. At the Pinetum, we saw a Barred Owl perched inside the top of a pine, heard a Pine Warbler (and some got great looks at it on the lawn), and saw a Hermit Thrush fly off from the robins underneath the trees. The reservoir held some ducks such as Ruddy Ducks and Bufflehead but also held Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot, as well as some gulls such as Great Black-backed Gulls. We walked back to the Belvedere Castle for lunch and saw Golden-crowned Kinglets on the way. As we were eating lunch we saw some turtles such as Red-eared Sliders in the Turtle Pond below. We also saw an Eastern Phoebe, Northern Flicker, and Northern Mockingbird hanging around the pond below us. On the way back to the New-York Historical Society's Museum we saw a few neat additions to our list including Brown Creeper and Hairy Woodpecker.

Observing waterfowl on the Reservoir, photo by Sue Freiburger
Observing waterfowl on the Reservoir
photo by Sue Freiburger

We then proceeded to go into the New-York Historical Museum for a tour of the Audubon painting exhibition. Our guide described Audubon's early Haitian origins as well as his young adult years attempting to work a business before moving on to America and using his artistic skills. The paintings of Audubon's early painting life reflect a very dead and boring view of birds; most of the birds are shown dead, hanging from a string around their legs or a wing. However, as we moved further through Audubon's life work, our guide pointed out the increasing detail and life in the paintings. Birds were being depicted alive and in action. An observer can begin to feel the emotions of the painter and the bird. Finally, we finished the tour with a tour of the Birds of North American paintings and an amazing view of a copy of the giant book of Audubon's Birds of North America. We also sketched a few of the drawings to learn more about their feeling and positions. The guide also described the way that the book was sent out in subscriptions like a magazine, as well as the methods used to create the book using copper plates. The artwork was amazing and it was an even greater experience to compare them with their living inspirations outside in the Park.

Nathaniel Hernandez, age 18

      View photo gallery

       List of Birds Seen on this Trip  by Brendan Murtha, age 13

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Ruddy Duck
Pied-Billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove

Barred Owl - NYSYBC lifer!
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird European Starling
Pine Warbler
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Species Total: 48