Trip Reports
Central Park (New York County) — April 17, 2016

Note: Many thanks to NYSYBC Youth Member Isaiah Sigman, who did a terrific job leading this trip! Thanks also to adult advisor Lila Fried, a NYSYBC alumna and recent graduate of Oberlin College, for joining us!

Birding the Lake, photo by Carena Pooth
Birding the Lake, photo by Carena Pooth

On Sunday April 17, I led the New York State Young Birders Club through Central Park. This park is one of New York State’s greatest birding destinations. In mid-April though, North American wind patterns can prevent overnight migration into the park, and unfortunately April 17 was one of those days. However, the birds that were in the park were mostly quite cooperative, and despite the unfavorable conditions, our group had a fantastic day, punctuated by great looks at breeding plumage Pine Warblers, a bird that can be very hard to get good looks at on its breeding ground.

We met at 7:30am, at the 72nd Street entrance to the park, and were immediately greeted by a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, which was a life bird for some. We began our walk by heading up a mud-covered rock face to Falconers Hill, an excellent location for sparrows such as Savannah and Field Sparrow, but the only sparrow species on the hill this time was the Chipping Sparrow.

Pine Warbler, photo by Dan Cantor
Pine Warbler, photo by Dan Cantor

Our next stop was Central Park’s most famous birding destination, the Ramble. The majority of migrants were concentrated at the Point, where the group had fleeting looks at a Winter Wren, a bird that is somewhat uncommon in the park and breeds in boreal regions. After a walk through the Ramble, we ran into another birding group at a well-known Central Park birding location named Maintenance Meadow (a small open field at the northeast corner of the Ramble). Some of us saw a Field Sparrow, and everybody saw a Pine Warbler high up in the London Plane tree canopy of the field.

I also brought the group to Turtle Pond, a good spot for birding in early spring because of the hatch-outs of insects that regularly occur over the pond.  There we saw several Pine Warblers feeding in White Pine trees.  Further along the path bordering Turtle Pond, we saw more gorgeous Pine Warblers, which fed actively no more than ten feet from us.  Everyone in our group was able to see the little birds’ bright yellow plumage.
We stopped for lunch on a stone bench on the east side of Turtle Pond, and several sharp-eyed birders picked out a Northern Rough-winged Swallow among the feeding Tree Swallows. After lunch, I led the group back out to the 72nd Street exit, but not until after we photographed the Pine Warbler show.

Overall it was a very good day for birding, with the cool temperatures concentrating birds into areas where our entire group could easily view them.  Special thanks to several new club members who attended this trip, and to Lila Fried, a club alumna, who joined us in Central Park.

                                                                              — Isaiah Sigman, Age 15

View field trip photo gallery

             List of Birds Seen on this Trip
             by Josh Cantor

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow

Tree Swallow
N. Rough-winged Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow  

      Species Total: 41