New Parent Red-Tails Come to Tompkins Square Park!

Two eggs are visible in Chris and Dora's nest. Photo © Sandrine Lee

Two eggs are visible in Chris and Dora's nest. Photo © Sandrine Lee

The morning of Monday, March 31 started off slowly, but took a quick turn for the exciting when we received a call about the pair of red-tailed hawks nesting next to Tompkins Square Park. After a few years of hosting juvenile red-tails, Tompkins Square Park is finally home to two nesting adults! Karen Waltuch and Leni Stern reported that they have been excitedly watching the hawks from inside the Christodora Building, where the hawks have taken up residence on a 7th-floor air conditioning unit. This young pair is very active—they’ve been flying about the park and putting on quite a show for onlookers in the East Village.

 

Monday’s call from Karen came, however, due to concern that building management and the tenant of the apartment where the hawks have chosen to nest might want to remove the nest. Many people are unaware that hawks, along with their nests and eggs, are federally protected, and that removing them is illegal. In response, NYC Audubon communicated with the building manager to ensure that this nest remains undisturbed, and we have since gotten word that the tenant is in fact delighted to have the hawks nesting right outside the window.

 

The Tompkins Square hawks (we’ve heard that they’re being call “Chris” and “Dora” in honor of their chosen building’s name) are already famous. They’ve been the subject of several blog posts and news articles since they started nest-building in February. Bruce Yolton, who runs the website urbanhawks.blogs.com, had been observing the birds closely along with other City hawk watchers, wondering when the female would finally start laying eggs and brooding, as she is several weeks behind some of the more established nests in the City. Well, yesterday morning we received a lovely photo from Karen and Leni looking down on the nest—and two eggs are clearly visible! We wish Chris and Dora a successful nesting season.

 

Click here to read more about red-tailed hawks in New York City, and learn what you can do to help protect them.

 

– Kaitlyn Parkins

 

Costa Rica 2014: Cruising the Rio Frio and back to San Jose

An Amazon Kingfisher is dwarfed by a male Ringed Kingfisher

I needn’t tell you what time it was when we boarded our boat to cruise the Rio Frio, if you’ve been paying attention to past posts, you ‘ll know already. A purple gallinule and a southern lapwing greeted us at the bend in the river where we boarded. As we motored quietly up the river, we saw dozens of kingfishers. Mostly beautiful green Amazon kingfishers, but also their smaller cousins the green kingfisher and their larger relative, the ringed kingfisher. The kingfishers were a treat to watch as the flashed their colorful feathers, chased each other from perches, and clacked their rattle-like calls at each other.

A Caiman Glides Past Unconcerned Black-necked Stilts

Along the banks, spectacled caiman, river turtles and iguanas basked in the early morning sun. One tree, host to a day-roost for night hunting wading birds had many boat-billed herons perching in it, deep in its shady interior. Anhingas and cormorants dried themselves on sunny branches everywhere.

The pools along the river were filled with wading birds: great egrets, white ibis, snowy egrets, little blue herons, glossy ibis, limpkin, and even a distant roseate spoonbill. Black-necked stilts, spotted and least sandpipers, and even a few killdeer patrolled the water’s edge and dry flats, joined by hundreds of northern jacanas, including many juvenile birds still following their fathers around, (Jacana females take no part in raising their young once they have laid eggs in one of the nests built by the several males in her territory.)

At one large pool, large enough for the boat to maneuver in, we watched a pair of Nicaraguan grackles, a species endemic to the area around Lake Nicaragua. Here, dozens of caiman basked in the sun, while limpkins and other wading birds foraging in the shallows around them.

Back on the main stream, in water close to the shore, a tiny stripe-headed bird floated along. This sungrebe is the only new world-member of this family, distantly related to rails and coots, they have lobed toes, rather than webbed feet. On land we saw grey-necked wood-rails, chicken-sized rails, come out to the water’s edge to forage, very brazen for normally secretive marsh birds.

Sungrebe on the Rio Frio at Cano Negro

On our return trip we caught some migration in action. Prothonotary warblers and northern waterthrush both migrate at night, so we got to see them actively foraging here. In contrast, raptors migrate by day, so it was amazing again to see hundreds of turkey vultures and a few Swainson’s hawks heading north. As it warmed, the birds spiraled into a giant kettle.

We returned to the hotel to have breakfast and pack up for our drive back to San Jose. A long trip, though mostly faster on paved roads, we broke it up with a few stops. The most memorable of which was the Cinchona feeders on the upper slope of Poas Volcano. Here at a small cafe, a half dozen hummingbird feeders put on a most spectacular show, Violet sabrewing, green-crowned brilliant, coppery-headed emerald, and white-bellied mountain-gem all battle for space at the feeders, and posed for pictures. A few white-crowned parrots perched in a treetop nearby, and tanagers, including silver-throated tanagers which had been shy at Monteverde, put in a good appearance at the fruit feeders.

After a long and satisfying day, we settled in at Hotel Bougainvillea for a final meal together and a recap of our trip. I can’t wait until next year!

 

Grey-necked Wood-rail

 

Migrating Turkey Vultures

 

Violet Sabrewing

 

White-bellied Mountain-gem

 

Silver-throated Tanager

 

Costa Rica 2014: A Polluela in every Potoo

We began, before breakfast as usual, with a walk into the woods at Celeste Mountain Lodge, with the aim of seeing a tody motmot. We hiked up the hill to the ravine where we had heard the tody motmot the day before, but hadn’t seen it. While we waited, we had good views of the Carmiol’s tanager, and heard but barely saw a few black-headed nightingale-thrush. after searching for the tody motmot for nearly an hour, we pronounced it a lost cause, but just as Richard was suggesting we give up, I caught some movement, and found our elusive today motmot. It took some effort, but everyone was rewarded with excellent looks at our fifth motmot species of the trip.

Tody Motmot...Not a great shot, but proof we finally found it!

As we looked unsuccessfully for the sixth and final motmot species, the rufous motmot, we were serenaded by another nightingale wren, who came very close, but not into view. A streak-breasted wren was more obliging and popped up to give us a good view. We also got some more excellent views of a trio of broad-billed motmots.

It was hard to say goodbye to the Celeste Mountain Lodge, but more good birds were awaiting us down the road!

As we headed north and east out of the volcanic foothills, headed toward the Nicaraguan border and the Cano Negro region, a stop for gas gave everyone good views of two common gas-station birds: Gray-breasted Martin and house sparrow. Also at this stop, a pair of social flycatchers had built an elaborate grass nest.

Jabiru on Nest near Cano Negro

Continuing into the Cano Negro region, we pulled off the main road, and drove down a narrow lane through pasture and wetlandds. Coming to a stop, Richard declared thi seems like a good place to stretch our legs and look for some birds. I was very satisfied to hear everyone’s thrilled exclamations as they noticed the jabiru nest overhead. the jabiru, the largest New World stork, is striking black and white bird with a red throat sac. This bird, was tending nest with three chicks. Among the other birds that also captured our attention at this stop were a bat falcon, Baltimore oriole, great-crested flycatcher, and solitary sandpiper.

During lunch at the Hotel de Campo, Cano Negro, we saw our first spot-breasted wren. He was not only very forthcoming for a wren, he was also quite handsome, with a lovely spotted chest, true to his name. The feeders at the hotel had lots of tanagers, mostly blue-gray, but also palm tanagers, and a few red-legged honeycreepers.

Great Potoo, Los Chiles Road

After lunch we continued on towards Los Chiles, stopping first for red-fronted parakeets, a regional endemic, along with a few olive-throated parakeets. Further down the road, we stopped for a break along the river, hoping for kingfishers, but settling for a spectacular view of a nesting Great Potoo. Although Richard knew the bird was in the area, it had been day roosting elsewhere until quite recently. Some got glimpses of the chick as its mother settled on its breezy perch. These birds don’t make nests, but find a natural cup or shelf on a tree, and lay their single egg out exposed n the branch tip.

Further down the road still, we found a pair of yellow-crowned euphonias building a nest in a tree busy with birds, including tody flycatcher, yellow-throated euphonia, green mango hummingbirds, pale-vented pigeons an others.

Juvenile Wood Stork

A final stop of the evening, gave us good views of wood stork, great blue heron, and white-throated crake. The crake, the same species that some had seen the night before, is known locally as Polluela or “little chicken” – a more colorful local name Huevo frito, “fried egg” refers to the sounds the bird make, like the crackling of an egg frying in a hot pan. As the sun set, we caught glimpsed of short-tailed nighthawks foraging in the distance.

 

 

 

Broad-billed Motmot, Celeste Mountain Lodge

 

Keel-billed Toucan

Red-legged Honeycreeper, Hotel de Campo Cano Negro

 

Sunset over Los Chiles Road

 

 

 

Costa Rica 2014: Motmot Dayday

We woke up this morning to the sounds of howler monkey in the distance, and after a cup of Celeste Mountain Lodge's delicious coffee, headed down the road for some birds. Before we even left the lodge, a pair of white hawks circled the hillside across from the valley. After we got off the bus about a half mile down the road, we were greeted by a snowcap, a small white-headed hummingbird, taking a quick bath in a pool of water that was all that remained of the stream we had parked next to. The snowcap was followed by a stripe-throated hermit and a crowned woodnymph, all bathing in the same spot.

White-faced Nunbirds, Photo Glenn Phillips

The call of a motmot pulled us away from the hummingbird bath. The pair of birds that eventually settled in to a tree over the road caused a little confusion, until we realized that one of the birds was a broad-billed motmot and the other was a keel-billed motmot. (One has a green head, while the other has a rufous head.) In this part of Costa Rica, the two often interbreed, as this is the only place where their ranges overlap. Someday taxonomists may tell us they are different forms of the same species, but for the moment, these two birds brought us up to four motmot species for our trip. Two more to go!

Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Photo Glen Phillips

After the motmots we got some good looks at black-faced grosbeak, carmiol's tanager, and lesser greenlet, before another collared aracari grabbed our attention. Our best bird of the morning, a pair of white-fronted nunbirds, cooperatively flew into the tree where we had watched the aracari.

After breakfast, we headed out onto the lodge's forest trail, a well-groomed path through a steep-sided canyon. Our first bird of the trail, a gray-chested dove, strutted across the path in front of us before disappearing in the understory. Further down the trail, a pair of olive-backed euphonias gathered nesting materials. Moments later we heard the first calls of the purplish-backed quail-dove, which obligingly showed up shortly after that. Also seen along the trail, slaty-tailed trogon,plain xenops, green hermit, scale-crested pygmy tyrant (a tiny flycatcher), black-cheeked woodpecker, and golden-crowned warbler.

While we enjoyed another delicious cup of coffee after lunch, a long-billed hermit systematically worked over the eaves of the lodge. We couldn't tell whether it was collecting spiderwebs for its nest, or just gleaning spiders and other small insects trapped under the eaves. The lodge's manager said we were the laziest birders he had met! We were possibly the most full after that wonderful lunch…

Thick-billed Seed Finch, one of three small black sparrows observed o our walk this afternoon.

After a short siesta, we prepared to hit the road again, delayed by another keel-billed toucan or two, and a pair of king vultures. We drove up the road to bird a patch of grassland and wetland just beyod the morning's location. Our first birds were among the most abundant at this location, dozens, if not hundreds, of variable seed-eaters. These are tiny little birds, which true to their name, feed on seeds, and are common in grasslands. Similar, and requiring careful observation to separate, were blue-black grassquit and thick-billed seed-finch. All three have black males and brown females, all three are tiny, a little smaller than a goldfinch, but each one has a different shaped bill, and a few other minor differences. Luckily, we have as our local guide, Richard Garrigues, author of Birds of Costa Rica, so we could easily tell them apart.

Digiscoped Laughing Falcon

As we moved deeper into the wetland area, our bus driver, Didier, found a laughing falcon perched in a tree, which everyone got a good look at. We also had good views of gray hawk, gray-crowned yellowthroat, olive-crowned yellowthroat, black-cheeked woodpecker and slaty spinetail. With some luck and good recording, we were able to entice a white-throated crake, a small rail, into view.

With the sun setting, we returned to the lodge. As we slowly rolled up the rocky dirt road, common paraques took flight and were visible as flashes of black and white wings in the headlights. Another delicious meal at the Celeste Mountain Lodge and a recap of the day's sightings closed out the day.

Red-legged Honeycreeper, Photo Glenn Phillips


 

Golden-hooded Tanager, Photo Glenn Phillips

 

Odd Couple? on the left a Keel Billed Motmot, on the right a Broad-billed Motmot

 

 

Slaty-tailed Trogon

 

Costa Rica 2014: Up the Hill, Down the Mountain

Emerald Toucanet at Hotel de Montana Monteverde

After a quick walk through the gardens, nabbing us a good view of an Eastern Meadowlark, and another quick glimpse of a three-wattled bellbird in the distance, we headed up for breakfast to get an early start on our trip down to Celeste Mountain Lodge at Volcan Tenorio. As we headed back to our room, the raucous calls of a Hoffman's woodpecker alerted us to the presence an emerald toucanet, just feet away in the middle of the hotel grounds. Everybody got excellent views and lots of great pictures.

After that excitement, we loaded up and drove up the hill to the Santa Elena Preserve. At a slightly higher elevation, and right on the continental divide, this beautiful preserve was much more lush and featured many more typical highland plants. Here we found a great selection of highland bird species, including many more black-faced solitaires and common bush-tanagers along with some new species including four members of the furnaridae (known as the ovenbird family because of the oven shaped nests that some members of this family build – they are not related to the neotropical migrant ovenbird, which is of course a warbler.) These birds have great names. We saw lineated foliage-gleaner, streak-breasted treehunter, ruddy treeruner and red-faced spinetail, bringing our total for this family to seven before we even got to the Atlantic forests, where the diversity of these birds is highest in Costa Rica.

We made few stops on the rest of our drive. At lunch, we couldn't count the scarlet macaws flying around the restaurant's garden, since they were formerly captive birds, but we could count the spot-breasted oriole that was taking advantage of the fruit and water left out for the macaws. We could also count the house sparrow that was stealing food from the caged birds at the place.

As we approached the Celeste Mountain Lodge, nestled in a small pass near Tenorio volcano, we stopped to watch a montezuma oropendola colony, and also got great views of a trio of masked tityras, northern rough-winged swallows, yellow-throated euphonia and keel-billed toucan. The oropendolas were particularly exciting, with females dashing in to their giant nests and males with their ridiculous courtship display, swinging upside-down and singing!

Arriving at Celeste Mountain Lodge, a spectacular location, we birded around the lodge and found, in short order, collared aracari (a medium-sized toucan), stripe-throated hermit, violet-headed and rufous-tailed hummingbirds, passerini's tanager, common tody-flycatcher, tropcial parula, golden-hooded tanager and many more. Bythe time the sun set spectaularly behind the Mirivaille Volcana, we were ready to collapse, but were unprepared for the excellent meal that followed. The group headed to bed (and I to write this post) sernaded by common paraques.

 

travelling down the mountain

 

I know its not in focus, but it was the best picture i got of the black-faced solitaire!

 

 

 

Costa Rica 2014: Quetzals, Quetzals Everywhere!

After a restful night’s sleep in our very comfortable rooms at Hotel de Montana Monteverde, we were all up before dawn to head over to the Monteverde Preserve. We were not the only folks with the idea, and joined a small crowd waiting quietly for a chance to see a resplendent quetzal. While we were waiting, we had a chance to observe a variety of higher elevation species, including common bush-tanager, slate-throated redstart, mountain thrush, white-throated thrush, slaty-backed nightingale-thrush and silver-throated tanager.

Resplendent Quetzal, typically obscured in deep foliage. Photo, Glenn Phillips

We were not disappointed, as you can imagine by this post’s title… First, as seems typical, the male perched deep in the foliage, and we strained to see him. Moments later, he flew, but landed in an even more visible location! He stayed around for about an hour, giving great views for everyone. The parking lot at Monteverde Preserve has so far been the best birding location of the trip! Satisfied, but cold and ready for some hot coffee, we headed back to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast we headed down the hill, in search of three-wattled bellbirds. At the Sanctuaria Ecologica, we were greeted by a couple of friendly coatis, and headed first down to the stream in search of a bare-throated tiger-heron and a sunbittern. The tiger-heron gave us all good looks, but the sunbittern was only seen by the first two people, before disappearing around the bend beyond the end of the trail. We continued on and stopped to wait for a long-tailed manakin to display on his lek. Although he didn’t show, we continued on, and had a so-so view of emerald toucanet, good views of keel-billed toucan, and also a noisy group of chachalacas. Wood warblers, both neotropical migrants and residents were abundant, and we got great views of three-striped, rufous-capped, golden-crowned, chestnut-sided, golden winged, black-and-white, black-throated green, and Wilson’s warbler.

Unfortunately, the bellbird didn’t come through, but we headed back to the manakin lek to give it another try, and were treated to a piece of his display, and some great views of the elegant black, long tailed male, with his splash of blue and red.

After lunch, we headed back to the Monteverde Preserve, where we enjoyed great views of seven hummingbird species in jut a few minutes. Green-crowned brilliant, magenta wood-star, purple-throated mountain-gem, coppery emerald, green hermit, stripe-tailed and green violetear hummingbirds all at the feeders at the park’s entrance.

The trail led us into deep forest, with tall trees laden with epiphytes – bromeliads, ferns, orchids, and even the red-tubular flowers of Episcia, an African violet relative. The sounds of black-faced solitaire, an echoing flute-like whistle (really, words cannot do this justice… listen here for a better sense of the sound) filled the air. Periodically, the honking hoot of the quetzal interrupted, and we saw at least three pairs. We returned to the hotel at dusk, exhausted and happy.

Mr. Quetzal Mugs for the Camera at Monteverde Preserve

 

Sunset from Hotel de Montana de Monteverde

 

 

 

Costa Rica 2014: From the Pacific to the Mountains

Blue-crowned Motmot, Photo Glenn Phillips

An early, pre-beakfast birdwalk through the gardens of the Hotel Buena Vista brought our first motmot of the trip (All six Costa Rican species are possible on this trip!) We heard the blue-diademed motmot before we saw it. It’s distinctive “Wut! Wut!” call alerted us to their presnece in the gardens, so it was not a surprise when one popped up in the lower branches of the Erythrina tree we had been watching Blatimore oriole, rose-breasted grosbeak and Tenessee warbler in the day before. No matter how many times I see this bird, I am always impressed at how gorgeous it is.

We also had both grayish and buff-throated saltators this morning. Saltators are thick-billed tanagers, and were for many years consider related to grosbeaks, until DNA studies revealed their close ties to tanagers.

After breakfast we headed out to the Pacific coast, on our way to Monteverde. Our first stop at an area of mangrove and salt ponds, called Punta Morales, is just north of the famous shorebird site at Chomes, but easier to reach. As we approached, anther birding group stop to talk with Richard, alerting him that “nothing special” was there today. Despite the warning, we arrived to find hundred of shorebirds on the ponds still, although we had missed their peak numbers at high tide. Most abundant were whimbrels, but marbled godwit, willets, black-necked stilts and Wilson’s plover were also abundant.

Birding at Punta Morales, Photo Nancy Hager

After viewing all the shorebirds, we walked further into the mangrove, in search of mangrove specialists. Our bird-magnet this morning was a gumbo-limbo tree (Bursera), which attracted rose-breasted becard, brown-crested flycatcher, boat-billed flycatcher and more. We also got excellent viewings of prothonotary warbler and the local mangrove warbler (a chestnut-headed yellow warbler).

After lunch, we started the drive up to Monteverde, at the lower elevations, the dry forests gave us an opportunity to see some species that will be unlikely elsewhere, including our second motmot, turquiose-browed motmot. Our second stop began with some orange-fronted parakeets, moved quickly to motmots, and concluded with scrub euphonia and more flycatchers.

Rainbows Welcome us to the Tilaran Range, Photo Glenn Phillips

We continued up to our hotel, arriving just in time for a leisurely hour birding before dark. As we gathered, the first bird we heard was the three-wattled bellbird, one of our target birds for this trip. Richard managed to find it, across the valley perched on a tree top. Through binoculars only its white head was visible, but through the spotting scope you could see its chestnut body and even make out the black wattles that give the bird its name. Before calling it a day, we spent some time chasing a plain wren, which despite its name, is quite a charming little bird…when it deigns to show itself… mostly we just heard this little guy.

 

 

 

 

Grayish Saltator, photo Nancy Hager

 

Buff-throated Saltator, Photo Nancy Hager

Male Rose-throated Becard, Photo Nancy Hager

 

 

Female Rose-throated Becard, Photo Glenn Phillips

 

Groove-billed Ani, Photo Glenn Phillips

 

Turquoise-browed Motmot, photo Glenn Phillips

 

Sunset at Hotel de Montana Monteverde

 

Costa Rica 2014: day 1

This afternoon, we began our fourth annual NYC Audubon adventure in Costa Rica. Arriving at San Jose, We were greeted by friendly staff from Hotel Buena Vista, The five of us on the morning flight from Newark Airport, were joined in the hotel's shuttle by a couple from Chicago, who were arriving early for a birding trip with Road Scholar. After lunch at the hotel, most of us joined the Chicagoans for birding from the Hotel's back terrace, where we racked up 24 species, many neotropical migrants who will soon be returning north.

As often happens in the tropics,one particular tree seemed to capture most of the birds. In this case, a Coral Tree (or Poor' as it's known in Costa Rica) was just dripping with birds. Rufous-tailed hummingbirds first caught our eyes, but they were followed by Baltimore orioles, Tennesee warblers, tropical kingbirds, and two gorgeous male rose-breasted grosbeaks.

Everywhere around the property, blue-gray tanagers and clay-colored thrush are plentiful. We also got some good looks at rufous-capped warbler, a non-migratory wood warbler. Our local guide, Richard Garrigues, arrived at dinner-time, and we all hit the sack early for a pre-dawn start tomorrow!

 

Harbor Seals: A Report on the Winter 2014 Ecocruise Season

Harbor Seals © Mike Baird (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Harbor Seals © Mike Baird (Flickr Creative Commons License)

 

Psychologists and seal behavior researchers Dr. Kristy Biolsi and Dr. Kevin Woo have been observing seals and collecting scientific data on this winter’s Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor Ecocruises. With just two cruises to go, they report here on their work over the past few months:

 

 

As we wind down for another season on the water with the NYC Audubon and New York Water Taxi, we’re happy to report a number of harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) sightings in the lower Hudson. We have seen seals either in the water near Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, or hauled out on Swinburne Island in particular. On February 9th, we observed the most seals ever recorded during our two winters of observations: 15 seals hauled out on Swinburne Island and 16 seals in the water.

 

As we’ve counted seals during the last two seasons with the NYC Audubon Ecocruises, it has helped us to develop better observation protocols for future excursions. One of our main goals is to identify individuals that may use specific haul-out sights in New York City, both during the season as well as annually. We will use our photos to help identify individuals and their relative locations, and hope to match this trend year after year. To do so, we will apply a matrix to look at the recognition of particular features on each seal, such as their face and coat. This process is similar to facial recognition technology used by the United States TSA, as well as social science researchers interested in human emotion and attraction (see work by Burke & Sulikowski, 2010, ‘A new viewpoint on the evolution of sexually dimorphic human faces’ in Evolutionary Psychology). If we find that specific individuals are using preferred haul-out locations, and are returning to New York City every year, this will provide us with a promising trend in demographic numbers. Moreover, as we previously considered, this trend may have something to do with a larger ecological picture, and hence healthy seal numbers in New York City may be a bioindicator of marine ecosystem health.

 

There are only two more cruises left, on March 2nd, and March 9th, and we’ll be back on the boat to conduct the last of our field surveys for the season. We hope to see you onboard, and next winter, too!

 

There are only two cruises left, on Sundays, March 2 and 9! Click here to register for one of our remaining Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor Ecocruises.

 

 

 

Christmas Count Results Are In!

Varied Thrush © Anders Peltomaa (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Kaitlyn Parkins reports on New York City’s 2013-2014 Christmas Bird Count:


The final tallies for the 114th Christmas Bird Count are being submitted from across the nation, including our very own New York City, which is covered by five different count circles. Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island each have their own count, while Manhattan is covered by the New Jersey Lower Hudson circle, and the Bronx is counted along with Westchester. More than 200 expert and novice birders took part in the five counts, resulting in hundreds of hours in the field. We’ve compiled the preliminary data form all five count circles (including only the New York City part of the New Jersey Lower Hudson and Bronx-Westchester circles) to take a look at what’s going on across the five boroughs. All CBC numbers are yet to be reviewed by regional editors, so the numbers included here are subject to revision.

 

The Staten Island and Brooklyn CBCs took place on a cold, snowy Saturday December 15th, resulting in Brooklyn’s lowest count since 1981. The weather cleared up for the Manhattan and Queens counts on the 16th, and the Bronx CBC didn’t take place until the 22nd. Still, a total of 152,181 individual birds were counted from 148 different species. Here are a few highlights:

 

  • Brooklyn had a cackling goose for the first time in the count as well as an all-time high count of 10 for the wood duck.
  • Rare species for Brooklyn also included one each of Wilson’s snipe and semipalmated plover.
  • Canvasbacks had an all-time low count of two in Brooklyn and was only a “count-week bird” in the Bronx-Westchester; nine were seen is Queens, o
  • ne in Manhattan, and 12 in Staten Island.
  • The only bird to make a count-week-only showing across the board was the lesser yellowlegs in the Bronx.
  • The Bronx was also the only borough that didn’t miss red-breasted nuthatch, and it had five common ravens (one was also counted in Queens).
  • Queens highlights included king eider, Nashville warbler (which also showed up in Brooklyn and Staten Island), and two glaucous gulls.
  • Staten Island recorded a single harlequin duck, but it had an all-time low of only 12 American crows.
  • The star of the Manhattan show was the varied thrush found by Louise Fraza and Pearl Broder in Stuyvesant Town, an adult male so famous in his appearance that our regional compiler didn’t require us to submit photo proof—he had already seen pictures of the bird online!
  • As expected given the phenomenal snowy owl irruption we’re experiencing this winter, numbers for this visitor from the north were way up, with 22 counted between Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and a count-week showing in the Bronx, blowing previous CBC records out of the water.

Want to know more? You can download the results as they come in as well as get historical data all the way back to the first CBC here (http://web4.audubon.org/bird/cbc/hr/). You can also check out the reports for these circles on their webpages:

 

Queens: http://www.qcbirdclub.org/news/theqcbccbc2013

 

Brooklyn: http://bbcprevioustripreports.blogspot.com/