Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birding in the Bronx - Van Cortlandt Bird Walk 4-21-12...

Our bird walk on Saturday at Van Cortlandt Park got off to a great start when I scoped out 2 Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) in the enclosed area on the parade grounds. I tried to get a few folks who had arrived early for the walk to get on the birds, but the Snipes took off just before they got on the scope.  While they were able to see the Snipes in flight, it would have been nice to get ground views since it would have been a life bird for most if not all who were present.

Encouraged by the discovery, I took our group around the lake looking for other migrants as well as the Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) that some of had seen last week. It was noticeably quiet and we did not have much activity around the lake and neither did we find the Grebe. As we made our loop near the golf course, I heard an incomplete but recognizable song of a Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia).  After a while, I pinpointed the area, but then got distracted by the song of a Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus). The Vireo was closer, so I focused on getting the group on it. After some work we all got looks at the Warbling Vireo and then it was onto the Yellow Warbler. That took some work, but we managed to pull it off and everyone had good looks.

Nashville Warbler photographed at Van Cortlandt Park status is "Rare" for the park.
We then made our way up into Vault Hill and then into the North West Forest picking up several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (Polioptila caerulea), Yellow-rumped Warblers and a distant Osprey (Pandion haliaetus). In the North West Forest, it was a drastic change from last week when we had Kinglets and Yellow-rumpeds singing everywhere. It was quiet save for a few Yellow-rumped Warblers singing and Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) interacting with each other. Nevertheless, we worked the forest looking and listening and our work paid off when a singing Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) betrayed its presence. I worked the area where I heard the song and got the group on the bird. In that location, we also had a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) who scolded us for disturbing the peace.  With apologies to Troglodytes aedon, we left and continued birding; eventually, making our way out of the forest. As we exited the forest, the chatter of a Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) was heard and we worked until we got looks at yet another new spring arrival. We gave the Van Cortlandt Lake another look, but again did not find the Red-necked Grebe. We ended our walk shortly after. Below is a complete list of species seen.

Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Cabbage White
Red Admiral
American Lady
Mourning Cloak
Juvenal Duskywing
Spicebush Swallowtail
Tiger Swallowtail

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