Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Central Park Birding - Part 1

I've never left Europe before, but last week I spent five days in New York with my wife and daughter. The main reason for visiting America was to celebrate my wife's birthday, but, as always, I managed to get a bit of birding done between visiting all the traditional tourist sites and a few art galleries.

The main focus of my birding efforts was, of course, Central Park. This large park, set in the middle of Manhattan (see here for details), was a short 10 minute walk from our hotel on West 57th Street, and whilst there, I managed four visits.  Our first visit, a short evening walk on the first night, brought our first sighting of the very common American Robin.

American Robin
These birds aren't Robins at all, and actually belong to the thrush family. They take the place of our Blackbird, and were seen throughout the park on every visit. They breed in the park, and, on one morning, I spotted several recently fledged birds being fed by their parents.
Adult and chick
The other black bird of the park is the Red-winged Blackbird. This much less common, and I only managed a couple of views during my visits. Luckily, one of these sightings was of a male bird at a feeding station, so I managed to get a reasonable shot, showing the red wing.
Red-winged Blackbird
Another very common bird around the park is the Common Grackle. Again, this bird is seen throughout the site, and was seen on every visit. This bird came to see us in the café!
Common Grackle
One final bird for today is the stunning Cardinal. This was the second American bird we saw in the park, and one that we saw on every visit. This bird is the male, and was very tame, especially when it spotted the peanuts coming out.
Over the course of the five days we saw a total of 48 species (37 of which were lifers!), and included a new breeding bird for Central Park, but more about that later.

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