Continued adventures in the Big Apple

9 09 2009
Worm-eating Warbler - Luke Tiller

Worm-eating Warbler - Luke Tiller

Went to Central Park for the day and met up with birdspot who was kind enough to let me join her for a day of ‘edgy’ birding in the Big Apple. Skipping past the usual unseemly detritus of Central Parks Ramble (condoms, used tissue paper – nice!) we were soon on a few decent birds: a couple of Black-throated Blue Warblers were stunning as ever, although a rather subtly attractive Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was probably the early highlight for me at least (somewhat more common in the park than they are in Connecticut – but isn’t everything!). Although certainly not a big day in Central Park terms we managed to unearth a total of 11 warbler species with the highlight being a Worm-eating that although nice for the park (and probably Catherine’s highlight), actually breeds in my yard (a subtle and much underrated warbler in my opinion). The place was also literally alive with Swainson’s Thrushes and Veeries as they skulked through the parks underbrush.

After a few heated discussions of Empid ID’s (ok not that heated, just using a little artistic license) and a rather unpleasant burger at The Boathouse (2 days of stomach aches later!) we stopped to discuss birding and blogging plans whilst soaking up some mud at the Maintenance Meadow. The day had turned into something of a city scorcher and it was nice to be surrounded by open space and take a while to catch our collective breath under the shady umbrella of a large oak. Amazing how far away you can feel from the hustle and bustle of the city once you lose yourself in the Ramble (not that we did get lost for a change).

Although I have been to the park many many times (in fact it was one of my regular forays birding when I first started as it was accessible by public transport and promises a much better days birding than most spots here – sorry to admit that CT birders) I always have at least a few moments in the park where I am just wondering in a vague direction and hoping to see some landmark I recognize again. None of that malarky with birdspot though, she knows where everything is (even if she’s useless at remembering the place names!!!) I have to admit that part of the romance of Central Park for me is those moments of aimless wandering – not so much lost, but rather it not mattering quite where you are (unless of course you are trying to rapidly make your way to where a good bird has been sighted in the park!)

Later I’ll actually get around to posting something useful about how to approach birding the park for those that don’t know I promise, but indulge my ramblings for now please. Anyway after a fulsome day in the park we headed down to the Lower East Side (where else could we go in mudsoaked birding clothes?) for a few beers and conversations that ranged from art, through places to go birding, to birdspots secret love of all things testosterone fueled metal – who knew (not sure my sticking the Smiths on the jukebox went down so well there then)? First port of call for me in the LES whenever I’m out with friends is Mars Bar. To my eye it’s about the only remaining dive bar still in existance in NYC (if you know others tell me) and has one of the best jukeboxes in the city. Just for a laugh I decided to look up the posting on the place and the first review started thus: “Where do you go when you just killed a guy and simply need some time to think – maybe even get some professional advice on how to live your life on the lamb? Mars Bar for sure.”  Now if that isn’t a glowing recommendation I don’t know what is?