West Side Highway Birding

8 04 2010

Chipping Sparrow - Luke Tiller

So my new latest passion is going birding in this tiny little patch of greenery right off of the West Side Highway in NYC. With a week or so before I head into spring madness, trips to Colorado, NY State and North Carolina, I have decamped to my girlfriend’s flat in the city for some pre-touring schedule hangout time. Just a stones throw away from the apartment is a little sliver of greenery that has now become my temporary patch for the next few weeks. OK it’s actually a shared patch as the girlfriend is as equally obsessed with tracking down whatever feathered migrants might show up there in  the next few weeks as well.

Although the place is never likely to be inundated with birds, just the smallest welcoming habitat is proving to be a hit with exhausted migrants and we are quickly racking up a fairly decent little score of early migrant movement. Today we managed to add a couple of new species to the list including a few migrant Great Cormorants (with resplendent white breeding patches) heading up river, and a solo Field Sparrow that was making the most of a morning layover with a group of Dark-eyed Juncos.

As I said, numbers of birds overall aren’t high but each little new species adds some excitement to an early pre-work walk. Today’s list included a smattering of Junco’s, a Northern Flicker or two, a half dozen Juncos, 3 Palm Warblers, a handful of White-throats and the Field. A few pictures of the park here, here and here.

EDIT: Today’s highlights at the park: 1 Palm Warbler, 1 Eastern Towhee*, 1 Northern Cardinal*, 1 Field Sparow, 1 Savannah Sparrow*

* New species

The species list thus far (35)- new birds over last two days in capitals:

Canada Goose, Brant, American Black Duck, Mallard, Gadwall,  Double-crested Cormorant, GREAT CORMORANT, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Fish Crow, Blue Jay, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, EASTERN TOWHEE, Chipping Sparrow, FIELD SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, NORTHERN CARDINAL, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, House Sparrow.

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