Monday, May 23, 2011

Van Courtlandt Park Birdathon Report 5-21-2011...

10 hours plus of birding resulted in 56 species during the Van Courtlandt Park Birdathon that took place on Saturday, May 21st. This is not a shabby number by Van Courtlandt Park standards and it will be interesting to see how well we did, once all the participants submit their numbers.

My birding began at around 4:30 a.m. and I later met up with some regulars from our Saturday walk at 6:00 a..m.  With the 6 O'clock group, we birded around the restoration area, the parade grounds and along the Van Courtlandt Museum.  At 8:00 a.m. we circled back to the nature center and picked up some more regulars along with a few others who wanted to come out and bird with us.  We birded along the Van Courtlandt Lake, working our way up through Vault Hill towards the Northwest Forest.

Along the way we lost a few participants who had to leave. Once over into the North Woods, we took the bridle path that runs adjacent to Cass Gallagher Nature Trail and birded all the way towards the end of the North West Forest. We then cut back into the woods picking up the Cass Gallagher Nature Trail and looped back towards Rockwood Circle.  We then took a bathroom break and folks re-energized with snacks.  We then worked our way back over the Henry Hudson Parkway picking up the John Muir Trail which we then birded all the way to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.  We hiked the Croton Aqueduct Trail, birding all along the way and made the loop back towards the Van Courtlandt Lake on the Golf course side, finishing up right by the golf house.

The birding was not easy and we had to really work over those areas where we found activity to get anything.  The parade grounds proved once again to be useful as we picked up Monk Parakeets and Great Egrets flying overhead, both of which might be tough for other groups if they were not out there as early as us.  A big miss was Wood Duck;  I was also disappointed at the lack of Sparrows and expected the parade grounds would have at least produced a Savannah.  With little evidence of migration around we were depending on picking up the breeding birds and that is what we did for the most part.

The weather was a huge plus, as the somewhat overcast conditions kept it cool enough, so that we did not overheat.  I am so proud of everyone who came out in support of this event, especially the regulars from my bird walk.  Special mentions go out to Jack Donovan, Alex Pirko, Ruth Kraus and Hillary Russ for committing and coming out at 6:00 a.m.  A tip of the hat to all of you who stuck it out throughout the hike. We return to our regular scheduled time of 8:00 a.m. next week.  Below is complete list of all the species from our walk.  If you wish to support our effort in the Birdathon, you could still make a pledge.  Remember, it is all for a good cause as the money goes into the conservation work and birding programs at Van Courtlandt Park.  Click here to view and download the pledge form.

Canada Goose - Branta canadensis
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus
Great Egret - Ardea alba
Green Heron - Butorides virescens
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura
Monk Parakeet - Myiopsitta monachus
Chimney Swift - Chaetura pelagica
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus
Eastern Wood-Pewee - Contopus virens
Willow Flycatcher - Empidonax traillii
Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus
Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus
Warbling Vireo - Vireo gilvus
Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolor
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis
Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea
Wood Thrush - Hylocichla mustelina
American Robin - Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird - Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum
Northern Parula - Parula americana
Yellow Warbler - Dendroica petechia
Prairie Warbler - Dendroica discolor
Blackpoll Warbler - Dendroica striata
Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia
American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla
Northern Waterthrush - Parkesia noveboracensis
Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis
Scarlet Tanager - Piranga olivacea
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus ludovicianus
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula
Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater
Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurius
Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus


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Michael said...

Great bird list for the day. Your group bet me by 2 species. I had 54. I started out at 5:30 AM from Forest Ave into the Croton Wood, then crossed under the Major Deagan Expressway and loop around the North East Woods/Swamp. I made my way back into the Croton Woods and down to the lake -then back up the old rail bed and up the hill back into and finishing off in the Croton Woods around 10 AM

You had 13 species I did not have. I had 11 new ones making at least 67 species in the park that day. I found my warblers in the north end of the Croton Woods

Hairy Woodpecker- Croton Woods
American Crow- flying over the Deagan
Black-capped Chickadee- Croton Woods
Magnolia Warbler- Croton Woods and the Northeast woods/swamp
Black-throated Blue Warbler- Croton Woods
Black-throated Green Warbler- Croton Woods
Ovenbird- Croton Woods
Canada Warbler- Croton Woods
Eastern Towhee- northern section of the rail bed
Chipping Sparrow-railed next to the golf course
Indigo Bunting-behind the gas station on the Deagan


@Michael - one of the attendees, Ruth Kauss, who knows you told me that you were seen, I somehow missed you.

54 is damn good number on your own and it seems from your description that you covered the area very well. Nicely done!!!

Some of the ones you listed like, Ovenbird, Towhee, Hairy Woodpecker were species I thought we would get, but that did not pan out. It was fun and the group really hung in there despite being dragged all over the place.