Birding on Governors Island with Annie Barry, September 2009

September 20, 2009
9:30 am-12:00 pm

72 degrees, sunny, breezy

I returned to Governors Island today after two weeks away. Illness and a family visit kept me away, but I returned fresh and eager to find out if any migrants had arrived in my absence. I knew from my journal of September 20, 2008 that I could see a lot of northern flickers. There were about 50 here that day, centered mostly around the Parade Ground. So I headed there first thing, and immediately found quite a few. I would see many more throughout the day, totaling at least 40, perhaps more, on the Parade Ground, in Fort Jay, Nolan Park and Colonels Row. I expect more to arrive by next week. It is really quite amazing to see all these flickers in one place, and worth the trip to Governors Island just for that. But there was more.

Last September 20 was not a particularly busy day for migrants, except for the flickers. Some phoebes, a least flycatcher, a redstart and an ovenbird, along with an early arriving white-throated sparrow, were the only migrants I saw that day. Today was much different. Throughout the historic district I saw 9 different species of warbler. None were here in great numbers, but enough were on the island to let me know that migration has begun in earnest.

Here is the warbler roll call:

Common yellowthroat

4 (female)

Northern parula

3 (2 female, 1 male)

Palm warbler 4

4

American redstart

3 (2 f, 1 m)

Black and white warbler

2 (f)

Blackpoll warbler

2 (f)

Black-throated blue warbler

2 (1 f, 1 m)

Pine warbler 1 female

1 (f)

Magnolia warbler

1 (f)


Also passing through were a swamp sparrow, a hermit thrush, two brown thrashers, two winter wrens, two ruby-crowned kinglets, and an eastern wood pewee. An early arriving winter resident, a white-throated sparrow, was also spotted. It gave me a shiver knowing winter is so close!

Other resident birds (some summer, some year-round) spotted today: Canada geese, Double-crested cormorants, Great black-backed gulls, Mourning doves, American robins, Gray catbirds, European starlings, Cedar waxwings, Northern cardinals, Brown-headed cowbirds, House sparrows.

September 26, 2009
Servicewide Volunteer Day
9:30am - 6:00pm

Partly cloudy, 62-65 degrees, becoming very breezy around noon

To mark the National Park Service’s (NPS) Service wide Volunteer Day, I held an adult birding program in lieu of my regular kids program. Members of the public were invited to help conduct a survey of the birds in the Historic District. Five visiting volunteers arrived ready and eager to count birds, and to discover a bit of nature on Governors Island. The NPS and I thank Amanda, Andrew, Brian, Lori, and Pam for their hard work.

At 9:30, before the visitors arrived, I scouted the Historic District to make sure the feathered ones had showed up to be counted. I was glad to see that they had, and in good numbers. The program itself ran from 11:30 to 1:30, a half hour longer than scheduled. Everyone wanted to keep on going! We birded Nolan Park, the South Battery area and Colonels Row. In the afternoon, between and after stints roving Castle Williams, I birded the remaining areas of the Historic District with Lori, who stayed on to help complete the job. The count for the day, broken into time slots and areas, follows:

9:30 - 10:30am
(Parade Ground, Glacis, Building 107 area)

Mourning dove

8

Northern flicker (yellow-shafted)

16

Winter wren

1

Golden-crowned kinglet

2

Wood thrush

1

Robin

2

Black-throated green warbler

1

Palm warbler

7

Black and white warbler

1


11:30am - 1:30pm
(Nolan Park, South Battery area, Colonels Row)

Canada Goose

1

Red-tailed hawk

1

Mourning dove

1

Northern flicker (yellow-shafted)

18

Eastern phoebe

8

Brown creeper

1

Golden-crowned kinglets

2

Hermit thrush

3

Robin

41

Catbird

1

Mockingbird

1

Magnolia warbler

1 (female)

Black-throated blue warbler

1 (male)

Palm warblers

20

Pine warbler

1 (f)

Blackpoll warbler

1 (f)

Black and white warbler

2 (1 f, 1 m [deceased])

Common yellowthroat

1 (f)

Northern cardinal

5 (2 f, 3 m)

Song sparrow

2

White-throated sparrow

14

Slate-colored Junco

4

House sparrow

4


2:30 - 4:00pm
(Ft. Jay, Soissons's Dock, Buttermilk Channel)

Canada goose 50

50

Double-crested cormorant 5

5

Herring gull 3

3

Great black-backed gull

3

Northern flicker (yellow-shafted)

4

Phoebe

6

Brown creeper

1

Winter wren

2

Hermit thrush

1

Magnolia warbler

2

Black-throated blue warbler

1 (male)

Black-throated green warbler

1 (female)

Yellow-rumped warbler

1 (f)

Palm warbler

4

Common yellowthroat

2 (f)

White-throated sparrow

17

Chipping sparro

3

House sparrow

10


5:00 - 6:00pm:
(Ft. Jay, Soissons's Dock, Buttermilk Channel)

Canada

51

Red-tailed hawk

1

Herring gull

3

Great black-backed gull

3

Mourning dove

11

Northern flicker

38

Eastern phoebe

14

Brown creeper

2

Winter wren

3

Golden-crowned kinglet

4

Wood thrush

1

Hermit thrush

4


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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