We landed in New York during the best birding season : D. Isn’t God’s timing wonderful?
Not too many birds stay in New York area all year round. Most of them migrate through New York to the North in the Spring (for all of us who live in the Southern hemisphere, that’s March through May : P). They then pass through again on their way South. Especially Warblers, lots and lots of Warblers. Warblers are small birds, on average about 12cm. They almost all have black and white on them and this is very often mixed with yellow. They are usually not too hard to tell apart, if you manage to spot them in the first place. It’s amazing in how many different patterns God has painted these birds using mainly just three colours. African Warblers on the other hand. . .brown, all brown – to blend in with all the grass :P.
I love my Dad and the rest of my family because they’ve always been patient with me when I randomly wander off. They also become excited with me when a cool bird is spotted. Marike and Sophia both have sharp eyes and have often helped me spot birds.
One of the first things we did in New York was to go on the free bird tour in Central Park, which my Dad found. The tour was on a first come, first serve basis and they provided binoculars for those that didn’t have their own. I felt pleased when I saw that the guide’s binoculars were similar to mine. There is an area of the park called ‘The Rambles’ where the trees and plants have been left to grow naturally. We spent most of the time on the tour there.
In our small tour group there was a little boy with his Dad. He couldn’t have been more than six and yet he almost matched the guide in his bird-identification skills, if not in his actual knowledge. At one point somewhere at the start, Karin saw him ask his Dad something. In response his Dad got something from his backpack, but great was her surprise when what he got wasn’t a snack, but a fancy camera with a powerful lens! The boy had the camera around his neck the whole time and was quite expertly snapping pictures.
Every time we come to a new place with new birds that I’m not used to, I feel as if I have to learn how to bird watch all over again. I have to get a feel for the kind of birds there are, learn their mannerisms, hear their calls – . That’s another reason I liked going on the bird tour so much, because I had someone who really knew the birds to tell me what I was seeing and who helped me to become familiar with them: ).
Most of the birds in Central Park and the entire City of Manhattan are well hidden and small. Even the plentiful Red Tailed Hawks, Buteo jamaicensis, were hard to spot unless you were looking for them, and they are not even small. Therefore I hope you will excuse the bad quality of some of the photos.