Wednesday, December 20, 2023

2023 Favorite Bird Sightings - Part 2

Continuing with some of my favorite bird observations from 2023, I have to mention what is probably the most unusual sighting I had this year, a Black-Chinned Hummingbird:

Black-Chinned Hummingbird.

This amazing find was thanks to a staff member on Randall's Island who posted a video to social media several weeks ago, setting off huge excitement in the local birding community. This little guy belongs in the southwest, but inexplicably made its way here and, to date, is still in the same area on Randall's Island. As it's now winter and all the flowers have gone, people have put a feeder out for it and it continues to survive.

Earlier in the fall, I saw this Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in Central Park. At the time, I thought this was pretty special, but then the Black-Chinned came along and stole the show, LOL. Both are amazing little creatures.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

On a trip to New Orleans last spring, I saw my first Mississippi Kite. In fact, I saw a lot of them, and even caught some mating on video, which I have yet to process and post.

Mississippi Kite.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglets are one of my favorite migratory birds, and I usually see more of them in the fall.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.

Governors Island serves as a nesting ground for Herring Gulls and this is one of the chicks from last spring. I love their little fuzzy spotted heads.

Herring Gull chick.

It's always exciting to see Northern Harriers. They are not as common in NYC as other raptors, but they can reliably be found around Jamaica Bay.

Northern Harrier.

Northern Harrier.

As usual, Ospreys know how to make my day.


This last summer saw a nesting pair of Ospreys along the East River. I've never seen them nest so close to Manhattan, so I hope this is a trend. This particular nest (below) was pretty difficult to observe and I'm not sure if they were successful or not.

Osprey on its nest.

The Ash-Throated Flycatcher has been one of my "nemesis birds" for a while, and this was the year I was finally able to photograph one. This individual was very cooperative in Owls Head Park in Brooklyn.

Ash-Throated Flycatcher.

Ash-Throated Flycatcher.

Not a rarity, but this Downy Woodpecker was perched very low to the ground, where I don't often see them.

Downy Woodpecker.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers are challenging (for me) to photograph as they move quickly and are often high up in trees. I usually hear them more often than I see them, but this one paused briefly in a short bush as it hunted for insects.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

This Great Blue Heron seemed to really be enjoying itself out at Jamaica Bay on a sunny day. It kept dancing around, putting on a show.

Great Blue Heron.

I made a special trip to Staten Island just to see the local Wild Turkey flock. I first encountered them in 2021, and immediately fell in love.

Look how beautiful!

Wild Turkey.

Wild Turkeys.

Wild Turkey.

Wild Turkey.

Wild Turkey.

I used to visit Zelda, the wild turkey who lived in Battery Park for many years. When she passed away in 2014 (and got a write-up in the New York Times), I was heartbroken. Seeing this flock living their best lives makes me really happy.

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