That being said, I have fallen into a nice routine this week. Most mornings I go for an extended walk in Central Park before settling down to write for the rest of the day. The morning activity helps me to focus when I actually start writing. I am actually carless at the moment, so my birding options are a bit limited. Central park is certainly my main destination. Just about everything is frozen over at the moment. A nuclei of landbirds hangs around the well-maintained feeders in the ramble, while another of waterbirds, mainly geese and gulls, resides on the almost completely frozen reservoir.
A snow-covered path through the wooded Ramble
Central Park Reservior (Mt Sinai Med Center on right)
It likely goes without saying that species diversity is very low right now. I think I have tallied ~30 species or so. The most exciting bird was certainly the Common redpoll that appeared at the feeders on Tuesday. A seasonally aberrant chipping sparrow has also been in the area, as have numerous Fox Sparrows. Otherwise it is the normal feeder birds: woodpeckers, titmice, chickadee, grackles etc. Today, a huge female Cooper's hawk made several stealthy passes through the feeders looking for breakfast. I am hoping to get a shot of her in action at some point. Fox sparrow is also high on my wish list. Stay tuned on that front.
I will say that after a year where I birded different areas each day, there is something totally relaxing and even comforting about walking through Central Park each day - even when birds are a bit thin. It would be really cool to spend 2 hours in there every day for a whole year to see how things slowly changed over the seasons. I think I would take great satisfaction in knowing a single place so well that I could detect even small shifts in what the birds did each day. I think this is the essence of patch birding. I am not sure I'll be here long enough to see the whole year through, but for right now its enough.
I hope an some point that Sonia and I will own at least a small piece of property. Then I'll finally have my own little patch that I can watch for at least a short time each and every day. My pipe dream is to have a yard with a feeder array that attracts some huge rarity (Fieldfare, Brambling) during Super Bowl week. Everyone could come over and watch the game while we wait for the bird. Maybe one day.......