I’ve been visiting Central Park for three years now and continue to be blown away by the varieties and striking colours of the birds you encounter. On a dull day they can really light up a scene.
I visited the Park on a very soggy and dull morning, a few weeks back in between snowfalls As I entered at 5th Avenue and East 61st St. mist hugged the ground creating an ethereal atmosphere.
Atmospheric views continued as I made my way along the east side of the ice-covered Lake (weather permitting you can hire rowboats from April through November) toward the Loeb Boathouse restaurant/café where I was meeting friends for birding.
The walk itself was a little underwhelming until Evodia Field in the Ramble. Birders refer to this area simply as “the feeders” since during the worst of winter two stalwart volunteers, Lee and Neil, provide the birds with tasty delights such as nuts, peanut butter, suet, coconuts and oranges.
Orange halves hanging from branches were fluorescent in the gloom. Then something even brighter alighted on them – a male Baltimore Oriole (a bird not a baseballer!). The male and a female have been hanging out in the Park, months after the Fall when they would normally migrate south. I’d encountered them before but not at the feeders and this was by far my best view. Hopefully, with Neil and Lee’s efforts they’ll see the winter out.
A great way to end the walk. Then it was a short stroll south-east to the Boathouse, where we warmed up next to the fire in the Express Cafe and indulged in HOT beverages and – my particular favourite – modestly-priced, steaming hot, tasty and filling vegetarian chili.
*Deb Allen kindly provided the image of the male Baltimore Oriole. Though its feeding on a peanut butter-covered coconut it gives a good idea of how bright these birds are. Access Deb’s more recent and brighter image of a male; all her images; and the Central Park birding walks she and Dr. Robert (“Birding Bob”) DeCandido lead.