Central Park Favorites

Originally published April 2014

The winter was brutal, but now spring is here (at least on the calendar), and it's time to add some more of my favorite photographs from the walks in Central Park. These include pictures from as far back as August 2013 to as recent as April 13, 2014. Here's hoping that all those April showers (including the deluge on April 30), bring even more beautiful May flowers.

There are signs of spring popping up all over the park. The flowers are gorgeous. So are the warblers, which are now visiting the park on their way north. The palm warblers have been especially fun to watch. I call the warblers tormentor birds, because they move so fast and are difficult to photograph. But the palm warblers this year have been especially cooperative.

And a great egret has been flying around the park, stopping at the Lake and the Pond, and all and all being incredibly photogenic.

There have been at least five palm warblers (left) flitting about in the Ramble. They are so delicate and beautiful. The pine warblers (right) are also delightful to watch.

The great egret in the park is so majestic. The bird is a fantastic fisher, and usually catches its dinner much more quickly than the great blue heron, which seems to enjoy playing with its food more.

It is a joy to see the egret in flight. To the bird's right: Evidence of spring: the magnolias ... and the daffodils.

Sometimes the walks leave me in awe of what is in the park. One such walk was on Saturday, March 29, when I came upon a great blue heron in breeding plumage in Bank Rock Bay (north of Oak Bridge). It was first in the northern part of the water, then moved a little south and east, and I was able to get some beautiful photos, and some video. I hope I can do a My Blue Heron II video soon, but for now, I'm posting one of the photos of this exquisite bird. I think this is probably the second most beautiful bird I've ever seen (of course, Woody, our beloved wood duck, is No. 1!).

On March 8, I was in Upstate New York shooting a short film. Outside my window I saw this almost perfect nest.

After a windy night, the nest was reduced to grass and twigs. All that work ...

This dragonfly photo is one of my favorites from last summer. This was taken in August 2013.

The woodcocks visited the Ramble in March, and I was able to see a few. It is amazing how well camouflaged these birds are. I never spotted one on my own, I always depended on the kindness of birders with great eyesight. As potential hawk food, these delightful birds have learned to hide among the leaves and the twigs.

The shovelers are particularly photogenic. Love those big bills on these guys.

This looks like an angry bird (below left), but usually these guys are just hungry birds.

Even the turtles like peanuts (this shot is from August 2013, taken at the Pond, the southern body of water in Central Park -- where Woody the wood duck lives).

The Reservoir has had lots and lots of seagulls. I am beginning to learn the different gulls, but so far have not mastered them. This, I believe, is a ring-billed gull. Love the red eyes. And the attitude.

The Reservoir has provided hours of joy as various waterfowl have landed on the waters and stayed around for a few days. One of the visitors has been the red-necked grebe. Birders were very excited by this bird's appearance, since apparently it hasn't been seen in the park for decades. I especially enjoy the tufts on the back of the grebe's head. They remind me of a wig Haydn might have worn.

The fun thing about Central Park is that you'll be walking along, look up, and see something surprising.

One of the ducklings in August 2013.