Waterthrushes are birds that have frustrated me for some time. They don’t like to sit still for long and my attempts at photos are commonly blurred by movement.

JFK07Oct13 Northern Waterthrush 08

Not only are the birds perpetual fidgets, they also like to flirt along the edges of shady streams, so the movement is also compounded by the low light shakies.

JFK07Oct13 Northern Waterthrush 04

A recent trip to New York’s Central Park brought an opportunity to catch one out in the open by the shallow end of The Pond in the southeast corner of the park. It was feeding along the edge of an exposed bar on the ice-skating side of the bridge. Even so, the day was overcast and I had to whack the ISO up to 1250. The pictures don’t stand up to close scrutiny, so sit back a bit.

JFK07Oct13 Northern Waterthrush 06

The two North American species migrate at different times through Central Park, though there is some overlap. Louisianna Waterthrushes tend to be seen from the beginning of April with the Northern Waterthrush lagging up to two weeks behind. The Northern Waterthrush kicks off the return journey and its protracted migration lasts well into October. By contrast the Louisianna Waterthrush is seen briefly through August and in much lower numbers.

JFK07Oct13 Northern Waterthrush 01

Identification can sometimes be tricky, but I was lucky with this Northern Waterthrush as it showed the yellow wash and spotted throat that made for easy confirmation. In the absence of such an easy call, I watch for the flirty tail movements.

JFK07Oct13 Northern Waterthrush 03

The Northern bobs its tail rapidly up and down while the Louisianna waves it more slowly from side to side.

JFK07Oct13 Northern Waterthrush 05

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.