There is no need for me to go into detail about past birding experiences at Bryant Park. Regular readers of 10,000 Birds will recall a host of cooperative wood-warblers, an absurdly obliging woodcock, and many more good birds over the last several years. But even the annals of Bryant Park bird sightings, if such annals exist, have no record of a winter like this one in Bryant Park. Wintering birds this year include two Yellow-breasted Chats, at least two Ovenbirds, several Gray Catbirds, and, perhaps most impressively, a Lincoln’s Sparrow. There are several records of Lincoln’s Sparrows persisting into -or even through – December in New York State but it seems unlikely that any other was ever seen so well by so many birders.
And, as always in Bryant Park, the birds have acclimatized to people, thousands of people at close range. In addition to the usual crowds in the small midtown Manhattan park, the ice skating rink is up and fully operational and most of the rest of the space in the park is filled with vendors hawking everything from waffles to jewelry for the holidays. The birds that have for whatever reason decided to winter in the park have very little space in which to do it which makes it even more surprising that so many birds are seemingly thriving there.
But enough words, how about pictures? One more thing before I get to that though. One of the main reasons Bryant Park birding is so good is because one birder, Ben Cacace, regularly visits the park and reports on what he finds there. This enables folks like me to wait and time my visits for after Ben has reported a good bird. But instead of being bitter about lazy birders taking advantage of his hard work Ben seems more than happy to help birders who might not know the best places to look to refind the rarities that he has reported. In fact, most of the images in this post are due to Ben making sure that I got on the birds. Thanks, Ben!
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens
You know Chat would be a life bird for me…
I need to get out more.
Thanks, I’ll have to take a peek tomorrow. This is just too weird.
Where does Ben Cacace post his sightings?
@Will: Yes, yes you do.
@David: Let us know what you found!
@Patty: If you join the “ebirdsnyc” group on yahoo you can get reports from Ben and a host of other birders in and around New York City.
Thanks for this post! I decided to head out to Bryant Park today, and managed to life Yellow-breasted Chat, and revel in an Ovenbird that literally was foraging at my feet (and seemed to appear all over the park. I think there might be more than two!) I also spent time with the Catbirds, a species I love and have missed a lot lately. I struck out on the Lincoln’s Sparrow, but I did get a Hermit Thrush. I love that I got the Chat inside a tree lit up with holiday lights. Awesome. Thanks again for the info and the inspiration.
No problem, June, I’m glad you got most of the birds!
Dear Corey, Have Grackles & Red-winged Blackbirds been seen in Bryant Park? Is there a checklist of birds observed there? I have signed up for yr great news by e-mail. Yrs ever, John
@John: Neither have ever been reported to eBird. You can see the composite list of all species that have been reported in Bryant Park to eBird by going into the “Explore Data” tab on eBird.org – there have been 72 species reported there!