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