Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rare bird in Central Park - and UPDATE at end

Western Tanager - 3/26/08
Photo by David Speiser

The last rare bird to galvanize the Central Park birding community was a western species called Scott's Oriole and it wasn't in the park at all. It showed up in Union Square Park, a little vest-pocket-sized enclave between 14th and 17th Streets. The handsome immature male hung out there for several weeks, peacefully feeding near the statue of Gandhi at the park's southwest corner. It was clearly attracted to the sap-wells drilled into numbers of trees and shrubs by a local Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. During its long visit the oriole attracted crowds of birdwatchers who spent many hours admiring it and each other's snappy binoculars.

Now it looks like another unusual visitor is sharing sap with a local sapsucker, this one in Central Park itself. It is a Western Tanager, and like the Scott's Oriole, this species belongs on the other side of the divide.

Central Park birder and photographer David Speiser [also known by readers of this site as Liliana's father] wrote a report on e-birds on 3/26/08:

A Western Tanager was found in Central Park today by the Winterdale Arch. This is located by the entrance to CP on 81st and Central Park West. Follow the path to the archway. The bird is to left of the arch up the hill a little toward the roadway. It is in a viburnum and appears to be following a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Many, perhaps most Central Park birdwatchers made a point of seeing this rare visitor. It may still be there today ---worth a special trip.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE -LLoyd on Metro Birding Briefs
The Central Park Western Tanager is still coming to the same Viburnum just above the Winterdale Arch in Central Park. The easiest way to get to the spot is enter the park on W. 81st St and walk the path towards the east. You should easily see and archway that goes below the park drive. The Viburnum is on the left side. Go up the slight hill until you're almost at the roadway. You're now here.
Thanks to Alice Deutsch for letting us know that the bird is still here.
Lloyd Spitalnik