Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rare Bird in Central Park

Dickcissel on Falconer's Hill - May 10, 2008
Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik -

photo by David Speiser []

Yesterday was one of those red-letter days for the Central Park birdwatching community when a rare bird is sighted and the powerful birders' grapevine is swiftly activated. Soon great numbers of people came to the easily located spot -- Falconer's Hill-- and had an opportunity to see a DICKCISSEL, This is a grassland bird of the prairies, rarely seen in this area, and never, or possibly once in Central Park. According to the Cornell website, "Dickcissel populations declined drastically from 1966 to 1978, but then stablized at a lower level. May be declining again in some areas."
Yesterday's Dickcissel was the first of this species I ever saw -- a so-called Life Bird. This was true for quite a number of birders there yesterday. And needless to say the camera-bearing community was well represented at Falconer Hill. Above, two fine examples.

Today's good news: [5/11/08]
The bird is still in Central Park! On e-birds this morning Jack Meyer reported :

The Dickcissel was still being seen at 11:00AM,. and appeared to be settled in for the day. It was on the east side of Falconer's Hill, best seen from the lawn, which is fenced but can be entered through gaps (legitimate ones opened by the Parks Dept).

On Metro Birding Briefs Sandy Spitalnik described the bird's location:
Enter by Strawberry Fields at W72nd St and walk east. Cross the park drive, go slightly south and a little further east up a hill. This hill is just south of the Falconer's Statue on the main E/W transverse, and slightly south of the Lower Lobe (called Wagner Cove on maps)

Good luck if you go.