Friday, October 22, 2010

The Prothonotary saga

It began yesterday at 12:39:22 PM with a terse report on the birders' listserv eBirdsnyc:

Prothonotary Warbler 40th and 5th !!!

After the trimmed lawn & flower area, just inside the area that has the green barricades, closest to 40th Street. Hanging out under the east- and south-most tree with a number of White-throated Sparrows. Almost on the 5th Ave sidewalk!!!!

The reporter was Matthew Rymkiewicz, a young computer specialist who works for the New York Public Library at the main branch. That's the one with the two lions in front -- nicknamed Patience and Fortitude -- at 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street.

I waited until 3:30, when another eBirds report announced that the bird was still there. Then I took two subway lines [the Q and the B] and made my way to Bryant Park and the NY Public Library. I probably would never have found the small warbler if there hadn't been a little crowd of birders leaning over the stone barrier just south of Fortitude [ the lion to the left as you face the library's imposing main entrance [now undergoing restoration and so not as imposing.] And so it came to be that I saw a Prothonotary Warbler bright as day, the closest look I've ever had, eating away at what appeared to be a communion wafer in the flowerbed just south of the library lion nicknamed Fortitude.

I left a little before 5. But the warbler stayed At 6:51 the warbler was still there. And so was Matthew [though he'd been back to work a few times]. He wrote:

The bird moved a bit closer to the library, at times going behind the temporary barrier separating the building from the plaza towards the 40th Street side. Still popping up and giving rapturous looks as the sun went down. Let's hope he fares well whether he stays or gets outta town.

AT 7:53 this morning a birder named Corey Finger checked in on eBirds. He wrote:

Karlo Mirth just called to let me know that the Prothonotary Warbler is still there, at the left lion when you are facing the library (on 5th at 41st, of course). He further reports that after speaking to some of the homeless men there who were feeding it that they say the bird has been present for at least a month.

At 10:30 a.m. this morning [Oct 22] Mathew checked in again. His report:

Posting because everyone else in the crowd of tourists and birders and photographers in front of the library is busy ogling and snapping. Yes, the bird is very much still here. Seems to fancy the area around Fortitude. If you have not seen a Prothonotary Warbler in NYC this year, get down here.

And around noon our loyal photographer and correspondent Murray Head sent in the photo above, the additional ones below, and some concluding comments:

If you go to find the gold...

Look for this gold too.
He is a very pleasant gentleman who also resides near Fortitude.
He has a very warm smile and feeds the birds.
Perhaps you may consider giving something to him.


all photos by MURRAY HEAD -- early afternoon 10/22/10

PS: an up-to the minute update on eBirds, at 2:30 TODAY:

Still there, and has made a foray into the area to the north of Patience (towards 42nd, in other words). Just look for the birders.

--Matthew Rymkiewicz