Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rare Warbler in park today

Photo of Black-throated Gray Warbler by David Speiser -- Central Park 9/20/08

On today's eBirdsNYC listserv, Phil Jeffrey writes:

Peter Scully just posted on NYSBirds that there is a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Central Park "near ramble shed" - which I interpret as the Maintenance Field building. One was also reported on this list on Nov 17th near the Gill.

The usual Thanksgiving suspects

Fox Sparrow in Central Park - 1/20/09

From ebirdsNYC this morning:

A number of Fox Sparrows in Central Park this morning, along with flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos, also smaller number of White-throated Sparrows plus a few Song Sparrows. Also, Cedar Waxwings and a couple of Hermit Thrushes

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A bird we won't eat for Thanksgiving

Ardith Bondi, a regular correspondent, just sent in the photo above and wrote:

The Red-tailed Hawk, that looks suspiciously like one of the Riverside Park juveniles, remained perched on the 4th floor window of Brigitte Pearl's apartment on Riverside Drive at 109th St., for more than 45 minutes... She said she couldn't take her eyes off the bird as long as it sat there, it was so riveting.

Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

A poetic visitor

Hermit Thrush in Central Park on 10/31/11

Though the Hermit Thrush is not an uncommon bird in Central Park during the migration seasons, it is a special bird in American literary history. Walt Whitman considered the Hermit Thrush to be a symbol of the American voice, poetic and otherwise, in his elegy for Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd."

In 1865 the poet wrote in his notebook "[Hermit Thrush]. . . sings oftener after sundown sometimes quite in the night / is very secluded / likes shaded, dark, places in swamps . . . his song is a hymn . . . he never sings near the farm houses—never in the settlement / is the bird of the solemn primal woods & of Nature pure & holy"

A few lines from verse 4 of Whitman's great elegiac poem about the death of Abraham Lincoln:

In the swamp in secluded recesses,
A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

Solitary the thrush,
The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
Sings by himself a song.

Song of the bleeding throat,
Death’s outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know,
If thou wast not granted to sing thou would’st surely die.)