Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Extremely rare visitor

American Bittern in Central Park [2011]

The American Bittern is an extremely rare visitor to Central Park. It was seen once in 2011, on May 18th at the Point; in some years it is not seen at all. As we were finishing our sparrow watch on the Great Hill, Malcolm Morris approached and told us that he had just seen an American Bittern in the North Woods, originally found by Tom Perlman. Malcolm gave us excellent directions* and we headed over to see the bird without delay. Two other birders were already viewing it when we arrived, and we were treated to unobstructed, well-lit views of the bittern perched with its neck extended skywards in a bare tree about 35 feet off the ground.

From Starr Saphir

*excellent directions:

Take the wood chip path continuous with the NW slope of the Loch
looking over Lasker rink and the Meer. About halfway on that chip path
is a huge boulder. Just north of that boulder (about ten or twenty
yards) is a snag and just next to the snag (slightly up slope) is a
tree that has not leafed out yet. The bittern is (or was) in that

Good luck to those who try for it. Hopefully the bird will stick around.

Karen Fung