At Bryant Park, there were many of NYC's best birders, but no CTW. We searched the bushes surrounding the area, but came up empty handed. Bryant Park is very busy with morning rush-hour commuters, but the birds seem oblivious to the crowds, prancing on the lawn and swooping down from the trees. While we waited an overly anxious Peewee called from over our heads and at one point showed us what fly catching was all about- as it swooped out of a high tree branch-grabbed a butterfly on the lawn -and returned to its perch all within 10 seconds! Meanwhile, a lazy Ovenbird, who tricked more than me into thinking it was the CTW, meandered under the hydrangeas picking up insects as it shuffled along. A White -throated Sparrow (FOS) appeared - also doing its shuffling dance. Still no CTW. Female Common yellowthroats- in various stages of maturity -who bear a resemblance to the CTW-were everywhere. Every time we saw an flutter our hearts fluttered too. Finally we were about to break up into birding posses when Katherine exclaimed; "there is a bird walking- not hopping." We turned around and sure enough right behind us - on the lawn-doing its CTW stride - was our bird. Fearless, it walked right up to a couple laying on the lawn and with the barrage of photographers and binoculars the couple must have thought they instantly became famous! It's the bird we yelled as the man sat up puzzled. It was a rewarding look at a very secretive bird (click on Warblers to see the photos). A Winter Wren, Northern Flicker and Catbird were also observed.
My next stop was Central Park where I ran into Miriam who was birding the Upper Lobe. I am not a Central Park birder and am mystified by all the trails. Miriam graciously offered to show me the Whip-poor-wills perch. As we walked along, we were treated to Ruby throated Hummingbirds, Eastern Wood-Peewee,
a young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Brown Thrasher, Cape May Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, American Red Start and finally the bird I had come for - the Whip-poor-Will. It was perched high with its head buried in its feathers. It was great viewing a bird that was so often written about in literary tales. William Faulkner made good use out of the Whip-poor-will's song in many of his southern stories. Much thanks to Miriam!
Onward to Turtle Pond where the elusive American Bittern, remained elusive. I met birders at the pond who were also looking for the bird and had seen it on the north side, south side, the small island and even at a point in the small body of water. But, alas, I could not find it anywhere. I did see a Wilson's Warbler and Marsh Wren.
So I had two out of three - which ain't bad- of NYC's rare birds and made some new birding friends, as well.