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Truly, a fish out of water

Union Square Park, NYC

overcast 64 °F

Today, after practicing piano in the morning, a Manhattan Bird Alert popped up, reporting a Saltmarsh Sparrow, of all things, from urban Union Square Park in downtown Manhattan! Definitely a “fish out of water” as this bird prefers to go unseen in salt marshes along the sea. Given its odd location and extremely secretive, hard-to-find nature, I had to seize this opportunity to chase the bird and I managed to squeeze in a quick trip downtown for the bird in my two free hours today.

Upon arriving from the Q subway, I found the usual horde of birders & photographers when a rare bird pops up in Manhattan huddled around a smallish patch of grass on the southeast side of the park. There were definitely sparrows around, including the expected HOUSE & this WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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A lone SONG SPARROW also didn’t want to have its picture taken:
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Then, a woman shouted “I think I got it” and sure enough, a smallish, orangey, streaked sparrow hopped out in front of us, slinking through the grass like a mouse. Bingo!!! SALTMARSH SPARROW in downtown Manhattan!!! Too cool!!!
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Here is an example of how close of views it provided to both birders and many curious passerby alike.
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And here you can compare it (left) with a more common White-throated Sparrow (right):
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And it absolutely provided the best views I have EVER had of this species, which I have only seen twice before: once in Merrit Island NWR in Florida, and once at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn where there is actually habitat for this species: saltmarsh. The amazing Saltmarsh Sparrow, therefore, is undoubtedly my bird-of-the-day, and far and away the most photogenic bird I have seen since the Spruce Grouse in Idaho.
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Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 978 Species

Posted by skwclar 13:35 Archived in USA

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