Union Square Park, NYC
Friday 25 October 2019 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:
A lone SONG SPARROW also didn’t want to have its picture taken:
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!!!
Here is an example of how close of views it provided to both birders and many curious passerby alike.
And here you can compare it (left) with a more common White-throated Sparrow (right):
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.
World Life List: 978 Species