Just before 1 p.m. today a Red-necked Phalarope was reporting swimming near the Manhattan shore of the Hudson River south of Pier 40.
The only other historical eBird record of this species in Manhattan is from 28 August 2011, when Andrew Farnsworth observed over 70 birds in several flocks flying south after being displaced by Hurricane Irene.
I was at the gym, so I did not see today’s alert until 2 p.m. Then I needed to eat, and I also needed to be ready to meet a friend at 3:30 in midtown. I was not set to to leave until 2:35, when I realized that I probably would not be able to both see the bird and make it to my meeting on time. Later a report came in that the bird was no longer being seen at 2 p.m., so I was glad I had not tried for it.
After I was free again at 5:35 I saw reports that the bird had been re-found near the prior location. I walked home, refueled quickly, and by 6:20 was out the door. The Lexington line was fast and took me right to Canal Street, from which I ran to the Hudson shore, arriving around 6:49. Still plenty of light, but a scan of the area did not turn up the bird. I ended up walking further north to Pier 40. It took a few minutes of searching, but the small, long-billed bird popped into view near a couple of gulls. By walking out on Pier 40 I was able to observe the phalarope from as close as 20 feet.
This Red-necked Phalarope was a life bird for me, my 224th, as well as my 176th species of the year.