Pine Siskin, Central Park Wildflower Meadow

The early arrival of Red-breasted Nuthatches, some in August, across southern New York State augured well for winter finch irruptions, just as it did in 2012 when massive finch irruptions followed. It does not appear that this winter will bring the same volume and species variety that 2012 did, but some of the more common finches may show up in Manhattan.

There have been anecdotal reports, beginning last week, of Pine Siskins moving through Central Park in the very early mornings. The first eBird report came on Monday, 29 September, of this week, when five Pine Siskins were observed briefly at the south end of Strawberry Fields.

I recalled the initial frustration I had in adding Pine Siskin to my year list in 2012 — it took me a week from the first Central Park report for me to see one, despite birding nearly every day. I did not want to go through that again, nor did I want to be in the park at 7 a.m. watching for morning flight.

I remembered that in 2012 some Pine Siskins were seen among the large flock of American Goldfinches in the Wildflower Meadow. This year the meadow is in unusually good condition, abounding with fruits and seeds on trees and shrubs. On my second pass through it, midday on 2 October, I saw a Pine Siskin perching atop a shoot of vegetation. It soon flew, but it gave its rising zhee call a number of times afterward.