Purple Gallinule, Central Park

On the late morning of November 2, 2019 I had just reached the Dock at Turtle Pond in Central Park when my mobile notified me of a Twitter post of a possible Clapper Rail at the east end of Turtle Pond.

I ran right over and saw a rail foraging along the shoreline with a bill too short for  a Clapper Rail. It looked more like a Common Gallinule based on bill size and shape, but it had the wrong coloring. Then I realized it was an immature PURPLE GALLINULE, a most unexpected bird!

How unexpected? The last recorded occurrence of the species in Manhattan was from June 1928, over 90 years ago, also in Central Park.

The bird continued foraging along the north shore of Turtle Pond the rest of the day, showing no concern for the many admirers who came by to view and photograph it.

It must have flown out that night, as it was never reported again in following days.

Along with the White-winged Dove in April, it should share honors as the rarest bird of the year both for Central Park and for all Manhattan unless something even more extraordinary shows up in the few remaining weeks of 2019.