Friday, December 24, 2004


owlSaw the most amazing sight in Central Park this morning: a boreal owl. I know nothing about birding, but there were a bunch of people pointing telescopes at a large pine tree by Tavern on the Green as I was about to go on a five-mile run, so of course I wandered over. You couldn't see anything with the naked eye; this was smallish owl some 50 feet high, obscured by branches. But some of the telescopes offered a pretty magnificient view. The owl was just sitting there in the tree, where it's apparently been since Sunday. Almost cat-like eyes. Watching it through the telescope, seeing it swivel its head and look straight into the lense -- I almost gasped and it certainly gave me an appreciation of birding. I might do a story if it's still there tomorrow (Christmas - yes I'll be working it).

Apparently this is very very rare - a boreal owl has never been seen before in Central Park, and was last seen in this area in 1962 (in Jersey), writes Vanity Fair author James Wolcott, who visited the owl on Monday. Usually they just don't come this far south.

The picture to the left is an actual photo of the owl by Cal Vornberger; more are here.

In other news, here's a blog by two out-of-shape reporters training for the Big Sur Marathon. And Frank gave me a shout-out here.
UPDATE 12/26: I couldn't find the owl on Saturday, but apparently it has just moved to another section of the park. What with the earthquake n' all, though, I doubt we'll do a story unless it becomes more of a cult phenom.


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