The Cornell Lab of Ornithology presents a great series of online self-paced courses to help both beginning and more experienced birders.
Happy New Year!
During the CBC on Saturday, Lew, Ian, Pete, Marianne (a new birder), and I came across a brown, long-billed shorebird at Foundry Cove. The bird flushed and we had fleeting views. We had imagined it could a Wilson's Snipe, but to be conservative, we felt it was best to identify it as a "spuh" or "shorebird sp.".
A few hours later, we visited Constitution Marsh, when a bird caught my attention in the Indian Brook outflow by the canoe launch. Lo and behold, it was a Wilson's Snipe probing in the mud and what little open water existed. I managed to take a Slo-Mo video of the action, which you can view here:
It was a life bird for me, Ian, Lew, and Marianne. I believe Pete has seen them on their breeding grounds in Maine on occasion.
Ralph and Charlie couldn't recall when the bird was last seen on the CBC, but they are checking records.
Happy New Year to all!
The following is a posting of an article appearing in our PHAS Newsletter but it's just so cool a story, we had to share it here in case some of you still don't receive our newsletter. Enjoy!
When fall migration is in its final innings, the month of November is rejoiced by birders as being an "anything goes" type of month. Not only is it one of the best months to spot rare vagrants far from their normal range, but birds show up in the darndest of places.
On November 8th, a typical weekday, birder Ryan Bass exited Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan at 7:45 am on his daily commute from Garrison. As if his coffee was switched to decaf, he didn't believe what he saw next. Perched atop a black Lexus sedan on 48th St and Park Ave was a Virginia Rail, an elusive bird of freshwater marsh habitat. If one is lucky, they'd expect to find this bird at Constitution Marsh or Manitou Point Preserve, but certainly not in the concrete jungle of midtown Manhattan! Unfortunately, it most likely suffered a collision with a nearby skyscraper, disoriented by the reflections given off from its windows, or perhaps lost in the lights of the city glowing the night before.
Concerned for the welfare of the bird, Ryan posted a message to an online forum of NYC birders, hoping that the bird could be rescued to more suitable habitat. Another birder, Annie, reported to the scene and coaxed the bird into a canvas bag for transport to the Wild Bird Fund, an Upper West Side licensed wildlife rehabber. En route, the Virginia Rail escaped custody, flying to a perch on the roof of a box truck. Determined, the intrepid Annie borrowed a ladder from a nearby hotel in another rescue attempt. The bird flew high into the sky, with strong wingbeats, up and over JP Morgan's Park Ave headquarters, and out of sight. We don't know how this story ends, but we trust that the bird regained the strength to continue its journey south.
Just when you thought you've seen everything on the streets of Manhattan!
See image below