Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 24 - Quick Rarity Chase

As I had this day off from work I had a little time to look for some recent rarities.  First up was a Northern Shrike in the South Branch WMA.  It took me a few minutes to find the exact road and the abandoned house with the two silos.
However once there, and having walked about 100 paces, I was able to spy the Shrike in the distance atop a Cedar tree.  As I continued to walk in hopes of a better view, the bird flew in a bit closer, and then closer still.
It felt like the bird was curious about my presence, and it finally landed atop a small deciduous tree only about 20-25 yards away, which afforded my some very nice views.  Unfortunately the bird turned it's face as my photo was taken, however the image still allows me to share with you the intent of this blog, which is to share what my eyes see...

click to enlarge

Afterward I made a stop nearer to home to try for the Painted Bunting which had been found by David Blinder about one week earlier.   At the stakeout, I ran into friend Mike S. and we spent some time chatting as we waited for the bunting to appear.
After almost 90 minutes it was time to leave for both of us, and as luck would have it the bird finally appeared, however it was the briefest of views as the bird barely came out of the phragmites and only provided partial views of its unmistakable colors.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 12 - Long rarity Chase

Today my friends and I finally decided to go see the Prospect Park Painted Buning, affectionately known in Star Wars' jargon as '3PB'.  This bird was first report around December 1st, and was faithful to the area above the skating rink known as the LeFrak Center.  Many newspaper articles and television news shows have has reports about this bird during the month of December.
Here's just one of them Why a Painted Bunting landed in Brooklyn

We arrived just after 7:30 am, and within 15 minutes I located the bird for our group of 4.  Soon there were more than 20 birders, and novices, enjoying the spectacular colors of this bird.

Here's just one of the many lovely images of this beauty:

Click to enlarge
credit: Chun Zhou

A youtube video of the bird & some of it's watchers is found here:

A Painted Bunting in Prospect Park, Brooklyn - YouTube

After looking at a few more regular birds within Prospect Park we decided to head north up toward Greenwich, Connecticut for another recently found rarity.  I ahd last tried for this bird in Connecticut back in 2006, but I had missed it then. This target was located in the area of Cos Cob, and we arrived just after 1 pm and were told the bird had just been seen, however it had flown off.  Thankfully the wait was short as the bird returned a few minutes later.  We all got to enjoy nice looks at this western vagrant known as the Townsend's Solitaire.

credit: Frank Mantlik                                                                      click to enlarge

This bird would sing at times, and moved around quite a bit, but all in the same area so it was in view for quite some time.
I had last seen this species back in June 2008 while in Colorado.