Things hadn't worked out so well so far this year though and, although I chased after a LeConte's Sparrow in Brooklyn, and another one that was seen by many near Ithaca, I missed them both. While I certainly hadn't ruled this species out, I really wasn't expecting to get one this late in the year, so when Corey Finger called yesterday and asked how long it would take me to get to Queens, I was pretty psyched.
As usual when these calls come in, I was at entirely the wrong end of Long Island and in this case I was birding at Napeague and enjoying a nice slow day poking around the marshes counting sparrows. A LeConte's meant I was definitely going to run West though so I slogged back to the car and set a course for Queens, dreading what can sometimes be a long and painful run in traffic. On the road I got some photos from Corey via text and the ID certainly looked good, at least as far as I could tell from glancing at iPhone shots Corey had taken of the screen on the back of his camera. And mercifully today the traffic actually cooperated so I drove up onto the Edgemere Landfill at around 12:15pm (after a quick two and a half hour drive) and saw Corey and Andrew Baksh standing out on the grasslands.
|LeConte's Sparrow (4 shots)|
There was a problem though. The status of access to the Edgemere Landfill is apparently less than clear, and while I had just driven in and tried to look as though I was supposed to be there, it wasn't clear that the site was readily accessible, especially if birders started showing up in numbers. The Queens birders were understandably nervous about getting birders shut out the day before the Queens Christmas Bird Count so made the decision to delay announcing the bird. Oh, and apparently there's also a problem with wild dogs (!). Corey discusses the dilemma over at 10,000 Birds
Still, controversy aside, it was a terrific bird and I was very grateful for the chance to see it. So what's next? 360 would be a very nice number for a New York State year list ....