Heading to the Ramble I wandered over to the feeders and decided I was going to stake it out until I saw a redpoll. Other birders had seen redpolls recently but my visits to the Ramble had produced neither redpolls nor siskins and I was feeling like I was missing out. Almost as soon as I arrived it started to rain but I figured I'd jut ignore it and was soon joined by a birder (Allison Rea?) so at least had I had some company while I waited. We chatted as we stood in the rain and I kept a basic scan pattern where once every minute I put bins to each of the feeders, left to right. There was plenty of action at the feeders with lots of American Goldfinches, a Brown Creeper, and even a few Red-winged Blackbirds giving hope for an early Spring. Then after about 20 minutes of the same routine, and "as if by magic", there was a female Common Redpoll on one of the sock feeders. I hadn't seen the bird come in, it had simply appeared silently at a feeder while I was looking elsewhere. Luckily I able to quickly get Allison on to it and it turned out that it was a life bird for her, seemingly making her day. It always feels good to get a fledgeling birder a life bird, but I was also pretty happy to see a redpoll in New York City as I think it's been years since I last saw one here. So mission accomplished I left the feeders with a smile on my face as I wandered off into the rain in search of the next thing.
Buoyed by the redpoll I walked the Gill hoping for a Rusty Blackbird (no luck) then headed over to the Shakespeare Garden to look for a Saw-whet Owl.
|Northern Saw-whet Owl in the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park|
Photo: Brian Padden (used with permission).
While I wasn't seeing an owl I got an email that Tom Fiore was seeing a Black-headed Gull up at the Reservoir so, after admitting defeat on the owl I headed up there to look for that bird. I got there perhaps an hour or so after Tom had seen the bird and, although I scanned the gulls for thirty minutes in the pouring rain, I couldn't pick out a Black-headed Gull from the hundreds of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls on the causeway. I did bump into Tom though who showed me some excellent photos of the bird that he'd taken that morning, a little disappointing but enough incentive to ensure I'll be back to look for it another day.
And so with time marching on I had to start heading back South. Tom, who I'd hoped had good owl karma, went back to look for the owl, but even though we saw lots of whitewash, and met a nice French birder who showed us where it was a few days ago, we still couldn't come up with it. Some things are just not meant to be I guess so I gave up and went to look for the Iceland Gull that had been reliable on the Lake for the past few days.
|Iceland Gull, Central Park Lake. Photo: Brian Padden (used with permission).|