Tag Archives: migrant

Ross’s Goose in Franklin Lakes, NJ

ross's-goose

After dipping on the Barnacle Goose yesterday, I really wanted to get the Ross’s today, especially since it is so close by. I called my birding bud this morning at the crack of dawn (well it was really more like 8:30, which is still pretty early for a Sunday.) to see if she wanted to come along and got a reluctant Yes. It would be a lifer for both of us.

We arrived at the pond to see 2 young men getting back in their car with long faces. I rolled down my window to ask the all-important question. Did you see the goose? They both broke out into big grins and came walking over. Yes, indeed, they had. It was with a small flock of Canada Geese.

It was one of those rare occasions where you go to where the bird is and get out of the car and Voila! There it is. And I mean right there. No scope required. Nice. I love when that happens.

All kinds of things turn up in wintering flocks of Canada Geese.  It pays to scope them out and read the local ListServ.

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Filed under Local schmocal, migration, Photos

King Eider in Piermont

king-eider

All Hail the King!  Well, I guess it’s more of a Prince at this point.

Once in a while the birding gods smile on me.  Late last night I saw that a juvenile King Eider had been spotted Sunday afternoon at the pier in Piermont, NY.  It was not verified and reported on the ListServ until yesterday.  Since I am on vacation, I decided to see if it was still hanging around today.  Unfortunately it was also pouring rain today, so I wasn’t sure if it was worth the trip.  But the pier is not that far, so off I drove windshield wipers slapping.

When I arrived, the parking lot by the ball field was empty, not a good sign.  But I drove out onto the pier anyway just to see for myself.  There were rafts of Ruddy Ducks and large flotillas of Buffleheads.  I saw a Song Sparrow, 3 Chipping Sparrows and a Mockingbird.   There were loads of Ring-billed Gulls.  But No Eider.  Or anything that looked like an Eider.  Or even anything big and brown.

Disappointed, I stood alone at the end of the pier in the pouring rain glassing the open water.  I saw a Great Cormorant wing past.  Watching it; I saw a large brown duck pop up in my field of view.  And low and behold, voila, one juvenile King Eider.  It was still there.  But there were no other birders.  Yes, it was teeming, but I have often birded in the rain.  True, the pictures are not great, but I do have some.

With the holiday coming up, I image the pier will be packed with birders in the next several days.  It was nice to have quality time with the King.

To see what this guy will grow up to look like, visit Picusblog he has a shot of an adult taken in Massachusetts.

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Filed under Local schmocal, migration

Fox Sparrow visitor

fox-sparrow

I stood at the kitchen sink talking to my sister on the phone.  The wind was howling around the house and the thermometer read 6F.  The neglected rusty brown oak leaves in the backyard were swirling and dancing in the gale.  I squinted; one of those blowing leaves appeared to be doing the double-footed backward scratch. I had had White-throated Sparrows on and off for the past few weeks, but this was bigger and oak leaf colored.  I stopped listening to the chatter about home, food and her new haircut as I searched for the binoculars.  “Uh huh,” I answered without listening.  I had lost the bird amidst all the leaves.  I lowered the binoculars.  The bird had moved close to the house.  It was a large rusty red Fox Sparrow.  Cheese, I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen one.  I was trilled.  I watched it peck the ground, doing his signature back step as my sister went on, and on.  When I got off the phone I went out to throw some seed on the ground, hoping it would stay around.  Later that afternoon I noticed that there were 2 birds not one.  They were skittish, flushing when a squirrel hopped over to investigate the seeds, or a Blue Jay horned in on the bounty.  If I opened the French doors to the deck, they would fly.  I resorted to trying to take their picture through the glass.  I hope they hang around.      

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Filed under backyard, migration, Photos

The Addiction – a short story

Paul pulled up to the ATM, stuck in his card and punched in $300. He had held out as long as he could. He needed cash. There was no time to waste. The machine whirred and spit out a receipt that said INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. Paul slammed this fist against the front of the machine. He put the card back in and asked for $200. Again, INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. Crap. He HAD to get to the meeting place. He racked his brain. Maybe if he went home, he would be able to find some cash under the sofa cushions. He snorted at the idea. That would not be enough. Maybe he could call a friend and borrow some emergency money. He ran through a list of his friends in his head and sighed. He had already borrowed from everyone he knew. He frowned. As a last resort there was always credit. He wondered how close he was to maxing out.

Paul pulled into the empty lot of the fire station to check his bags. Maybe he had some unspent cash stashed from the last visit. His rummaged through all of the bags in the trunk. His stuff was there. Perhaps he hadn’t needed all of it. But it had been such a steal. As he was kicking the tires in frustration a cop car pulled in.

“Everything all right here?”

Paul nodded and quickly got back in the car and pulled away. The last thing he needed was a ticket. He drove to the park to see what was around. He scanned the area. Nothing. He sat in the parking lot with his head sunk on the steering wheel.

Well, that was it. He was finished. He wasn’t going to make it this time. He wanted it so bad he could taste it. Why did these things always happen before payday? He sat up and took several deep breaths. OK. Stay calm. Think clearly. How much would it actually cost?

Paul slowly got out his cell phone to talk to his fiancée. To beg her one last time.

“Honey, do you have any cash I can have?”

There was silence on the phone.

“Please tell me you are not going up there”, she replied.

He considered lying. The hesitation was enough. She hung up on him. He hit redial.

“What.”

“I promise after this time, I won’t do it again.”

“You promised last time.”

“I know, but I mean it this time.”

“You meant it last time.”

“ I know, but honey, it is a Red-footed Falcon. It doesn’t even live on this continent. It is a once in a lifetime thing.” He knew he was groveling. He didn’t care.

There was a heavy sigh on the other end of the phone.

Was she weakening? He took a chance. “I love you.”

Again the sigh. “OK. But this the last time you chase after a bird.”

Paul hung up, turned the car around and headed home singing “On the Road Again.”

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