Thursday, April 16, 2009

Central Park - Those New Yorkers are Pretty Nice

It's not enough that I have a house full of company (Mom and Dave from Florida and Nathalie from Norfolk) and my Dad is in the hospital, and I need to pack for 11 days away. No, that's not enough. I also had to go to New York for a meeting today. You know me. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go birding in Central Park.

I took the 6:00 AM train from Trenton - side bar here: there must be 200 Crows that roost at the Trenton Train Station, what a racket - and arrived in Penn Station at 7:15. Took the C subway to 81st St and into Central Park by 7:45. Of course, I had no idea where I was going.

Thankfully, I ran into a guy with binoculars almost immediately but not before spotting my first Eastern Towhee of the season. The nice man showed me into the "Ramble" and to the feeders. We saw Ruby Crowned Kinglet, lots of White-throated Sparrows, other birds that like feeders and my first Swamp Sparrow ever.

I left that man and ran into another man with binoculars who told me about a Yellow-throated Warbler at the "Boat Pond" and Hermit Thrushes in "Strawberry Fields" and pointed me in the general direction. Wow, Central Park is a big place when you are in it and don't know where you are going.

Luckily, I ran into a nice woman with binoculars who escorted me to the boat pond. Apparently they race little model boats on this pond in warmer weather. The nice lady also pointed out Pale Male's nest on a building ledge. (For those of you who don't know Pale Male, he is a pale Red-tailed Hawk that is really famous. Read "Red-Tails in Love" for more of the story).

We ran into a bunch of people with binoculars who were also hoping for the Yellow-throated Warbler. They were being followed by a film crew. And there was a photographer with a giant lens hanging around too. How New York is that? My new friend and I (Di, is that grammatically correct) decided to move along when the first nice man in this story said "here it is" and pointed to a bird on the concrete the edge of the pond. The bird flitted right along the ledge, 2 inches over my lady friend's head and into the tree 5 feet away from us! Naked eye birding at it's best.

The film crew and the photographer were nowhere to be found. Honestly. What a morning in the big city.

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