Sunday, May 19, 2019

Brooklyn & Queens Birbs

     Well, it's been 4 days of ups and downs. It began with a burrowing owl, then being with some friends, then it was my bike getting stolen, buying a new bike (ugh, $$$$$$), attaining another life bird, and then coming home from a lovely evening with friends to find out our cat broke out of our home (don't worry, Keith is back!). Holy frijoles, Batman. And all that happened in under a weeks time.
     So at least here are more of the good parts... and let's hope the week ahead is balanced.
I walked in the morning Friday early, with my friend, Molly and then met my friend Shannon in Prospect Park. I got to show Shannon the Vale of Cashmere and the Rose Garden, she had never been there!
We enjoyed this red-bellied woodpecker that landed right at eye-level.

Does anyone else LOVE duck cheeks?

Shannon told me about how her parents had duck decoys and specifically wood duck decoys, in their home as decor. Birds are memorable like that. I was so happy to share the morning with friends, and then finding that my locked bike (helmet and lock) were just taken, in Prospect Park.
Huge Bummer. Worse things could happen, but we did spend 10 solid years together and I may have grown to love that bike in particular.

So, Saturday morning I put off birding to get a new bike. I'm truly glad birding is a very low-cost hobby that brings me a ton of joy.
But then, because my husband is just the best, he agreed to a stop on our way up to Rockland County at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
We were on the lookout for another (like the burrowing owl) rare visitor, a sage thrasher. We did see it, but then it was flushed. Then Tim spotted it as it reappeared. I got this amazing photo of it.

Discovered by a Queens Birder, this is the first one here since 1973!
Normally this bird is a denizen of the sagebrush plains in the west.

In the same family as mockingbirds, catbirds, and other thrashers, it very much resembles a mockingbird or brown thrasher.

It also makes funny faces.

It almost was behaving like it was coughing something up. But nothing came up.

What a lovely chance to see this bird and observe it for a little while. Two western birds in in the east over a span of 4 days days, for myself? I'll take it!

That speckled chest is just so lovely!

I wonder if it enjoyed the novelty of a tree, as they tend to prefer places where it is very brushy and not very dense with trees. They forage on the ground for insects but also fruits/berries.

What a special thing to see, glad my husband and I got to spot it together. Another one for the life list!

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