Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some Nice Trip Leader Moments

When one has a trip to lead at a location where a rare bird has recently been seen, there's a bit of pressure to find that bird. My trip to Sandy Hook on Saturday was no exception. Not only had a Townsend's Solitaire been seen almost daily for two months, but Bohemian Waxwings had been seen in scattered locations around the Hook. Several members of the group voiced their desires to see both birds and the pressure was on to deliver.

After some random birding around the Hook, we searched for our first target - the Townsend's Solitaire. The last time I had been there I had seen the bird literally inside a 15' x 10' three and a half sided brick-walled structure. I'm not sure what this structure's original purpose was, but it's full of grass and Ailanthus trees now. I brought the group over to the area and I stepped to the entrance of the structure. Like clockwork, the bird appeared on the top corner of the brick wall. "It's right here," I shouted and the group ran over to see the bird put on a tremendous show for them. It's always nice when things work out like that.

As for the Bohemian Waxwings, we searched several flocks of waxwings with no luck. On the bike path, we encountered a flock of starlings with a few waxwings mixed in. I was able to get a Bohemian in the scope, but only one person saw it. So, I used the other option that a leader has for finding rare birds - other birders! I met up with some other birders who pointed us to a spot where we saw not one, but three Bohemian Waxwings. Like the Solitaire, it was a state or life bird for almost everyone in the group!

4 comments:

nina said...

Like birds drawing others to a feeder, birders drawing other birders--hmmm.

LauraHinNJ said...

I think trip leaders must have some special magic to make *needed* birds appear. Glad it worked for you!

;-)

Patrick Belardo said...

It makes up for several trips full of uncooperative birds!

Jochen said...

Gosh, when 10,000-birds-Corey came to visit I wanted to show him a Pink-footed Goose. We drove around all afternoon without seeing a single goose (well, I think we had one very small flock) and all I was able to tell him was that "we normally would have seen well in excess of 30,000 geese by now".
He eventually got bored and we went for other birds.
Shame.
Lucky he got his (vagrant) Pinkfoot just weeks later in NY.