John Gaggle-o-geese , Phil Jabiru, Pelican, and I met at 6am. The traffic gods had other thoughts though. It was a slow tortuous crawl to the bridge, made a bit more pleasant by a nice sunrise.
|Sunrise on the Throgs Neck Bridge|
|The beautiful roads in upstate New York|
Eventually we arrived at John Boyd Thacher State Park and began looking for a sign for the visitor’s center and the Indian Ladder trail.
|Indians used to use this...|
We stopped in to the visitor’s center and inquired of the park staff, but she was unaware of the celebrity in her midst. She did point us in the right direction, and we headed off to find our bird. A photo of the tree the bird favored had been posted online, and it proved helpful. The trail actually turns sharply and heads down from the Helderberg Escarpment to the valley below. We diverted to the picnic area adjacent to where they were busily and noisily constructing a new visitor’s center.
Arriving in this small field, we were immediately disappointed that there were no other birders present, and then fell into more disappointment as we could not locate the bird! We looked around, and realized that as tasty and tempting as the abundant fruits on the Juniper were, the bird was elsewhere.
With no bird to wow us, we explored and looked at the other birds present. Not a whole lot, but certainly better than nothing. Robins, Bluejays, Juncos, Chipping Sparrows, and 2 flocks of Pine Siskins flying by.
The views off of the escarpment were spectacular. The foliage was brilliant yellows, oranges and reds and looking into a valley made the vista all the more impressive. We walked around and we all could not help but take a lot of photos.
|What a view!|
With hopes that reports might give us a plan of action, we learned that it had been seen at the overlook the day before, and that it had been seen at this location earlier in the morning. We exchanged cell#s with John R. and we went exploring elsewhere.
|Overcast yes, but again, what a view!!|
Then it started to rain on us. Great. But it stopped rather quickly as we headed back to the car, and the sun came out for an ambient lighting experience that was unique: dark and foreboding over that way, bright and cheerful over there, and meh in that direction. And then a rainbow appeared right in front of us in the valley. One end appeared to head straight to the ground, and it was all I could do the restrain Pelican from pushing me off the cliff to retrieve the pot of gold.
|A Sign From the Birding Gods?|
Once we got to the clearing, I saw a bird sitting on top of the chain link fence enclosing the construction site. It swooped down for a bug or such and then landed, but the view was all I needed. THATS THE BIRD! Pelican and I got good looks and I yelled out some more to Phil and John.
They arrived in time to see the bird in the nearby tree, and camera-less, we were forced to take photos with our phones. I still have not mastered aiming that thing, and the bird was in the top of the view instead of the center, but there it was. The ‘insurance shot’.
|Bad shot, but its in the top left corner|
By the time I returned the bird was squarely hidden in the back of the Juniper, but Phil was great at keeping a tab on where it was, helping me, another birder who showed up, and that fellow John R. when he returned.
Finally, the bird flew out from its seclusion and alighted at the top of a tree as is more characteristic. It called a few times softly. We all then got great views and enjoyed the visitor from out west. The bird was at 42.655473, -74.016603.