Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Central Park
not the bird I was looking for

In birder jargon, a "dip" is when you chase a reported rare bird and fail to see it. I dipped twice today on the same species of bird.

Yesterday, several people saw a Connecticut Warbler in Central Park, between the Riviera and the Rustic Shelter in the Ramble. The Connecticut Warbler is a skulky bird, a little smaller than a House Sparrow, mostly olive, with a full hood, grey (in adult males) brownish otherwise, and a bold eye-ring. They walk on the ground rather than hopping or flitting, usually come through New York only in the Fall migration (in Spring I think they go north inland), and are quite uncommon even then.

Yesterday's reports were from late in the afternoon until a bit after sunset, so it seemed possible that the bird might stay overnight. So I went out in the morning to try to spot it. Nope! It wasn't a total loss--a cool humid morning with several wrens (all Carolinas, I think), various sparrows, and my first Ruby-Crowned Kinglet of the season. (Not the one above--the light was terrible this morning.)

In the afternoon, I saw a report online of another Connecticut, this one in Madison Square Park. I wasn't able to get down there until after sunset. There were a few birders left, but no bird.

In birder jargon, a "nemesis bird" is a rare bird that a birder has tried and failed to see several times. I'm not really a good enough birder to have an actual nemesis bird, but I have never seen a Connecticut Warbler in a dozen or so attempts. Some of those chases were stakeouts lasting many hours, including one where the other five birders there all saw the warbler skulking in the shrubbery at one point.

That one made me swear off chasing Connecticuts, but there I was again today--and I'll see if I can get up early enough to try again tomorrow.

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