Sometimes this works out fine. A bunch of people had seen a Long-tailed Duck at the bridge over the Harlem River at Broadway. So I went up there bright and early on Saturday.
Long-Tailed Duck, what the old-timers still call an Oldsquaw
Very nice-looking drake, hanging out with a female Ring-Necked Duck. On the way home, I went to Central Park. When I got there, I saw a report on-line, only an hour old, of a Scaup on the Reservoir. "Oh, I can do that", I thought. Turned out I couldn't. No Scaup for me. Also no Long-Eared owl, which has been spotted several times in the past few days, originally in the Shakespeare Garden.
That night, I saw reports from Randall's Island, where one observer had seen a bunch of interesting birds--Killdeer, Green-Winged teal, American Wigeon, Common Goldeneye--so that's where I spent Sunday.
pretty close for Common Goldeneyes
The Goldeneye were there, two drakes and a hen, between the south shore and Mill Rock. This was actually the best look I've ever had at them. The drakes were diving, but it was the female who was being harassed by a young Herring Gull. Very strange--normally gulls attack ducks after a dive, when they might be coming up with food. I think maybe this one had a bright idea--"they always come up with food after a dive so if I force one under, I'm perfectly placed to grab it when she comes up." That would be unusually complex reasoning for a gull, even though completely wrong.
Common Goldeneye female, in between annoyances
On the north tip of the island, I failed to find the Wigeon or Teal on the Bronx Kill, but a Killdeer was poking along the mudflats.
Killdeer and American Black Ducks
A pretty good weekend in all. A few more weeks and there'll be some many birds coming in, it will hardly matter when the online reports say. I can do my own hunting.
Ha ha! Just kidding. I'll be looking at the reports even more then. Golden-winged Warbler, come on out!