Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26 - Merry, MERRY, Christmas!! - Couch's Kingbird in NYC

I was having Christmas dinner with my family in Brooklyn yesterday evening when my cellphone rang with a call from Sean Sime. I thought this must be something strange for Sean to call me during Christmas dinner - I knew he was also having Christmas dinner with family in New Jersey. He was calling to tell me about a report of a possible Couch's/Tropical Kingbird in the West Village in lower Manhattan. The bird had apparently been present for weeks, but had not been seen by any serious birders until a photo was sent to Gabriel Willow with a question about it possibly being a Western Kingbird. Gabriel recognized that it was either a Couch's or a Tropical Kingbird, only safely identifiable by voice. Word was now circulating about the bird. I told Sean I would certainly try for the bird this morning and would keep him informed. (Sean did not know if he could get in from New Jersey today.)

Ann and I got home from Brooklyn late last night so I was not up as early this morning as I had planned, but I figured, if the bird has been around for weeks, and it apparently was most regularly seen in the late-morning, I did not need to get there at sun-up. I had just finished breakfast when Sean called to say the bird had been refound a few blocks from its original location (Washington St. between Jane and Horatio) and that it had been heard calling and was definitely a Couch's Kingbird. I told Sean I would be hoping on the A subway train. (Sean said he had permission to temporarily abandon his family in New Jersey and race in for the bird.) On my way to the subway, I called a few friends to make sure they knew about the bird. John Walsh, hadn't heard but as I was going into the subway he checked his email and told me it had just been posted as being seen back at its original location on Washington St. The ride downtown was frustrating because of delays on the A train, but I finally made it to 14th Street and 8th Ave. Coming out of the station, I received a text from Sean that he had gotten in to the city, seen the bird, and was already headed back to New Jersey to rejoin his family. As I arrived at the corner of Jane and Washington I met other birders who told me the kingbird had flown off about five minutes earlier! This started a frustrating wait of over an hour watching for the bird with an ever increasing number of birders arriving all the time. Finally, the bird reappeared and for the next 45 minutes or so put on a fabulous performance hawking insects from the bare trees, mostly in the center of the block on the west side of Washington St. The bird then flew up to a taller perch closer to Horatio before disappearing onto the roof of 99 Jane St. At that point I called it quits andf headed for the office.

Couch's Kingbird, New York City, December 26, 2014                                                              © Joe DiCostanzo
This was # 305 for my New York year list and # 414 for my New York State list. Incredibly it was my 11th new bird for the state this year! I am normally happy to get one new bird for the state in any given year.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah dear, even I have also attended many New Year parties and other events in NYC. I must say that something is unique about venues and arrangements in this city as it makes everything great, memorable and awesome.


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