Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yesterday's report and the 7 Pleasures of Birdwatching

Chris Cooper, one of Central Park's great birdwatchers, sent a report of yesterday's birds to eBirds:

Friday, 16 April 2010
Central Park--Falconer's Hill, Strawberry Fields, the Ramble

7 - 9 AM EDT

An INDIGO BUNTING briefly appeared near the Tupelo Meadow's mud patch, then dove into Mugger's Woods. The Azalea Pond/Gill area and adjacent section of Mugger's Woods remain the hotspot, but poor lighting prevailed. No sign of the L Waterthrush in the Gill (it was there yesterday)...


Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler (many)
Blue-headed Vireo
White-throated Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Song Sparrow (heard only)
Eastern Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco (feeding high in tree in violation of union rules)
American Goldfinch
Hermit Thrush
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Flicker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Brown-headed Cowbird (heard only)
Red-winged Blackbird

--Chris Cooper

PS A few years ago Chris sent me a list he had composed to sum up why he is a birdwatcher. For new readers, here it is again:

The Seven Pleasures of Birding
1. The beauty of the birds
2. The beauty of being in a natural setting
3. The joys of hunting, without the bloodshed
4. The joy of collecting (in that the practice of keeping lists -- life lists, day lists, etc.-- appeals to the same impulse as, say, stamp collecting)
5. The joy of puzzle-solving (in making those tough identifications)
6. The pleasure of scientific discovery (new observations about behavior, etc.)

and saving the best for last,

7. The Unicorn Effect--After you've been birding for even a little while, there are birds you've heard of or seen in books that capture your imagination, but you've never seen for yourself...and then one day, there it is in front of you, as if some mythical creature has stepped out of a storybook and come to life. There's no thrill quite like it.

If you get tired of people asking you, "Why do you go birdwatching?" as I eventually did, these are handy to whip out.