A Surprisingly nice afternoon

This afternoon we finished painting the house and I cleaned up and headed to the Bashakill. You never know when a birding trip can turn into one of those special outings. That’s what happened today. As I pulled up on Haven Road, I saw a woman setting up her scope with a Sibley’s in her hand. I asked if she were birding and how she was making out. She said she had just arrived. She explained that her name is Anna and that she is visiting New York from Sweden. She had traveled north today to see Montezuma NWR and then south to Sapsucker Woods. She had had a great day and was now stopping at the Bashakill for a couple of hours of birding. She said she had researched it on the internet and it looked like it would be a productive mid-way stop heading back to New York. She informed me she had checked out a Blog…..The Bashakill Birder! I told her I was the Bashakill Birder and she was quite surprised. She asked, Do people check out your blog and you just magically appear? Well yes, sometimes that happens. We started talking about what she was interested in seeing and I offered to escort her around. At Haven Road her luck couldn’t have been better. Common Gallinules were calling all around us. At least six could be heard. Just as I explained they are tough to see, one swam right out around the bridge just twenty feet from us! We continued walking down Haven when an American Bittern began calling off to the right. I explained again that seeing them is tough, but that yesterday one flew from the east side of the road right in front of me and landed about where the one is calling now. With that a Bittern flew right in front of us, again from the east side and flew right over to where the first was calling. She was quite excited and exclaimed “How lucky can I get!” She was very interested in seeing warblers so we continued on to the Orchard. Here we found many species of birds, including six species of warbler. She had good looks at Yellow, Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart. She particularly wanted to see a Chestnut-sided Warbler, a number of which were singing. Just when I thought we might not actually see one in the dense brush, one popped up right along side us! She had to put her bins down to see it! It hopped around in full view for several minutes and she was delighted! Further on we had Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Pewee, Ovenbird and Black and White Warblers. We didn’t hear any Virginia Rails on the Stop Sign Trail but that was about all we missed. We eventually headed back to her car where her daughter was resting. I showed them both the two Bald Eagle chicks sitting well up in the nest, another thrilling moment. They finally headed off after we had seen about thirty species of birds. Anna informed me at least ten were lifers for her, maybe more. It was so nice to once again see my usual haunts through the eyes of someone who’s never been there before and see just how much they can enjoy it. Before she left Anna told me that I had “Really made her day”, but I kind of think she had really made mine!

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8 Responses to A Surprisingly nice afternoon

  1. Ralph says:

    How nice John. Made my day too just reading about it.
    Dickcissel and Henslow’s still here.

    • Thanks Ralph, and once again, thank you so much for all you’ve done for Shawangunk Grasslands! As is always the case, when I visited to see your two special birds, I am just amazed by this wonderful location! Best, John

  2. Karen C Miller says:

    You’re the bird magnet! Sounds like a fun time.

  3. Anna Lofmarck says:

    Hi John! I am Anna from Stockholm, Sweden and it was me you showed all those birds today. How splendid that I met you, it was awesome to see how you knew all calls and songs! Thanks to you I am at more than 30 lifers on this road trip through Massachusetts and NY state. It is fun to be a beginner in Eastern US birding. I’ll be back one year for the migration! A million thanks for your time!

    • Anna, It was so nice to meet you! I really enjoyed the afternoon. If you come back to our area on your next trip, please feel free to contact me, I would be happy to show you many new birds on migration. Enjoy the rest of your trip to the U.S. and good luck with birding in Central Park! John

  4. Maura Muller says:

    What a fantastic story!

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