Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An Unusual Visitor

This is NOT outside our apt, you'll understand my difficulties with photography below...

Columbia and I used to be big time bird watchers. We even almost made it in with the Central Park Birders... almost. There was the day that Marie Winn remembered who we were, but that was also the day Columbia proposed. Thus ending our free time and bird watching. Mostly.

Yesterday, as Pumpkin and I were returning from running errands, a bird caught my attention. It wasn't 'just a sparrow' frolicking in the plants outside our building, but an unusual bird I hadn't seen before. It reminded me of a catbird, but was much too small. I tried to take a picture with my phone (note: people on one income do not have phones with cameras good enough to take a picture of a tiny bird hopping around a shady area) but realized I was going to have to rely on my eyes. Thin black beak, dark hood, white belly, white bar on it's wing. I thought it might be migrating and stopping over for a break near Central Park, as many birds do.

After Pumpkin was in bed for the night, I did a little research. I first looked at the Birds of New York Field Guide, as it's such an easy book to use. However, this doesn't account for many of the birds that migrate through. Next up Peterson's Guide. It's much more difficult to use but I began to narrow it down. Definitely a warbler... Hmmmm... Then I remembered the bird list. There's a list compiled every day of the birds seen in Central Park - people really do take birding seriously here. I located the list, looked at the warblers, cross references with Peterson, considered the possibility of color variation with the shaded plant area outside our apartment, and FOUND IT!

A black-throated blue warbler!

It occurred to me that this is what our cat was going bonkers for at the window earlier in the day. I'm glad it wasn't a 4 legged creature as it'd feared...

Posted picture used under creative commons license from Flickr user scubapup.

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