Saturday, August 16, 2008

Scissortail and a Move

Yesterday was a busy day. My girlfriend Jessica and I had movers coming to help her move into my apartment, and we've been packing and getting ready for a couple of weeks. Everything was going to plan until I got a call at 9am from Shai Mitra...he'd found White-Faced Ibis at Jamaica Bay. I'd given up on this bird for the year because we've passed breeding season, and they are much more difficult to distinguish from the common Glossy Ibis when they are in non-breeding plumage. Nonetheless, Shai and Doug Gochfeld had managed it, and now I was apologizing to Jess and racing out to Jamaica Bay. The movers weren't coming until noon, so I had time to make a quick dash and back. Unfortunately, the bird flew, and has not been seen again. So I did my morning of birding and was back exactly at noon. OK...still on track for the move. And then another call from Shai...Scissortail Flycatcher, seen the day before at Shawangunk Grasslands (near New Paltz), was being seen again. Against my expectations, it had stuck around. The movers showed up and I alternately watched the clock and got a good workout for the next four hours, hauling boxes and furniture up and down stairs. Things went quickly and at 4pm Jess and I were in the car and racing upstate. A traffic jam on the Deegan Expressway made it a closer call than it needed to be, but we got to the Grasslands with about 45 minutes of light left. No one was there, but the bird was, and we got to watch it perch and flycatch until sunset. It was a beautiful adult with bright red shoulders and a long, forked tail. We all enjoyed a little peace at the end of the day, and then headed back to our new home.

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