...more recent posts
Well, spring migration is just about over, but I promised to post this tidbit. It's one of Tom Fiore's field reports from Central Park, including a compliment for me. Tom is an excellent birder, and particularly devoted to documenting the Park's birds. (Although, like a number of veteran birders in need of new challenges, I think he's now more interested in butterflies.) He writes exhaustive lists in the Park's log book, as well as posting online. He always sees more birds than most of us, but his reports have the nice effect of convincing you that there's got to be something interesting around, if you just keep looking. These log entries at the Boathouse were certainly one of the things that finally convinced me to pick up binoculars, after years of strictly naked eye viewing.
The field report as a literary form is an interesting possibility. Some people want no more than the basics of location, observers, and the birds seen. Others write everything out in paragraphs, like a little story, which is not considered very "scientific". Tom's are somewhere in between: annotated lists with comments and occasional opinions interjected. He collects information from many other birders, and estimates numbers to create inclusive day lists. He's become a sort of minor celebrity of the Park, especially after the story of his kidnapping in Columbia got around, and he was featured in Marie Winn's book Red-tails in Love. Birding with him is a bit of an honor, although mostly I end up watching him, and try to figure out how he sees the birds I miss. By the way, Red-tails is supposedly being made into a movie, by Nora Ephron; not sure if it's going to include the humans, or just the birds. Sadly, the Red-tails' chicks died this year, and several Peregrine Falcon nests around town also failed. Hawks in Prospect Park and Falcons downtown are said to be doing OK. Anyway, I'm posting the 5/19 report in the comment field. Just be aware that when Tom credits me with being cautious and conservative, what he really means is that I just don't know enough to make the quick call. And yes, the Blackpoll Warblers did show up, bigtime, last weekend.