Hello, Hau'oli Makahiki Hou and Happy 2016 from Brooklyn! Started out the year with the usual Frostbite Regatta - this year's better than ever 'cause I didn't think I'd be paddling, let alone rolling, after my surgery, but I did and it was great! More on that tomorrow - but first -
Ah! Finally a day where I had time to trek out to Prospect Park in search of Brooklyn's latest celebrity - a glorious little southern bird called a Painted Bunting who somehow wandered north to Brooklyn and has actually stayed for a couple of months now. The fun thing about birding in Prospect Park (at least for an amateur birder, more experienced birders may like more challenge) is that you don't actually have to find an itty-bitty bird - all you have to do is go to the area that the bird's been hanging out (in this case the seed-rich plantings around the new Lakeside skating complex) and find the pack of intent and excited birders.
Once you've found the birders, they'll help you find the bird --
And if they have scopes, they're generally very generous with sharing! I got my best shot through a high-quality scope that had been brought by a birder from upstate NY who was visiting our area for the day; they'd started at Jones Beach looking for a Tufted Duck, then come into the city for this guy and an Orange-Crowned Warbler who's also been seen in Prospect Park. Seeing the bunting through the scope was absolutely breathtaking - several small children got to see it too, I bet a few future birders were made today! Personally, I was tickled with how well this shot came out, but for a MUCH better shot and more information about what this lovely vagrant is doing here in Brooklyn and what he might do next, check out this article on the Audobon site.