New York, NY
Tuesday 23 April 2019 71 °F
Upon hearing that Seaside Sparrows were back on territory for the spring at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn, I knew I had to spend my free Tuesday morning searching for this long-elusive life bird. I awoke at seven o’clock, and after a ride on the A & B trains as well as an uber, I arrived at Plumb Beach. It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the sixties.
I arrived just before nine o’clock and started off the day with a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER:
SNOWY EGRET, I think the first I’ve seen in New York:
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, nice to see that they’re back:
Not my hoped-for Seaside, but a SONG SPARROW:
Then, I met a friendly birder who pointed me in the direction where she had seen two Seaside Sparrows earlier in the morning! My hopes were high.
A FORSTER’S TERN flew by:
Then, I saw a smallish, dark sparrow run over the matted marsh grass in front of me. I was 98% sure it was a Seaside, but I had no way of knowing for sure until I got a better look at it. This would end up happening again and again throughout the morning as these tiny birds quickly flitted out of sight.
This BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE was nice to see, a very good bird for Brooklyn:
Then, I heard a sharp, chattering call from the marsh behind me and tracked the call down to find a CLAPPER RAIL, the first I have ever seen! I have only ever identified this bird before by ear. Too cool!
Then, I saw it. A tiny sparrow ran into the marsh grass in front of me, so with a little bit of spishing, it sat up, and lo and behold I had my life bird SEASIDE SPARROW! Amazing!!!
Plumb Beach is possibly this bird’s last breeding stronghold within New York City limits, and this location has quickly become the most reliable place to find other sparrow species as well, such as Saltmarsh and Nelson’s, both of which I saw here last year. Seaside Sparrows are much more common further south along the Atlantic coastline, but Long Island does hold a few breeding populations such as this one within its salt marshes on the southern shore.
Even more surprising, though, was a non-avian sighting: there was a man stalking through the bushes, wearing not a single garment of clothing! Ugh. I immediately called 9-1-1 and, having gained my life bird, called an uber ASAP and was out of there in no time. It is the big city, after all!
Bird-of-the-day to the Seaside Sparrow with runner-up to the Clapper Rail, an absolutely tremendous morning of birding! Honorable mention to the naked man, lol.
World Life List: 970 Species (1 life bird today: Seaside Sparrow)