I was ecstatic! This was awesome news, a Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) was a very, very good bird, plus it meant that the bird would be falling into the count period for Queens. Since the Virginia's Warbler our recent pride and joy was a no show at Alley Pond Park in recent days, a Le Conte's would make a FINE consolation. Corey sent me a photo of the bird taken from the display of his camera's LCD. I looked it over carefully and while the photo was one taken from an LCD image, I thought it looked good!!
I immediately began thinking about making a run for the bird. But wait! Was I being greedy? I already had a fine morning having had stellar looks at a Barnacle and Cackling Goose. I had planned on birding the Bronx after my walk, but a Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) was too good to pass up. My friend Andria who was with me on my walk looked at me after I had spoken to Corey and she knew I had that "chase" look in my eyes. The rule of "striking while the iron is hot" was already in motion. The walk was coming to an end and so the timing was perfect. I discussed with Corey the location and then it was back to Queens.
How confident was I of the ID? Well, for one I did not call Corey during the ride to Queens to get more specifics on the bird, but instead began to think about the field marks and behavior of a Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii). When I got there Corey was having a discussion with another birder who covers the area for the CBC and he was expressing some doubts while looking at Corey's photos. I looked at other photos on Corey's camera and tried to make sense of why Bob Dieterich (sp) was having doubts. After listening to Bob, I decided he was just being cautious and I respected that.
You see the Edgemere Landfill, is not exactly park land that would be readily accessible to all. Only a few of us have birded the area and always with caution for fear that access to the location would be denied if things got out of hand. So Corey struggled with what to do, plus he had to think about the Queens Christmas Bird Count. Corey was concerned and rightly so given the legality of birding at Edgemere and the possibility of hordes of twitchers descending on the area, with some more well behaved than others (I shuddered to think of some folks running rampant over the landfill tapes in hand blasting away). It was not an easy decision to make but it was Corey's bird, his call and I indicated my support for whatever his decision was. (see his post here as he discusses his decision and why).
life Le Conte's on Long Island. A Terrific bird for Queens and I was very happy to see it and happy for Corey because it was his little patch that he has been birding faithfully. Thank you again Corey for the find, and the call. Here are some of my photos.
Tags: Barnacle Goose, Cackling Goose, Le Conte Sparrow, Edgemere, ertical-align: middle;Sparrow, Queens