Last Sunday on a foggy day with precipitation I was out meandering around at Jones Beach on Long Island NY. Not a lot of birds around and it was the kind of day that one gets the urge to pack it in and call it a day early. My friends the Fuestels drove passed me as I walked along the median at West End II and jokingly asked if I shouldn't be watching a football game instead of lingering in the fog and wet.
Grinning, I told them that I loved nothing better than birding in dreary weather. It was true, bad weather days are the ones that I enjoy being outdoors trying to unearth something of note.
Continuing to bird West End, I walked into the median and had stopped to look at a moth I had kicked up, when out of the corner of my eye I picked up a bird flying low and into the shrubs. I tried to find it in the shrubs but could not. Not giving up, I continued to look, when suddenly a flycatcher type bird flew out of the other side of the shrubs with a Northern Mockingbird in pursuit. The chase was short and despite the poor lighting conditions I thought I saw a bit of yellow. The bird had again dropped out of sight and I patiently worked my way around to where I lost it. After searching for a bit I picked it up partially hidden in a shrub. It looked wet and bedraggled but I thought it looked like it could be a Western Kingbird. I setup my scope and began to bear down on the area when the bird flew up and perched out in the open allowing good scope views. I was reaching for the phone as I lifted my head off the scope. It was a Western Kingbird, confirmed by the white in the outer tail feathers which I had carefully looked over.
I quickly called my friend Tom Burke who was still in Westchester with his party of three undecided on where next to bird. My phone call of the WEKI made that decision easy. I then jumped back onto the scope and grabbed a few digiscope shots, then called the Fuestels, Patricia Lindsay and Steve Walter. These were birders that were all in the area and I wanted them to know that I had just found a Western Kingbird. Next, I wrote up an e-mail and put out a post to the NY list serves.
I did not realize this was a Nassau County first for me and coincidentally, my friend Bobby Berlingeri who successfully chased down the bird later in the afternoon called to thank me and in the process, informed me that it was a new Nassau County bird for him. New Nassau County bird for me too Bobby and I count my blessings for that!