Once the leg was mostly fully healed, hiking up and down the hills of the North Woods and the Ramble became positively therapeutic besides enjoyable. And handling the binoculars and camera was much easier without the cane needing attention. I didn't see a lot of spring migration but did have a few really good days, shared with Ed and with other friends. No life birds, though, at first. And there wasn't much to see in the summer except for the usual suspects, so I didn't make much effort to follow Ed on his weekend bird hikes again until the fall migration began.
There were opportunities away from the city. Our annual summer trip to the Catskills got Ed several life birds over the past few years, and this year I got one too: I finally saw a whole field full of Bobolinks! There were many pairs breeding in an uncut hayfield just one driveway past our friends' farmhouse -- twittering their odd song, flying up to the surrounding power lines perhaps to distract predators, perhaps just to keep an eye on the territory.
|My photo, not Ed's|
|My photo, on a really windy day the owl did not enjoy|
Then in December a Painted Bunting appeared in Prospect Park, and there's no good excuse for that bird to be in Brooklyn. It became quite the celebrity. We HAD to see it, despite my birder friend in Ft. Lauderdale noting he had a dozen of those a day at his backyard feeders. As I grew up living a block away from Prospect Park, I was especially pleased to return to the site of my earliest birding adventures. The Bunting was gorgeous. It glowed, as if it were painted with fluid from blue, red and neon green glowsticks. It also wasn't hard to find, as there were nearly 100 other birders tracking it.
I didn't get excellent photos of it, but Ed decided to return the next day and got lucky.
|He's right there in the middle.|