My pursuit-- the third attempt- of Bush terminal park's winter celebrity Western Meadowlark is quite a story in itself. And it wouldn't been had without the sharp eyes of a young girl birder and her dad.It was their kindness helping me getting a kings County tick bird my 299th ( though unofficially I'm past 300 due to undocumented records before eBird started.)
But getting this bird was hard work! I went by subway to avoid losing a parking spot only to find that the Bay ridge bound R train wasn't stopping at 9th street.My bad not checking the mta alerts. So up to 5th ave to get the B63 bus; however that wasn't running according to schedule,it was very late. Rather getting on a packed bus with a scope on my back,I elected to walk to 43rd street. Two miles and not a single bus passed me!
In the park now, I hoped to find this very elusive measowlark. Information passed on by birders leaving the park pinpointed the lark in the grassy salt marsh strip. And there I stood entrenched waiting,waiting and..waiting. A father birder ,Ben and his daughter Asher a child about 8 years old were with a photographer friend- all from Upper Manhattan. So I struck up a conversation with them, having never met them before. We parted after ten minutes they to the last cove,me to check the vacant lot. They come back along the grassy strip and my return as well when I noticed Asher pointing. Shes got the meadowlark! But in flight, the lark flew to the lot. ( dang it!).
After 15 minutes, I joined the three at the lot edge when apparently Asher thinks she spots the lark. Yep there it goes! And back to the grassy strip we go!
And almost immediately Asher and her dad spots the western meadow lark on a driftwood but unfortunately I dont. I cant pick out the camouflaged bird against the sandy beach. The glare is too strong to see the faded bird. I was desperately looking despite the fathers instructions where. Then an idea came to me: I asked the father who was taking photos to zoom in on the bird so I can watch the back of his camera. Once I saw where the bird was , my eyes adjusted and finally I got my nemesis tick bird.
The bird stayed on that driftwood for 5 minutes.Amazingly, the strong wind didn't impact our excellent observation. And the kindness of strangers, especially the sharp eyes of a young girl who has great potential is what makes birding great, a shared effort that is beautiful for people's generosity.
I'm happy as a lark.🤗
"The stormy March has come at last,
With winds and clouds and changing skies;
I hear the rushing of the blast
That through the snowy valley flies."
― William C. Bryant