Behind the Outback Steakhouse at Edgewater Commons, a shopping center across the Hudson River from New York City, is a rusted pile of wreckage that is gradually falling apart and into the river. I am not really sure what it is or why it has been left to blight a small portion of the view from the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Despite its unaesthetic look to people it seems that ducks and gulls have no such problem with it.

Why do I know that ducks and gulls like this particular spot? I work in New Jersey and my job often takes me to random spots around the northeastern portion of the state. Sometimes I have a bit of time to kill between meetings but, dressed in business attire, I can’t go romping down a trail and risk showing up at my next meeting muddy and disheveled. This leaves me in search of places that I can bird for brief periods without getting dirty. Places like paved paths.  Or overlooks from which I can scan from my car. Edgewater Commons, up against the Hudson River,seems ideal except for one thing – I never seem to find much there beyond Canada Geese, Mallards, Ring-billed Gulls, House Sparrows, and European Starlings.  And those extremely common birds are not exactly a haul worth blogging about.

But, finally, when I was about to completely give up on the spot altogether I was astounded to see what looked like a pretty good duck dive beneath the surface as I arrived for a brief stop the other day. My interest piqued, I grabbed my camera (What, are you surprised that I tend to bring my camera with me when I have to drive around a wide area for my job?) and made my way to the water’s edge. Canvasback!  And a relatively cooperative one at that!

Yes, I know, Canvasbacks are neither particularly rare nor was this bird that out of place.  After all, this is a duck that winters in the northeast in one of the major rivers of the region.  Nonetheless, I was pleased, and it, along with the Gadwall and American Black Ducks that were present, made me decide that I would not cross Edgewater Commons off my list of places to take a quick look at when I have a few spare moments.  Indulge me in my so-so Canvasback pictures and then let me know what some slightly above average birds have made you happy recently.

Here’s hoping you find some halfway decent birds in unexpected spots!

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.