There I was, enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon at home on a rainy and blustery day, resting on my laurels after seeing lots of good birds on Saturday and Sunday morning. I picked up my iPhone because, well, this is the twenty-first century and that’s apparently what we do, and was amazed to see that a few minutes earlier word had went out that a Common Greenshank had been found at Timber Point Country Club. Why was I amazed? Well, I made a list:

  1. Timber Point Country Club is in Suffolk County, New York, about forty-five minutes from my house in Queens provided traffic isn’t too bad.
  2. Timber Point Country Club is the same exact spot where last spring’s Wood Sandpiper was found.
  3. The Common Greenshank was found by Patricia Lindsay, the same person who found the Wood Sandpiper.
  4. I had never seen a Common Greenshank in New York.
  5. I had never seen a Common Greenshank in the Western Hemisphere.
  6. I had never seen a Common Greenshank at all!
  7. With nothing particular on the agenda I could go see the bird!

I packed my gear as quickly as I could and asked Desi if he wanted to go with me. In the nonchalant style that only nine-year-olds have, he agreed. We headed out to the Honda Civic and motored on out to Suffolk County. Fifty minutes later (there was some traffic) we pulled up at the parking lot a few feet from the scope line and heard the encouraging word “The bird’s still here.”

A kind fellow birder let me look through his scope before mine was set up and I saw a Common Greenshank tucked up next to a Greater Yellowlegs. Nice! Lifer and state bird! The only way it could have been better was if it was in Queens.

By the time I got my digiscoping rig set up the greenshank had untucked. Still couldn’t see those green shanks though.

Desi enjoyed lookng through the scope as well as playing with my binoculars. But he soon got tired of the wind and rain and returned to the car while I spent another ten minutes or so digiscoping and kibbitzing with the twitchers.

The greenshank was soon foraging in the open though the distance, wind, and rain made getting clear images tough.

I didn’t care. I was looking at a life bird!

The big question is: What will Pat find next spring at Timber Point?

The ride home was uneventful and peaceful and relatively traffic-free. If only all twitches could go so well!

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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.