Though seeing birds that belong in the range they are in when you see them is nice, it is often even more exciting to see birds that are out of place. Especially if they are really out of place, like from another continent. Lucky me, I got to see three such birds in my home borough of Queens on Saturday! Only one of them could really be counted though. Why? Read on!

The first of the European trio was at the south end of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s East Pond. I was following up on a report of a female Eurasian Wigeon there the day before and was disappointed when my scoping of all of the waterfowl in view didn’t reveal her. But a second pass with the scope and a Canada Goose that walked out of the way revealed a drake Eurasian Wigeon instead! The male has been reported on the pond for quite some time now but always further north and it had not been cooperative at all. For some reason, this time it was more than willing to feed on the shore of the pond, not even flushing when something spooked a bunch of the other waterfowl.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon wondering where everyone else is going.

I had the rest of the afternoon ahead of me so I decided to walk through Kissena Park to see what I could discover. The park was relatively (and uncharacteristically) dead, so I was going to give up and head elsewhere when I noticed a bunch of American Goldfinch feeding in a Sweet Gum tree. Then I noticed that one of them was not like the others and I was pleased to digiscope a European Goldfinch high up in the gum tree as it fed. This bird had been reported before as well, but I wasn’t expecting to come across it. I must add that it really is a nicer bird than the American Goldfinch, one of the few areas where a European bird beats an American bird in terms of color.

European Goldfinch

European Goldfinch in Kissena Park in Queens – an uncountable bird because it is far more likely to be an escapee than a vagrant

Once I was done with the goldfinch a thought hit me. With two birds that make more sense to be in Europe already seen for the afternoon why not try for a third? The Common Linnet, which, like the goldfinch, is likely an escapee, that had been reported off and on at Kissena Corridor Park had eluded me for over a month. But with the kind of luck I had been having I thought it was worth a shot. Not ten minutes after entering the park I had the linnet in my bins!

Common Linnet

Common Linnet in Kissena Corridor Park, Queens, New York (just like the picture at the top of the post)

Three European birds in one day in Queens. Now if only I could find a few more that are countable…

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 and Desmond Shearwater. 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.