Nothing frustrates me more than a report of a good bird that reaches me while I am at work or on my way there. And the frustration is magnified all the more when the bird, like the one Thursday morning, is reported from Queens and is also one that I have not yet seen in my home borough. I may have mentioned before that I really like adding birds to my Queens list. I like even more when the bird waiting to be added is a wood-warbler, especially one that I ought to have added long ago. So Bobby Kurtz’s report of a Yellow-throated Warbler from Alley Pond Park (the fifth record in Queens since I moved here in 2008) made me wish I could suffer a sudden attack of bird flu and call in sick but responsibility won out and I made it through my work day and was somewhat relieved to see a subsequent negative report from those trying to find it – that meant that calling in sick would have been a waste.

Nonetheless, when work was done I decided to make an attempt, and made my way from New Jersey across the George Washington Bridge, which was at a near standstill; the Cross Bronx Expressway, which was also slow; the Whitestone Bridge, which was actually relatively traffic-free; and down the Cross Island Expressway, which was packed with traffic. It was when I was on the Cross Bronx Expressway that I learned, when I was sitting in traffic playing with my iPhone, that the bird had been refound by Bobby and Colleen Veltrie. As I got closer I called Eric Miller, who I knew was on the scene, and he assured me that the bird was showing well.

So, when I showed up fifteen minutes later, the bird, of course, was nowhere in sight. Steve Schellenger, Arie Gilbert, Mary Normandia, Eric Miller and Andrew Baksh (who got nice shots of the bird) were all there but the bird was not. They all assured me, of course, that the bird had just disappeared and would most definitely reappear shortly but they, it goes without saying, had already seen the bird. Twenty minutes later the bird had still not shown. Aaarrrggghhh!

Then, Andrew, “I got the bird!”

A few minutes of the usual “It’s in that tree!” “Which tree?” “The big tree, with leaves!” “Aaarrrggghhh!” Then I got on the bird. Nice! It was a Setophaga dominica albiflora which is the fancy way of saying that it is the subspecies with white lores. Bird number 288 in Queeens! While the bird was not as cooperative as, say, the one I spent time with in Florida in January, it was very nice and once everyone but me left it suddenly decided to be marginally more cooperative.

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.