At 10:45 AM my phone beeped with a text message.  The message was only four words long. Within a minute I had let Daisy know that I would be gone for a couple of hours, grabbed my microwaving beef pattie out of the microwave, kissed Desi goodbye, grabbed my gear, and gotten out the door.

I was at Point Lookout at 11:15 AM. That is kind of amazing when you consider that Google tells me that the ride is 28.5 miles and should have taken me 36 minutes.  Of course, on my ride I had been texting and calling other birders, both with the hope of finding more information and to let others know about the bird.  What bird?  The bird that featured prominently in the four-word text message I had received: “Grace’s Warbler point lookout.”

The horde of birders at Point Lookout was impressive considering how little time had passed since Doug Gochfeld and Andrew Baksh found the bird. How did so many birders get to Point Lookout so quickly?  Oh, right, the South Nassau Christmas Bird Count was today and a huge number of New York City and Long Island birders take part in that count every year – and none of them were on their own territory anymore!

But enough about the birders, where was the bird? Everyone seemed unconcerned and smiling but no one was looking at the bird. Wait, that flick of movement, what was that? That little tiny bird, that is what ended up hundreds, or, rather, thousands of miles from home? How is such a thing even possible?  How does a bird that isn’t even in the eastern North America field guides end up on Long Island? Does it matter? What a bird!

What a bird! What a find! What a great way to start the new year, with a new bird for both my New York State list but also for the New York State list itself!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.