In Bergen County, New Jersey’s northeasternmost county, there are quite a few small county parks that are popular with dog-walkers, joggers, parents looking for somewhere to take their kids, and teenagers looking for places that their parents aren’t. A category of person that I have not yet met in one of Bergen County’s parks is another birder, though dog-walkers and others often stop to ask me what I am doing and seem pleasantly surprised to learn that there are birds worth looking at in their park. Either that, or, as many birders know, they will excitedly share a story of a heron, a hawk, an eagle.

But I am getting distracted from the point of this post which is my visit to Van Saun Park the other day. I was ahead of schedule getting to work so I stopped off at the park on the way to my office because I had a new lens I wanted to try out with my digiscoping rig. You see, I again – for the third time – had managed to break my 50mm lens that I hook to my spotting scope and this time rather than replace it with the same Canon 50mm f 1.8 I decided to spend almost four times the cash and get the Canon 50mm f 1.4 lens.  And, let me tell you, that .4 makes one heck of a difference – almost twice as much light to use in getting images!

Still, I needed a subject. Fortunately, there is a horde of House Finches that have been hanging around the north end of the pond at the south end of Van Saun Park so I headed there and, sure enough, the finches cooperated. Though common across the eastern United States since being introduced from the west in the 1940s they are still a pleasure to see well.  What I liked most about this photographic session with the finches was watching the males trying to curry favor with the females by giving them food, a behavior that is believed to prove to the females that the male would be a good provider to their offspring should she choose him.

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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 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.