Pretty much the last thing I expected to do today was see a first state record of a wood-warbler.  You see, tomorrow I am going to North Carolina for several days and had set aside today as a non-birding day (a strategy which, of late, hasn’t worked out too well).  Then we found out that Daisy had to go to work for a couple of hours in the afternoon which meant that my non-birding pledge wasn’t as big a deal.  So when I got a phone call from Seth alerting me that New York State’s first-ever Hermit Warbler had been found at Sunken Meadow State Park in Suffolk County by Vinnie Pellegrino I started burning up the phone lines desperately trying to find a fellow birder who would want to chase the bird (and give me a ride).  Of course, I pretended I was calling people for altruistic reasons but I think that everyone saw through my polite facade.  Eric Miller, a fellow Queens birder (and perhaps the best birder in New York City at finding Oporornis warblers), was kind enough to agree to pick me up and take me along, a favor for which I will be eternally grateful.

Long story short: we drove to Sunken Meadow State Park, parked the car, walked over the skirmish line of birders, and saw our Hermit Warbler.  The bird looks to be a first-fall female and is not only New York State’s first ever Dendroica occidentalis but mine as well!  What a bird!

If there is any way you can get out and see this bird I highly recommend it!

This post was submitted to Bird Photography Weekly #119.  Go check it out!

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.