To some, rare means finding a $20 bill in the street. To me, rare means getting up early. Specifically: 6:30 AM.
Was it really something to brag about? Compared to people who usually get up around that time to take the subway to work? Not really, but considering that I don’t usually get up when the Sun starts to rise without raising hell, yes, yes it was.
I blame my friend, Simon. He’s a birder so he’s used to getting up early (as well as dirty) in order to see rare and uncommon birds. I just like seeing different things in general. I can’t really call myself a birder, but I do like to learn. I suppose somewhere down the line, if I gain some solid knowledge- then maybe I can then call myself a birder. Until then I am just a novice that just points out the colorful ones and going, “oooh!” (Birdnub)
We first headed to Forest Park. There is apparently a mystical watering hole within the park that birds flock to in the early mornings. However when we got there, we couldn’t find it. We probably walked over it, to be honest as it was rather dry. If the watering hole is small, it probably doesn’t last for long after a rainfall. I did see some interesting critters though there so it wasn’t such a bust. I made out with a shot of a spider and a rather chubby chipmunk
Feeling quite adventurous, we ventured out into what Melissa fondly calls “de eyeland” (Long Island) to the Valley Stream State Park. Unfortunately there are no information on this park, but if you wanted to park there, you’d have to pay $8 for the privilege to do so (private car). I did find a bird checklist though so if you’re interested in visiting this park, you would know what to expect and in what season.
I did get more sightings than I had in Forest Park though so it was a pretty good day for me. In retrospect, seeing one new bird is much better than not seeing one at all. And if all fails, just take lots of pictures of adorable ducks!
Lastly, driving back into Queens, we decided to make one last stop to Kissena Park (not so far from Queens College). If I thought Forest Park was “foresty,” this one was the forest tenfold. Weeds, plants, and too much Poison Ivy for my taste.
Some interesting facts about Kissena Park:
- Presumably named in 1908 after Kissena Lake. Kissena, from the Chippewa word “Kissina” (“It’s cold”) by Samuel Bowne Parsons (Parson’s Blvd, anybody), an experienced horticulturist and amateur Indian expert.
- There is a bike track, called the “Siegfried Stern Kissena Park Bicycle Track” right towards one of the entrances. It’s like Nascar for bikes!
- There is a lot of poison ivy here.
Due to me making a newb mistake (bringing only one battery with my camera), I could not take any pictures of birds in the park. However Simon did help me sight some Orioles, so one day I will be back to get a photo of them. Hopefully.