Case in Point

Coney Island Creek this morning before the sun came out. Old barges … a home-made submarine, shopping carts, toxic muck. Pigeons: check. Rats: check, a longshoreman-sized one amid the rocks who turned around to give me the beady eye.

But also Common Loons, a Great Blue heron and Black-crowned Night heron on the rotting wood barge, Canada geese surrounding a single Ross’s goose or Snow goose, Ring-billed gulls, Bufflehead ducks, Mallards, American Black ducks, American wigeon, and, rather unusually, an American Avocet. This black and white wading bird of the west and south has a long, upturned bill that it sweeps back and forth through shallow water as it feeds energetically. This was the first time I’ve ever seen one.

About five years ago, a Western Reef Heron, native to Africa and consequently extremely rare in North America, was discovered hanging out in the same area. I’d never seen one of those either.

David Attenborough, come on down!

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