…Corey over at 10,000 Birds.
My first memory of Corey is of this guy posting to the Hudson-Mohawk List-serv, mostly reporting common birds and annoyingly filling up my inbox. I was also annoyed with him that he kept birding with ‘Daisy’, and with a name like that I could only assume it was a dog (sorry Daisy) and dogs are not allowed at Five Rivers.
One day I got an e-mail from this odd ball character, asking if I would join he and Tom Williams on doing the HMBC Century Run (A ‘Big Day’). Normally I am recluse and tend not to leave my home except for work and food. But this invitation intrigued me and I happened to mention it to my wife Danika, who quickly encouraged me to go (I think she mostly wanted me out of the house). But I agreed to go and did the unusual move of agreeing to meet two strange men in the middle of a night in a park… (I know what you are all thinking).
Pulling into the park, I saw a goofy looking guy, with a camera slung to one side and his binoculars slung to the other. The red-beard and St. Louis Cardinals hat (we all have our faults) shone in my headlights like the eyes of a Whip-Poor-Will.
I was still unsure of everything, even after all the pleasant introductions, but a few moments later we walked down and Tom played an Eastern Screech Owl call. Seemed like seconds later we had a response and then the Owl flew in to investigate. All three of us stood there and looked at this Owl who was pissed off because there was no male Owl trying to take his territory nor a female Owl looking for love. But at that point the bond was set and it has been nearly two years since. I don’t know how many miles we have traveled or total amount of birds seen.
Mostly we stayed local, hitting Five Rivers till you could see it in your sleep, Vischer Ferry, Papscanee Island, Cohoes, Peebles Island, Coxsackie, Ft. Edward, Montgomery County.
Corey also brought me out of my shell a bit, made me become a sharper birder and generally a more sociable person. I went with him ‘For the Bird Which Shall Not Be Named’ at Jones Beach on one wicked cold President’s Day (nearly 1 year ago, exactly). I looked for Cranes with him at Montezuma, Crossbills and Woodpeckers in the Adirondacks, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wigeon and Little Gull on Lake Champlain, our not smart trek down Beaver Lane in Partridge Run in winter. Short-Eared Owls in Ft. Edward, Big Days, Christmas Counts, Big Day Scouting etc. I have issues with going out on the ocean (bad childhood experience) so I don’t do pelagics, yet. But hell, he might even be able to get me to that.
But as he got closer and closer to his big year goals and with Daisy living in NYC, We haven’t had the time to do as much as we used to. Then came the news that Corey was leaving Albany and moving to a place where they do not say nice things about Red Sox fans. He would now be within striking distance of all those rare birds down there, his life list as it is in New York State far exceeds mine and I’ve been birding all my life.
He will be down looking for tame Scott’s Orioles and God knows what at Jamaica Bay. But don’t worry, I’ll be fine… Chasing American Woodcocks across snow covered fields in April or trying to find an Ovenbird Nest, being chased by Ruffed Grouse. He won’t find any of that in NYC, so I’m not sure who is getting the better deal.
Anyway, Corey I wish you luck in your new job and your new apartment and you never know I might have to make an extra trip or two down to the City, to see all of these escapes that show up down there…