[CT Birds] Townsends Solitaire

David Bernstein davidbbernstein at gmail.com
Tue Dec 31 20:01:21 EST 2013

Hi Guys,

I went looking for the Solitaire today from aprox. 1:30-4.  I parked on
Loving Lane.  The house on the corner of Loving Lane and Parker Farms Rd
has an active feeder next to their deck in the back yard which is easily
viewable from the sidewalk.

Before I tell you my whole story, let me start by saying I did NOT see the
bird today. However, I do not think people should be ambivalent to search
for this bird due to the people in the community. Read about my experience
from today below. I met at least 5 different home owners, many of whom were
friendly, and I also had the police called on me, but in the end, the
police encouraged me to continue looking for the bird and told me I was
doing nothing wrong.

I met the man who lives in the house with the feeders.  He was decently
nice and was curious to know what I was looking for.  I explained that
there was a rare bird seen near by and because his feeders were so active I
thought the bird might show up around his house.  He did not mind me
observing and photographing from the sidewalk.

The house directly next to his, which is technically the first house on the
west side of Loving Lane, had quite a few flocks of robins that would stage
in the trees in the back yard.  I observed those from the sidewalk as well.
 Eventually the owner of the house came home and asked me if I was looking
for the "rare bird."  He was a very nice guy in his 40's who told me he
works for the city and heard about the bird and also heard that the cops
were called to the area earlier today.  I told him I was not here when the
cops arrived.  I told him about the bird and why it is rare and apologized
if my presence on the sidewalk with a camera and large lens worried him.
 He told me it was not a problem at all and wished me luck.

I then walked around the corner onto Brookview and realized I could better
see the trees in his back yard from this street.  Once again I scanned the
flocks of Robins not finding the target bird.

I stayed mostly on Loving Lane and Parker Farms for the first 1.5 hours.  I
only wandered on to Brookview for about 15 minutes before my hands and toes
were frozen.

I then went back to my car to warm up.  As I was sitting there I saw a
police car pull onto the street.  He pulled up to me and asked me if I was
recently walking on the street with a camera with a large lens.  I told him
I was.  He was called out earlier because of the birders looking for the
bird.  He was an extremely nice policeman, I believe his name was officer
Binowski (I remembered it because it was like "binos").  I asked him if I
was breaking the law in any way by photographing birds fro the sidewalk and
he told me I was more than allowed to do so.  I apologized to him for him
having to be called out here again and he told me it was not my fault at
all and he was just doing his job.   He then told me I should try near
Piquot Rd because there were birders there earlier and I might have better
luck. He told me originally it was someone on Pequot that called him the
first time.  This second time it was most likely someone on Brookview, as I
personally had already spoken with quite a few of the people who live on
Loving Lane and they knew why I was there.

The officer told me that the people who called were worried about
pedophiles and peeping-toms.  I laughed because I never thought I, nor most
birders, would ever be confused with either of those!! (keep in mind, I was
also wearing a suit and tie as I had just come from a business meeting). He
laughed as well.

I then went to Watrous Farm Rd and at about 3:30 there were at least 150+
robins actively feeding everywhere.  There is a house with a pond literally
in their front yard, and the robins were all around it, in the trees, on
the ground etc.  I was unable to locate the target bird, but I have a
sneaking suspicion it was there.  I even thought I saw it feeding in a pine
tree at one point, and reached down to get my camera and then lost the
bird.  I highly recommend searching this area at this time again.  I met a
younger kid (18-20yrs old) who lived in the house and was wondering what I
was doing.  I told him and he wished me good luck, but seemed slightly
annoyed that I was there.  Once again, I was on the sidewalk the whole
time, so there wasn't much he could do about it.

Good luck to all of you searching, and again, I would not be deterred from
birding this community.  The best thing you can do is explain to
inquisitive home owners why you are there and be friendly to them.  If you
do this, you shouldn't have any issues.  As I mentioned, the cops know
about the bird, and have no issues with birders being i the area.

Hope this helps!

Happy New Year,

David Bernstein
Boston, MA

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