Rare Bird Alert!

Truth be told, I had never even heard of a Tropical Kingbird. But when I was able to get my binoculars on the bird with a flash of yellow, near the Hudson River, I did know that this bird was something special.

I was able to see a Western Kingbird last year, a similar “flycatcher” with a yellow belly. It’s a very rare bird for our area and that was my first thought.

I’m told that this Tropical Kingbird, seen in Dobbs Ferry, became the 501st species of birds documented as seen in New York State.

I quickly shared photos with my very knowledgeable birding friend Julien Amsellem who then raced to the river. He was not only able to see the bird but was able to get a sound recording – a key component to identifying it. “I think it’s a Tropical Kingbird!” he said. (One exclamation point doesn’t really capture the enthusiasm in his voice). “Is that rare?” I asked. “It’s the first time one has been seen in the state of New York!”

Well, word spreads very quickly among birders these days and pretty much every serious birder and ornithologist in the area arrived the next day to see this “mega-rarity.” There were about 100 people here despite a morning rain. Fortunately our bird stuck around.

Some of the birders who, with their binoculars, watched the Tropical Kingbird as it moved among the branches of a large tree in our neighborhood.

Each birder was kind and respectful to each other and everyone wore a mask. Many seemed so grateful to have seen such a great bird to add to their “life lists.” All of us share a love of nature and a love of birds and we all shared our joy at getting the chance to see such a beautiful rarity.

We were able to get a particularly close look at the Kingbird when it landed on a nearby fence.

Appreciative birders expressed their gratitude. “Thanks for the great find!” many said. Of course the bird should get all the credit. What a journey it must be on. And what a gift it was to have it land in our world.

“Nature can help us get close to each other as we realize that others love the natural environment as much as we do. It can also remind us that we’re all part of something bigger than us. This is the role we take on as nature stewards: to protect and respect the world around us, including all of its inhabitants.” – Martin Summer (Connecting With Life – Finding Nature in an Urban World)

Storm of Beauty

American Robin, Rockefeller Park, Pocantico, New York

Tarrytown Lakes, Tarrytown, New York

Red-tailed Hawk, Tarrytown, New York

“When we contemplate the globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars, all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” – John Muir

Hopeful Sunrise

Indian Brook Waterfall, Cold Spring, NY.

White-throated Sparrow, Deer Pond Farm, Sherman, CT.

“There never was a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope” – Bernard Williams

Our Fragile World

Bobolinks, like this one photographed this morning in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY are truly amazing birds. They can travel the equivalent of four times around the earth during their lifetimes. But their numbers are declining due to habitat loss.

The Peregrine Falcon’s comeback from the brink of extinction offers hope as the eventual elimination of DDT made it possible for the world’s fastest raptors to recover.

Red-tailed Hawk, Palisades Lookout, Palisades, NJ.


Great Blue Heron, Teatown Reservation, Ossining, NY.


American Oystercatcher, Milford Point, CT.

Belted Kingfisher, Dobbs Ferry, NY.

Semi-palmated Plover, Pelham Bay Park, NY.

American Oystercatcher, Turks and Caicos

“As many spiritual masters have taught us, heaven, earth, sea and every creature have an iconic or mystical capacity to bring us back to the Creator and to communion with creation.” – Pope Francis

Let’s Party!


A Baltimore Oriole shared an Eastern redbud tree with a bumble bee at Croton Point State Park, NY.

Eastern Bluebird, Rockefeller State Park, Pocantico, New York.

Bay-breasted Warbler, Rockefeller State Park.

“Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party!'” – Robin Williams

Earth Day




A Common Grackle, a Green Heron and a Killdeer were photographed near our home in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

“May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.” – Apache blessing

Hooded Mergansers




“An attitude of wonder requires that we look anew at the familiar, that we stop taking the world around us for granted. An attitude of wonder acknowledges how little we really know. An attitude of wonder is essential if we are truly to experience the creation and the creator.” – Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Contemplative Photography