My sister is in for the weekend and after breakfast at the Fifth Avenue Diner, Chrissy and I dragged (and drove) her through the snow-shrouded Green-Wood Cemetery. Our feet were not prepared for the snowy walkways, so we did not stay long. But we paused at the Sylvan Water so I could spy on the birds huddled in the unfrozen center of the pond. Here I saw a snow goose, a few Canada geese, some mallards, several pairs of American wigeons, and a pied-billed grebe. Hidden among the wigeons however, was one beautiful rufous-headed specimen I'd never seen before; I guessed it to be, from the company it kept, a Eurasian wigeon. I verified it with my field guide and now I've got a new life bird for 2009!
Later on top of the highest hill (great views of the Parachute Jump and shoreline at Coney Island this time of year) I was greeted by a chorus of funny nuthatch voices. A good selection of winter birds up there: blue jay, cardinal, dark-eyed junco, white-breasted nuthatch, and a brilliant red-bellied woodpecker.
Overall, a great haul for twenty minutes!