Birding at Sunken Meadow State Park

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to post about my other interests too from now on. Well one of those interests is birding. I guess. Technically, up until yesterday, I hadn’t really gone on a dedicated birding trip since college.

I studied wildlife management in college and wanted to work with birds specifically, so I was studying them every chance I got. When I graduated and ended up pursuing another career, I kind of stopped birding.

But recently, I’ve felt the desire to get back out there. So yesterday afternoon after work, I made the trip to Sunken Meadow State Park in King’s Park, New York.

When I first parked, I sat in my car for a few minutes getting my things ready. There were two mourning doves and a European starling splashing around in a puddle, so I didn’t really mind the wait.

Before I got out of my car, I tried to experiment with digiscoping. For those that don’t know, digiscoping is combining a camera with a scope of some sort to take more close up pictures. Usually when people digiscope, they have something that secures the camera to the scope, but I was just MacGyvering it. And by that I mean I just tried to line my phone up with my binoculars. Trust me, it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and it resulted in some pretty blurry pictures.

Some blurry mourning doves

Once I was out of my car, I walked along the river and saw a few geese and ducks, but I wasn’t able to identify the ducks.

Then I ended up walking through the woods trying to find the perfect birdwatching spot. But it seemed like the more I walked, the less I found and the more disappointed I got.

I dejectedly headed back to my car, thinking that I would call it a day, and promising myself I would make a plan before heading out the next time so that I wasn’t wandering aimlessly.

That’s where the magic happened.

I got in my car and sat for a moment before turning it on. Thank goodness I waited for a bit because it wasn’t long before five or six grackles flew over and started splashing around in the puddle across the road.

It was then that I realized I’d had the perfect spot all along. I ended up staying an extra 20-30 minutes, watching as grackles flew in and out. Two red-winged blackbirds even joined the mix.

Common grackles

At that moment I was reminded why I loved birding. I love watching these animal and seeing how they behave, not just with their environment, but with each other. It’s completely mesmerizing, and it’s a great reminder of just how beautiful our planet can be. You just have to get out and experience it. Or, you know, just watch it from your car.

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