Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When a Rare Bird Shows Up in Greenwich, You Probably Won't be Allowed to See It

Henslow’s sparrow is far from being the rarest of rare birds, but its population is dropping, it is on Audubon’s Watch List, and as a breeder it is extirpated from New England. It nests in grasslands, and only as far east as western New York. So when one shows up in the Long Island Sound area, lots of birders would be interested in seeing it.

And in fact that’s what has happened. A Henslow’s sparrow was spotted and photographer yesterday in Greenwich.

Here’s an excerpt from the Connecticut Bird Report, which I get e-mailed to me:

11/08 - Greenwich, Greenwich Point -- HENSLOW'S SPARROW seen by Peter Davenport and later photographed by Meredith Sampson.

Sounds great, yes? But wait. There was a parenthetical sentence in the report:

(Please note that Greenwich Point is only open to residents of Greenwich).

That’s actually not strictly true, but it’s true enough. You need to buy a beach pass at Town Hall in downtown Greenwich first, then find your way to Greenwich Point, and then pay to park.** My guess is that the people at Town Hall who sell the passes don’t get up early enough to accommodate birders.

On the other hand, maybe no one is at the ticket booth at dawn, so you might be able to drive in unaccosted. And if they stop you, you can argue that if Paul Kempner of Stamford is allowed to ride in for free, fairness dictates that you be allowed to as well.

Good luck. And hurry. The Henslow’s won’t be there forever.

** 2:30 p.m. I should add that the park/beach passes are needed from April 16 to November 13. So anyone can go for free starting next week.


Blogger John said...

It's crazy that they keep the ban up even after the bathing season has ended. I am not a fan of access restrictions against nonresidents, but I can at least see some justification for them during the summer. But during the winter it is just spiteful.

2:18 PM  

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