Sometimes life is just absurdly good to me.

Last year, in a remarkable display of willpower, I refused to count a Blackpoll Warbler that I wasn’t sure was a Blackpoll Warbler, and was rewarded with a clear and definite Blackpoll Warbler the very next time I went out. Some cynical folks might say that that’s because there’s a week or two every year in New York where it would require mad talent not to see a Blackpoll Warbler. But I disclaim this — I say it’s because I’m a fortunate child of Mother Nature, and she rewards my good behavior. How else do you explain the Marsh Wren who – after the hide-and-seek Marsh Wren fiasco at Jamaica Bay – popped up out of the reeds at the Meadowlands this weekend and just sang his little heart out? Well, yes, he wasn’t actually singing for me. He was singing for his rival on the other side of the trail who was singing back at him. Nevertheless.

It was a good day, the first day I ever birded at the Meadowlands. The Inimitable Todd and I went out to visit our friends Matt and Danielle, and Danielle and I went to the park while Matt and the IT noodled with their music equipment. I think Danielle and I got the better end of the deal, because beside the Marsh Wren and many other typical Meadowlands birds – breeding plumage Ruddy Ducks, Great and Snowy Egrets, Tree and Barn Swallows in great abundance, Least Sandpipers and Killdeers, even a bizarrely late pair of Northern Shovelers – we also saw a lovely corn snake nearly two feet long and a muskrat who seemed supremely unconcerned by our presence until I sneezed while Danielle was trying to take a picture. Go me! The only dead body we saw was that of a large fish, and the who place looked and smelled remarkably good, for New Jersey.

On a completely different note, it’s nice to see that I’m not the only person concerned about radically inappropriate bird names.

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