Immediately on my return two new rarities showed up in the New York area. First a Western Grebe on Staten Island, and second a Western Tanager in Central Park. It was a nice change of pace not to need to go upstate for a rarity, and each bird was just a short car ride away. The Tanager has been very cooperative, spending time in a bush at 81st street on the West Side of Central Park. I took my dog Monkey and we soon found a group of binoculared folks viewing the bird, which has been feeding from Sapsucker holes (like the previous Scott's Oriole in Union Square; you can see them in the photo). We all had a nice view and took photos, and then it was a quick drive to Brooklyn. Lovely.
The Western Grebe was a bit trickier...I spent some time working the Staten Island waterfront, going from park to park and scanning the water in less than ideal conditions (chop and glare). I spoke for a while with a retired fireman who was helping to build a retaining wall adjascent to Lemon Creek Park (for a future condo development). Later I ran into a few birders who told me they had tried to signal me while I was talking from across the bay...they were trying to point out the Grebe I was looking for, and which I had walked directly away from after my conversation. Thankfully the bird remained where the birders had seen it, and I was able to go back for some good views.