The morning of November 18th, 2012 was the second day of a 5 day birding trip that Josh Lefever, Ian Gardner and I went on through coastal New England for Thanksgiving Break. We had quite a few plans for the day, all of which included chasing rare birds in the region while trying to find as many other species as we could. The evening before, we took a ferry over to Connecticut from Long Island, New York. We quickly found a nice place to camp for the night, near where we were planning on looking for two rarities at Fort Getty Park, in Rhode Island – Mountain Bluebird and Cattle Egret.
We woke up early and made our way over to Fort Getty Park by 7:00am (eBird checklist). I pulled in to the park entrance road and pulled off to the side of the road right away, so that we could check my iPhone about details concerning the Mountain Bluebird and Cattle Egret. Prior to this visit, none of the three of us had ever birded in Rhode Island let alone at Fort Getty Park, so we really wanted to know everything we could about where the two birds had been seen previously in order to narrow down the search area.
As Josh was checking things out on my phone, Ian and I noticed a bluebird perched on a wire fence in the fields along the entrance road. It was still pretty early, so the lighting wasn’t great but we suspected the bluebird we were looking at was the Mountain! We jumped out of the car, and set my spotting scope up to get a better look. Sure enough, it was the Mountain Bluebird! We couldn’t believe our luck – the very first bird we saw upon arriving at Fort Getty was our main Rhode Island target bird! The early morning sun made for perfect photography conditions, so I spent some time really trying to get nice shots and some video. Below are my favorite photos as well as a short video. At the end of the video (if you listen very closely), you can hear Ian spot the first White-winged Crossbills of our trip – 4 flyover birds! After getting our fill of the Mountain Bluebird, we drove in to the rest of the park to search for the Cattle Egret, but we did not find it and as far as I know it hasn’t been seen.