#ABArare - Virginia's Warbler - New York
by Nate Swick
On October 31st, the day after Superstorm Sandy made landfall along the New Jersey coast, Eric Miller reported a well-described Virginia's Warbler from Alley Pond Park in Queens, New York. Pending acceptance, this would be a first state record for New York.
In the following days many birders attempted, unsuccessfully, to find the bird at the park, and with the recent nor'easter bringing significant snow on the area it was believed that the Virginia's Warbler was long gone, destined to be a unphotographed single observer record. That is, until November 9th, when Andrew Baksh returned to Alley Pond Park and not only found it, but managed some excellent photos to finally confirm the record.
Alley Pond Park is located in the Queens borough of New York City, and bordered on three sides by the Long Island Expressway, the Grand Central Parkway, and the Cross Island Parkway. The bird was most recently seen by Baksh in the vicinity of the "Adventure Course", which is visible across the soccer fields from the parking lot on Alley Pond Park State Route off of the Grand Central Parkway.
Virginia's Warbler is a breeding bird of the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountains as far north as Wyoming. It has a long history of vagrancy across the eastern part of the continent, and records of Virginia's Warbler east of the Mississippi River include those from Ontario (1958, 1974, 1975, 2001, 2003), Maine (1998, 2005, 2011), Michigan (1993), New Jersey (1962, also unconfirmed in 1966), Maryland (2012), West Virginia (2007), Georgia (1997, 2010), Louisiana (1988), Newfoundland (1994), Rhode Island (2006), and a hypothetical record from Illinois (1979).