Birder busted for spotting scope
I’ve tried to keep the focus of this weblog on my nature observations and to avoid any political commentary or opinions. However, something happened to a friend of mine in Prospect Park today that demanded I bring it to everyone’s attention. I suppose under other circumstances I could have overlooked today’s event. If you remember, last week I wrote about how I was required to have a permit to birdwatch at the beach. Now that a birder has been harassed in Prospect Park for enjoying such an inconsequential activity, I had to speak out.
I received a cellphone call from my friend Mike who was being bullied by a female police office in the park. The following was forwarded to me from Peter Dorosh:
It's been a weird morning. I was across from the Three Sisters [Island} at about 7:30 when a scooter cop called me over. I said good-morning and asked what the problem was. She pointed to my tripod (my really small Gitzo carbon fiber set) and asked if I had a permit to use it in the park. I told her I wasn't aware that I needed a permit to use a spotting scope. She said I did, so good-bye and good luck, here's your summons. The really annoying thing was having to wait almost an hour for a supervisor to arrive and then to have them run a warrant check on me!
Since I have Rob on my cell phone I gave him a quick call to see what he had to say. Without my saying a word he described her exactly [...]. It seems she tried to write up Steve Nanz some time ago. So it seems she's harassed other birders as well. She's officer Lewis from the 78th Precint.
I made several calls to a few people and no one seems to know what rule this cop is talking about. Let me know if you know of anyone I can contact about this. As it stands now I have to appear in court on June 28th. God knows I don't have enough headaches.
Just to let you know, I mentioned that I was a friend of the President of the Brooklyn Bird Club; it didn't do me a damned bit of good! (Ha, ha).
Thanks. Let me know what you suggest.
Here is another e-mail I just received on the subject:
“I ran in to Mike Zablocky(sp?) this morning on Lookout Hill. He told me and another fellow that he had just received a summons for "unauthorized use of equipment in the park".
He was using a tripod looking for the Least Bittern around the lake--presumably with a scope. He was not using a camera.
He said that officer Lewis was very unpleasant and followed him afterwards. She did not, however, do anything about the unleashed dogs right around them.
This sounds totally ludicrous and quite worrisome. I intend to use my scope as I have in the past!
Could you shed some light on the official regulations about scopes and tripods in the park? [...]
What is especially troublesome about this is the fact that some very serious problems exist in Prospect Park which are ignored by the rarely seen patrols. At the risk of losing some readers here are some things that I’ve never written about but are part of the "scene" in Prospect Park:
- Male prostitution goes on unabated in almost every wooded section of the park
- Drug use occurs regularly in those same areas
- Hundreds of unleashed dogs run through the park ILLEGALLY every morning and afternoon
I guess it’s just easier to tackle the important issues like spotting scope usage in the park.
-Click here to contact the NYPD-
I will post e-mailed comments that I receive in the comments section as "anonymous".
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Birder busted for spotting scope