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Friday, August 03, 2007

Target practice at Coney Island Creek

I've been working hard to improve the look and readability of my blog. I hope you like the new look.

This blog and my postings have virtually always been about my nature observations and never used for political statements or controversy. Unfortunately, I received an email that I couldn't ignore and hope that by posting it here the appropriate agencies take action. It is also timely given my previous posting:

From: Dennis Edge
Date: August 2, 2007 3:12:37 PM EDT
Subject: Egret shot at July 27

Myself and a couple from W. Va. who drove to Brooklyn to see the Western Reef

Heron were looking for the bird on July 27 and here is what happened:

On July 27, 07 the Western Reef Heron was, luckily not at Drier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn. But that day 3 men with guns were seen shooting at egrets at that site.

At about 1:30 a couple from West Virginia and I were watching for the Western Reef Heron on the Home Depot side of the body of water where the bird has been seen since early July. The Western Reef Heron was not seen but there were several Black-crowned Night Herons, 2 Snowy Egret juveniles, and a Great Egret. We were watching the Egret, which was on the opposite side, when all of a sudden a man stepped out of the undergrowth on that side with a rifle near the Egret and shot at the bird. I don’t know if the bird was hit but it immediately flew away.

We were horrified, and the West Virginia birder went after them with camera in hand. I called 911 to report the incident and then photographed two of them with rifle in hand. After a short while the 911 operator called back and wanted a better description of the men and the location. I then went to the Home Depot parking lot, jumped into my car and drove to the Drier-Offerman Park to see if I could find the NYPD. Upon arrival I saw about 5 NYPD police cruisers, a paddy wagon with lights flashing, and 3 Caucasian men, who looked to be in their late teens, were under arrest. The police found 2 rifles the men had thrown into the underbrush. I told them I had called the incident in to 911, saw the shooting and photographed the men with rifles in hand. They then asked the West Virginia birders and me to come to the 60th precinct as witnesses. We sat in the station for about 2 hours when one of the arresting officers, who handed us a $20., said we should go in the neighborhood and have something to eat. Apparently, the parents of the young men had arrived and were waiting just outside the precinct as we left to eat. We returned about 45 minutes later, passing the still waiting parents, and were told by the arresting officer that it was over and that we could leave. No statement or photographs were asked for so some deal was struck. We returned to the Home Depot lot at about 6:45 to look for the Western Reef Heron. No Western Reef Heron.


ks said...

Really? So it's possible to bypass the judicial system and make a deal directly with the police? I have to wonder if they had legal permits for those rifles. Isn't it a federal offense to "hunt" in a wildlife refuge--if that's how Coney Island Creek is classified? Would the Migratory Bird Treaty come into play here?

Let me make a wild guess that one of those kids is related to a local Brooklyn politico.

They say it's a cold world said...

Wow. That's a harrowing tale! I was out there yesterday (August 3rd) and saw the bird about 4PM and I was certainly thinking it didn't look like the most salubrious neighborhood. I'm glad I can report that nobody shot the Western Reef Heron!

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