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Old 05-04-2024, 02:13 PM
 
Location: on the wind
23,411 posts, read 19,031,037 times
Reputation: 75629

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Anyone lucky enough to hold the first sighting of a bird species where you've lived? A really thrilling one just occurred in April.

https://www.npr.org/2024/05/03/12488...ish%20Columbia.

Can you imagine how excited this guy was once people realized what it was? Not only a first for the local area and state, but the continent! And it wasn't some obscurely-marked bird only an expert would be able to tell from a similar relative, it was a spectacularly beautiful one! No blurry questionable photos open to interpretation either!

I have one first sighting to my name, but I've been lucky enough to live and work where there were opportunities, and I had enough interest to care. The warbler I spotted is known to wander out of its normal range somewhat, but this was the first time it had been seen in the state AFAIK.

I was working for and living near a local wildlife refuge. It was a miserably hot, buggy summer day and I was gloomily grubbing away at garden weeds. Kept hearing this loud distinct birdsong in nearby bushes. All I wanted was to finish the detested chore, get indoors out of the heat and curl up with a cool drink and a book. The bird kept calling. I kept trying to check it off the mental list of species I knew "belonged" there so I could stop puzzling over it. No such luck. Just didn't match anything I knew. Finally gave it my full attention, realized I really hadn't heard that call before, dropped the hoe, clumped into the house to find the bird book, plopped down on the stoop and started flipping through it. By this time the bird was perched in a shrub by the front door literally yelling into my face demanding to be noticed.

I found the right species using the guide illustrations easily enough, but normally one wouldn't be seen within 2000+ miles of that spot. Textbook bird, textbook song. No possible mistake except for the range. Called my boss at home to ask if that species had ever been documented there before and to have someone else verify what I was seeing/hearing. He did.

For the next two weeks rare bird alert fanatics from adjacent states kept showing up at my house hoping for the chance to add it to their life lists. Some of them were really obnoxious! Not only would they trespass, but some even peeped in my windows or banged on my door starting at about 6 am, expecting me to guide them to where the bird had last been heard. Finally, this lonely little guy who'd been singing his heart out with no one to hear disappeared again. A few straggler birders showed up too late and I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for them travelling all that way just to see no bird. Somewhere, buried in a bird journal and the refuge archives, there's a note about that lucky sighting.

Anyone else have a story to share?

Last edited by Parnassia; 05-04-2024 at 03:37 PM..
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Old 05-04-2024, 03:31 PM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,311 posts, read 5,193,006 times
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Great story!..and nice presentation to give us all a vicarious thrill.. Good for you.

As far as first sightings go, I once came across two illegal aliens with car insurance. Does that count?
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Old 05-04-2024, 04:10 PM
 
Location: on the wind
23,411 posts, read 19,031,037 times
Reputation: 75629
Quote:
Originally Posted by guidolamoto View Post
great story!..and nice presentation to give us all a vicarious thrill.. Good for you.

As far as first sightings go, i once came across two illegal aliens with car insurance. Does that count?
:d
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Old 05-05-2024, 09:17 PM
 
5,724 posts, read 4,320,727 times
Reputation: 11733
I once found the first great gray owl nest on a certain national forest, but otherwise no...not for birds.
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Old Today, 04:21 PM
 
Location: East Bay, CA
503 posts, read 335,932 times
Reputation: 1948
Too bad some photographers can be real jerks. I'm sure they all say they love nature, but a lot of times they seem to prioritize getting the photo over the welfare of the critter. I have had to hold my tongue plenty of times when I see unethical behavior.

I've never been the first to sight a rare bird. I've heard about some in my area and photographed them and that's about as close as I got. So, I have seen a leucistic Anna's hummingbird and a two leucistic acorn woodpeckers and was able to photograph them.

I've seen photos of a leucistic bald eagle in the area and I want to start looking for it.

Leucistic Anna's _ IMG_2327 by photon79, on Flickr
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