Crack! Dawn cracked ... morning had broken; I was surrounded by the devastation. I hid beneath the bed covers as long as I could as Lorna moved about, dressing, prepping and packing her optics. By the time she went out the door I was more or less vertical, sitting in my underwear, sucking down my first cup of coffee of the day. She was headed to Estero Llano Grande, where at 8:00 our friends Steve and Sue were guiding a birding outing. Jeez, it was 50F degrees .... and for Christ's sake, it was morning! I really don't like the group effort brand of birding and I suspected with the two rare birds at the park there would actually be .... people.
L said as they were leaving on their hike they were accosted by a group of elderly Christians without binoculars who stormed their position and overcame them with their senior bluster. Later it was determined they were actually supposed to be on another outing which was to be led by Huck Hutchins. Thankfully by then Lorna had already saved herself and cut away from the milling herd to head back to the vicinity where the White-throated Thrush had been spotted the day before feeding in a large fig tree with a handful of Clay-colored Thrushes.
An aside: When rare birds show up, birders tend to lose their sense of perspective. A week ago we were getting fleeting glimpses of the White-throat in a loose flock of half a dozen Clay-colored Thrushes. The Clay-color, in any other circumstance is a rare bird - as Paul would say, even a "Great Bird". People, with their yard long howitzer lensed cameras, right off the airplanes from god only knows where, were blowing off the beautiful Clay-colors, almost ignoring them as they leafed through the foliage in quest of the White-throat so they could check it off their life list as no. 632. Or whatever. Worse than that, across the road there was a Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, a bird which I would wager a number of the Thrush hunters had never actually seen. (The Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet is a small non-decrepit bird which is rather famous for having a name which is longer than the actual bird.)
My long story, cut short in it's prime, link: Lorna got great photos. Makes me really happy.
For those keeping track of the score, two days go we saw a Sprague's Pipet; yesterday we saw an American Pipet, although through the spotting scope of a generous couple from China - another long story, maybe for later. It's raining lifers.