Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Big Deal

This is really a continuation of yesterday's posting. 

On the way back to Alamo we stopped at the Blue Onion for a late lunch. Lorna took this photo of a befuddled old man waiting for an al pastor calzone.

Back in Alamo I posted my earlier blog entry and then walked with Paul five or six blocks to the "old firehouse park" where earlier he had seen some warblers, among them a Black-throated Gray. I have a bit of a soft spot for warblers and the Black-throated Gray summers on the West Coast, so I have never seen one in Minnesota. "Park" proved to be a bit misleading; in reality the park was a large, rough vacate lot with a few large trees. Trees=warblers.

We did not see any warblers, but I spotted a flycatcher. Expecting it to be a phoebe I was just gobsmacked. Paul asked, "What have you got?" "A male Rose-throated Becard!"  "Heh, heh, yeah right." "No, seriously, it's a Becard." He scrambled to see it and his eyes got really big. Paul does not use rough language, but he did then, "*G@d$#%*!!" Then, "Photos! Photos! We need photos!" I had a camera on my hip, but when I see see something amazing my mind tends to go blank with wonder. We tried to get a photo, but alas the bird did not cooperate and soon vanished, as birds often do. Unfortunately Lorna did not get to see it, but hopefully she will in the future.

Back at the apartments, Paul sent an email to Mary Gustafson, officially reporting the bird. We then reported it to our Alamo Inn Apartment birding friends, which for me are more important than the E-bird folks at Cornell University. Half a dozen of us gathered on our veranda and told stories and drank beer to celebrate friends and rare birds. Later we went to Bill and Cathy's apartment for Bill's great pork stew and sides. After we ate, Prappas pulled out the guitar and sang some Guy Clark tunes for us. Wonderful evening.

Those that know more than I do, feel there probably hasn't been a male Becard see in the Rio Grande Valley for at least a decade. It wasn't a life bird for me because four years ago I saw a female Becard. So after the smoke cleared and the feathers settled I didn't get a life sighting of a Black-throated Gray Warbler, but I got first sighting of a far rarer bird.

All in all it was a pretty fine day. 


Margadant said...

Well done.

Redwing said...

A wonderful recounting of the day, Gunnar. When we showed up at Estero this morning, several folks addressed me as one of the lucky folks who saw the Becard. We are all rare birds, each in our own way. Eh?