Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Not Supposed to Work Like This

Feb 2, 2014

Another day to catch up on misses, that began with heavy fog most inauspicious. I mulled over bailing, but decided that the fog would lift, and set out for Shinnecock and hopefully at least one of the two Black-headed Gulls that have been there. Instead of getting better, by the shore it was actually a lot worse.

I found the imm. Glaucous Gull and the Eiders together with the Kings persisting, but visibility through the fog was limited to 100 feet. I spent time at the inlet, then Road I, and back and forth, depending on where Bonaparte's Gulls were. By noon it had cleared up, but all the small gulls were Bonys and the only thing easing the monotony was conversing with Dick Berlanger, who was seeking the same bird.

And then an email came in that a large flock of geese had been located up in Riverhead, not with a Pink-footed as desired by most, but with Cackling as desired by me. I made haste and arrive to find the McBriens looking at the geese, the younger Mike getting me on a Cackling right away. yb1.  In his post afterwards, he noted that he had ben searching for them for some time, an now they were abundant! Having scanned the flock thoroughly, they departed shorthly, while I continued looking through the flock to see if I could locate the other Cackling Geese. They were so far off in the field, that the 400mm was inadequate, so I attempted a digiscoped shot.

Cackling Goose [2nd from right]

By the way, there is a rumor [ that I am starting here ] that the 'Mc' in McBrien is actually short for "MagiC", as the younger McBrien is one very very talented young birder. He is also blessed to have one heck of a set of parents; both his mother and father indulge and encourage him in his birding passion.

After a short spell, I got a call from Mike that he and his father had located another elusive bird, the Yellow-headed Blackbird at the Buffalo Farm! I threw my scope in the car and drove over there as fast as I could and arrived to watch a huge flock of birds take off and land in the trees across the street. Dang! They had it on the grassy roads edge right in front of them; at least this means that the bird is still there. Sob. Mike shared that he too had been there many times looking for this bird, and perseverance [ or luck ] finally paid off. 

We scanned the birds in the trees and then tried to follow them as they flew off south to the back, inaccessible fields of the Buffalo Farm, but no luck. Mike found more Cackling Geese, in other flocks, and I headed off to a small pond that last year had Snow Geese mixed in with the domestic stuff. Success! YB2.

I spent more time checking other fields and various places, to see what I could find. Then at 4:30 another email came in, this time that the Black-headed Gull had been found back at Road I. Doing my best to get there as quickly as possible, I was further away than I would have liked. I arrived to witness a beautiful sunset, if not my sought after gull. Double dang.

Sunset from Shinnecock

It's not supposed to work this way!

Back in August when I was in Arizona, we had just departed the Huachucas seeking lunch, and back where cell reception was available a post came in that a Plain-capped Starthroat Hummingbird had made an appearance at a local feeder. I put the address in my GPS, and the lot of us headed over there and got a lifer, met a very nice fellow birder and butterfly photographer, and cleared him out of the last copies of his spectacular book.

A few days later, though a few of the party had already departed for home, I got another email this time stating that a Beryline Hummingbird was coming to a feeder in Madera Canyon. That solidified the decision as to where to go that day! We got there and got spectacular views.

That's the way its supposed to work. None of this 'too late stuff'. Or I need a faster car!

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