Point Comfort, TX
I got there early for my talk and joined a half dozen people on watch for the bunting. I ran into an old friend and we were chatting it up; catching up for a good 40 minutes. My friend had to leave and I moved back over to the main crowd and a couple asked me "Did you see it? it was just here". Doh! maybe tomorrow.
I did my talk and it went well. I got back to Quinta Mazatlan the next morning and there was a couple and third guy there waiting on the bird. After a bit the third guy excused himself to got find a restroom. A large group of Red-winged Blackbirds came in and were noisily chowing down. Suddenly the male of the couple jumped up and started clapping, making all the Red-wings fly off and of course absolutely everything else. I snapped at them "Don't Do That! you scare off everything when you do!" We sat in silence for a bit. The the other guy came back (he was traveling with the couple). The Red-winged Blackbirds drifted back in. Now the guy jumps up clapping! I blew up! I think I might have actually been yelling a little when I said "Don't do that, you're going to ruin it for everyone!" He tried to explain the blackbirds would eat all the seed. I told him the blackbirds and bunting had been existing together for 60 days, The blackbirds weren't going to bother the bunting. In fact the bunting likely uses the blackbirds as an early warning system. If the blackbirds flush, likely nothing is coming out of cover. The woman growled to me "Who died and left you boss"
I almost answered "David Daulphin! that's who" My mentor and great friend David passed away a few years ago, but I could just imagine how he would have reacted to these folks. I have no doubt he would have gone to the office and asked that they be escorted out. I once sat next to him when he told the County Judge from Jefferson County to leave Chambers County and leave the good people of Chambers County alone at a Fish and Wildlife Service open comments meeting. Ah fond memories. I held my tongue, realizing anything else would likely lower my odds of getting this bird.
A Coopers Hawk slashed through at waist height. It got really quit now.
About an hour late I got to call out there it is! It was standing under some bushes, sun making it light up bright blue in places. Blue Bunting was Anti-Big Year Birds #3 I tried to get others on it. Not many did. The clapping threesome didn't I know.
I relocate it from another angle, only really able to see the tail as it perched in the bushes. It disappeared before others could get on it. I tried to relocate it for another 20 minutes before I decided to head out and look for county birds on the way home.
Right as I almost got to Refugio I saw a post that Bob Friedrichs had found a Purple Sandpiper in Point Comfort on the edge of the old causeway. I called Bob right away and found out her was headed back there for pictures and would likely beat me by a few minutes. I rerouted south from Refugio on 774 and was only 44 minutes away according to my trusty GPS.
Bob called me back as I was coming into Port Lavaca to tell me he was back on the bird. I got there in less than 10 minutes. The bird was really close too. I grabbed by camera to shoot some pics and my battery was dead! Still Purple Sandpiper was Anti-Big Year Bird #4. I pulled away and put a fresh battery in the camera and shot close to 300 pics of the bird.
Two review species on the same day 240 miles apart, that's a good day!