A Big Year is all about taking advantage of opportunity, and you make opportunity by keeping abreast of what's being seen where. So I checked the email again. What! Red Phalarope! At a public location! In the next half hour I secured the needed permissions, wife, boss, in that order, to chase the bird.
I spent the afternoon watching picture after picture posted of the bird on Facebook. At least the bird is being seen easily.
I wasn't ready to get up when the alarm sounded at 3 am. Still I was out of the house and headed north by 3:30 am. It was an uneventful drive to Dallas.
|"Mirror Mirror in the Lake Who's|
the prettiest phalarope of all?"
I got there and Chris point "There's your bird". Red Phalarope for Year Bird 457! This was a badly needed review species too. I'm way behind in the number of review species I need for the year, this makes 11 and I figure I need 22.
A few minutes later Dennis Shepler called. He had an Eastern Whip-poor-will at Sabine Woods in Port Arthur. Lets see, its about 350 miles from White Rock Lake. Then Dennis sends a message that there was a Canada Warbler there to. A Big Year is about finding opportunity and taking advantage of it. Those birds should be refindale if I get there today. Time to roll! Wheels up and I was southbound by 9 am.
About half way there Dennis called again, John Whittle had heard what he thought was a Mourning Warbler. That's three species I need for the year.
The drive went smoothly and five and half hours later I pulled up to Sabine Woods at 2:30 pm. As I walked in the gate an Ovenbird greeted me. I took that as a good omen.
In the car I reviewed the chip notes of a Mourning Warbler. I walked to the first T intersection of the trail and I thought the phone has started playing in my pocket. I took it out, nope it was locked. I located the bird, Yes! Mourning Warbler was Year Bird 458!
|Organic mosquito repellent. |
Sometimes birding isn't pretty.
Then I spooked another nightjar. I didn't get a good look. I relocated it and this time as it flew out of sight I could see it was much smaller and it had big white tail corners! Eastern Whip-poor-will was Year Bird 459! I really had though this was a bird I wasn't going to get this year.
I worked my way to the far west end of the woods. Right in the southwest corner of the woods I completed the hat trick - Canada Warbler for Year Bird 460! What a difference four days make on my luck.
I had a few minutes before I had to head home. I checked the one part of the woods I hadn't checked while a Broad-winged Hawk circled overhead. Nothing new so I decide to call this epic chase day closed. By the time I got home I had driven 700 miles! Dennis had thrown me a Hail Mary pass and somehow I drove to the end zone and caught it.