|Lions/Shelley Park Trails with the bird location marked|
I always have this fantasy of spending 5 minutes on a chase and then getting back on the road. That's happened to me exactly never times. I rounded the corner to find two or three people already there. Over the next hour the tribe grew to about 20 people milling around hoping for this bird. What made it harder is about 3 Wilson's Warblers were working the area so we kept hearing and seeing them and riding the rarity roller-coaster. We also continued to hear the Greater Pewee calling. Interesting to think these birds share range and habitat.
A couple of times different members of the tribe thought they heard the call notes of the Golden-crowned Warbler, but no one saw anything. After five hours I had to make a decision. Should I maintain the vigil waiting for this bird, or should I go after a White-winged Scoter in San Antonio? San Antonio is on the way back to Houston sorta isn't it?
I decided to go for the Scoter. I set the GPS for Mitchell Lake Audubon Center and the GPS Overlords sent me north on a mission. I arrived a mere two hours later. I quickly got directions to where the scoters were being seen and headed off. It didn't take me long to locate the site and I could see there were a lot of diving ducks present, Ruddy Ducks, Canvasbacks, Redheads, and Lesser Scaup. Then I located two scaup and was studying them when a car pulled up and a couple wanted to tell me that a bobcat was just on the trail watching me. Of course I couldn't relocate the scaup when they departed.
I looked up from the scope and there was a bobcat just about a 100 feet away. Ok I'll snap a few pictures. Bobcats are always cool in they seem to have the attitude "ok everyone just be cool. I'm going to walk slowly away and no one will get hurt, especially me". This one looks like a very healthy specimen,
Ok back to the ducks. I finally was able to find the scaup, they were hanging out with their Redhead friends. A bit of study and yes, White-winged Scoter was year bird 485. Not a Golden-crowned Warbler, but it counts the same and it does save me a lot of time watching for one from a jetty somewhere.
I decided to make towards home. It was another 500 mile day for me and about 900 miles for the weekend. The pace is going to have to pick up to manage 15 more birds before the end of the year. Where I could find those birds occupied my mind for the next 3 hours until I got home.