The Story of a Bird

The morning started out a little overcast which was kind of disappointing because I wanted to see the sun rise over the marsh. Kathy was with me this early morning because she wanted to experience the boardwalk without all the crowds. So we hit the boardwalk real early and had a great time, for a while. It doesn’t take long for the crowds to appear, and in the past this week has always been quite fruitful for birds. And today was a good example of a good day.
After we left the boardwalk I told Kathy that I was going to walk the Estuary Trail and see if there was any hint of the Piping Plover seen there last evening. The walk out to the estuary was uneventful, and while I was scanning the mud flats for shore birds a couple of guides from Tropical Bird arrived to scope the flats as well. Seeing that there was nothing they walked further South on the trail for a short distance to a hole in the tree line that opens up a great view of the estuary.
It was at this point that one of the guides went further on, and the other guide told me that he was off to the East Beach to try for Kirtland Warblers. Remember this is the time that they show up and one of the reasons why I like to go during this particular week.
So I made my way back to the car to drop of my scope and tell Kathy that I was on my way to East Beach, which I was going to do anyway but with a guide from Tropical Bird heading that way I thought why not, they are top notch guides. Kathy had to run a quick errand and would join me later. After I got out of the car I noticed group of people in a deep conversation and asked what was up. They claimed that they had seen a Kirtland Warbler just minutes ago and just sent for a volunteer, which turns out to be the guides from Tropical Bird. In the mean time myself and about 10 others started to scan the beach in hopes of finding the “Needle in a Haystack”. But in defense of finding hard to find birds I did relocate the Clay-colored Sparrow on the same beach just few days earlier.
One of the guys from Tropical Bird shows up and the story was related to him by the lady who was one of the first people who saw the bird.
From what was being said the bird was working it’s way at first in a westerly direction. The guide thought that it might start to back track in a Easterly direction, so we returned to where it was first seen and then we spread out down the beach in a easterly direction. 10 minutes later it was seen. I was by the guide when the news reached us, so of we ran. There it was under a short shrub which dot the beach feeding. A beautiful female Kirtland Warbler.
Well I can tell you word spread fast as more and more people started to show up. This bird was a real celebrity. As the group swelled it became more and more difficult to view the bird. Being one of the lucky ones who saw it early I had some extended time to really see this bird and study the beauty of it.
Even though there were tons of people there to see the bird, it would have been awful if it was sighted during the festival when there are 20 time more people here on the boardwalk.
What a day!
Even though this isn’t as exciting as a Kirtland Warbler, we did get a good view of a Yellow-throated Warbler which is kind of unusual this far North. Being from the Southern part of Ohio we take this bird for granted since it is fairly common, however eBird didn’t like this and needed an explanation. And even more White Pelicans which is always a treat to see.
Well tomorrow is our last day and even Kathy is excited about going back tomorrow morning. It’s amazing how seeing a rarity like a Kirtland Warbler can create a budding new birders. I now think she understands when I fly off to see an unusual bird.

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