Monday, December 8, 2008

Lucky number 7: After seven outings I finally see the elusive Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee. This male has been in Point Pelee National Park since I believe November 11. It may remain all winter. Photo by Marianne Balkwill

I love to go birding. I love seeing the seasons change with the departing of warblers and vireos, and the arrival of Juncos, and Snow Buntings. Fall birding here in the Pelee area can bring in the unusual as well. When there is a "rare bird alert" the mindset of the once calm birder changes. It begins as excitement, in the pursuit of something new, a lifer!! However, when the minutes, and then hours go by, the excitement turns into panic and frustration as you imagine your chances of seeing a lifer are slowly slipping away, just like the sunlight, which forces you to retreat.

That is exactly what I felt when I couldn't find the Spotted Towhee the first day it was found. I'm sure most birders share this same feeling when the cannot relocate a lifer. However, if you live nearby where your potential lifer was spotted, there is always hope.

The next day I looked a couple of hours before work and couldn't relocate the bird, later finding out that I missed it by just one minute! I looked the following day before work..and was late for work....again.

The fourth time I went looking for the Spotted Towhee was a rainy cold Saturday. I went to the exact same spot where the bird was always seen, across from the entrance to Sparrow Field around a raspberry bush, and waited, and waited. I wandered in the bush, I pished, and I got soaking wet......This sucked. I just wanted to go home to where it was warm and dry. It seemed that any hope I had was completely dissolved. As much as I like trying to refind, or when I can, find a rare bird, I really enjoy just plain old birding. This was wandering around in circles!!

I only tried to look for the Spotted Towhee once more a couple of weeks ago. I just nonchalantly walked north along the road and then up to the raspberry bush after birding at the tip one morning. ....and then retreated....It was worth a try.

Then, after a few weeks of no sightings, this past Sunday Richard Carr not only refound the Spotted Towhee, but he also had an Eastern Towhee with it. Round 6 anyone?

Well, no rain today, but it is cold. I wandered down to where the Spotted Towhee was last found, this time down the trail east of the 42 parallel sign at the tip. I wandered around, and eventually did see the Eastern Towhee, and then I had 2 Carolina Wrens, and a White-throated Sparrow. I later met up with Richard and Alan Wormington and Cherise Cheron (I'm sure I spelled her name wrong..if you are reading this blog send me an email for the correct spelling) I learned from them that I had all the same birds that were hanging out together yesterday. All of them except the Spotted Towhee!

When the idea of lunch was suggested, it was off to the Roma Club in Leamington (all you can eat for just under $10.00!). Afterwards I decided, why not? Round 7.

I arrived at the tip and saw Richards truck and Cherise's car in the parking lot. I began walking up the steps near the tip washrooms to return to the spot again, when Richard came out with a big grin.

Lucky 7.

I don't believe in luck. When it comes to birding, you just have to be at the right place at the right time.

1 comment:

  1. My nemesis bird.........
    Hope it stays until I can get there!