2BY3: Honorable Mention February 5, 2013Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
On the fifth of January, Tim and I doubled our 2013 bird count (from 15 to 30) by driving north to Lake Champlain, where we could add some water species. There had been reports of a rare bird: a common pochard (a duck not native to this country).
We drove around a bit, ran into other birders, got some tips, and eventually ended up at a bridge, where we ran into a man who was clearly a professional. We had a spotting scope with us, but he had a scope. Some sort of superscope with a box built around it. Not only did he have this superscope, but he had seen the pochard and had it in sight.
It was a cold, cold day. A hopping-around-to-keep-warm kind of day. An optics-keep-fogging-up kind of day.
Tim is claiming the pochard. As he stared through the superscope, he caught a glimpse of it bobbing in the waves two miles away. Of course, he couldn’t have made this ID with any authority without the professional standing right there—a man who, I found out later, was coauthor of a book on birding in the state.
I may have seen a red head bob up once. I am not claiming this bird.
No, the pochard is not my honorable mention. That goes to the eastern meadowlark we saw that day—a bird we had tried and failed to see in all of 2012, a bird we would never expect to see in January, a bird that shouldn’t have even been there. But there it was, hanging out with a flock of robins, eating salt by the side of the road. We watched for a long time from the warmth of our car.
How could I not love a meadowlark in winter?