Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Probably the rarest bird I have ever found...

...and I didn't even know it at the time. Reminded of this while going through my old notes.

A sunny afternoon in March of 1986 while on a trip to Big Bend, sitting with a few non-birding friends around a lovely pool and waterfall. Bobbing around the pool was a Dipper. We watched it for a while, I told my friends about all the bird's peculiarities, and then we hiked on.

Later on, scribbling notes on a copy of the Big Bend bird checklist, and I can't find American Dipper on the list. Hmmm.

At the end of the trip, do a little research, and discover that there are only four previous records of Dippers for the entire state of Texas! Pause for significant "wow" moment. A fifth state record for Texas?! And I had no clue; I didn't even bother pulling out my camera. Fortunately I had taken extensive mental notes while pointing out every little detail of the bird and its behavior to my companions, so I was able to write a thorough description for the rare bird committee. Thank the gods it wasn't a first or second record! In that case, a mere sight record, no matter how detailed, would have landed in the peanut gallery of the provisional list rather than on the official list.

I've seen first state records for other states, and even found one once. But none of this really compares to having found, all my myself, a fifth record for Texas, one of the most heavily birded of all states.

P.S. The sighting was accepted by the TRBC, record TRBC #1986-8:


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