Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First Time Sightings

I was so overwhelmed with the number of new birds that we saw in Belize last week, that I started to think about how I would remember them.  I started to think about some first time sighting that I remember often or when I see the same bird again. 

To that end, I have added a new "page" to the blog called "Total Life List" so that you can see my total list.  The interesting thing is that it lists the bird and location of the first sighting.  You will need to actually look at the blog to see this list, not just read the email alert for this posting.

For instance, I have seen hundreds of Northern Gannets (#6 on the list), but the first time that I recorded that species was in Witless Bay Newfoundland.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Connie and I drove out to a remote little park, walked through the sheep paddy to the edge of a high cliff overlooking the North Atlantic ocean.  There were hundreds of Northern Gannets flying over our heads and around a see stack island that had broken away from the main cliff.  The birds were nesting on that sea stack.  It was like being in an episode of Planet Earth on Discovery Channel.  Awesome.  Now, when I see a Northern Gannet off of the Jersey shore, I conjure up that wonderful day in my mind.

Whip-poor-will #115 seen and photographed at Fackahatchee Park along the Tami Ami Trail in Florida.  The bird sat motionless and camouflaged on a fallen branch just off of the boardwalk path.  Our friends Cee and Sarah were with us on that trip and pointed out the bird to me.  I set up the camera and tripod to get a photo.  Snap, snap, snap of the shutter just when the bird yawned with wide pink mouth.  Awesome.  It was so long ago that the photos are not in digital form but they are mounted and displayed at our house. 

I'll definitely remember the Fork-tailed Flycatcher #579 from this recent trip.  We were waiting in line to cross the river in the tour van.  The river is crossed by loading 3-4 cars onto a barge which is hand cranked across the river by 2 guys. Passengers must exit the vehicles and stand along the rail of the barge during the crossing for "safety".  Barbara and I got out of the van to look around when all of a sudden the bird with outrageously long tail flew across the road right in front of us.  I immediately banged on the windsheild of the van yelling something about "scissor tail, scissor tail".  2 Fork-tail Flycatcher, not Scissor-tails flitted and sat in the field for us all to gawk at.  Here is a photo, not mine to show you why I would remember this encounter.

You get the point.  All of this to say that there were so many new birds on this trip that I will probably not be able to remember the events surrounding each one.  I do fondly remember my first Violicious Trogon (photo in last post) seen near Playa Del Carmen Mexico while being chased around the woods by Iguanas - ask Connie, she'll back me up on that.

If you have a fond memory of a bird sighting, please post a comment below.  I'll share those with other readers of the blog.  It will be fun for a change to read a story from someone else.

1 comment:

Vasant said...

I am on a visit from India. Currently at Cupertino CA. First day of vacation. Had a wonderful sighting of a Humming Bird. Never knew they were there in NA. Thought only South America had them.

This was the Allens or Annas humming bird not sure. Like a Emerald gem on wings. Saw it from a 3 feet range. Really lovely. Great start to the trip.
They have word for first time in life sighting it is called a Lifer I think