Monday, November 04, 2013
I started my conquest in the late 90’s. Always a day late and a dollar short to see the rare visitor Often times less than a day, just minutes late. The elusive bird was “my albatross” and it had entered my psychic as much as any other rare bird does but this one beyond the imaginable causing me to ask the question; Does it even really exist? Time after time reports at Ft. Pickens yield an empty catch. Each trip more frustrating than the one before and by this time I even passed up many opportunities because of my frustration. The entire 90s and early the 2000s were a big miss, 2010 a miss, 2011 a miss, 2012 a miss, time after time going or not going I was missing a chance and felt as if I was “Jousting at Windmills”. The bird only existed in my imagination.
Here are the facts;
1) I know the time of year the bird is to arrive
2) I know what type of weather fronts bring them in
3) I know their call notes
4) I must have studied their pictures thousands of times.
My magic moment came October 29, 2013 at 8:15 am. The Callaway’s had reported a Burrowing Owl at Pickens and even though I have seen one before a chose this time to take a look at the rare visitor. As I drove up, Jerry, Brenda and Daniel were beside the road viewing a Grooved-billed Ani. Yeah right! Let’s go find the Owl, because I know that bird exist. Brenda and I searched for the owl while Daniel and Jerry headed down through the dunes to our location. The Owl had flown the coop and I parted for home. Just one more try I had to look one more time for that bird. “My Albatross”. I stopped short of where Daniel and Jerry has seen the bird and I walked up and to my surprise a GROOVE BILLED FREAKIN’ ANI was in the top of a holly bush just a calling. My Big day!
Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause and by the way Groove-billed Ani’s do exist! Thank you Jerry Callaway for the find!