For the past two or three weeks, birders here have been very excited about the unexpected presence of two rare birds for our region: a female black scoter (she's the elegant little brown sea duck you see on the linked page) and a male Lewis' woodpecker. Both have been hanging out in a park just 1.5 miles from my home, and while I'm not one of those bird-chasing birders, heck, who could ignore a rarity in their backyard? I loaded up my hat, my binoculars, my camera, my dog, and went In Search of Rare Birds.
Well, I was able to spot Ms. Black Scoter right away when I went looking for her. She's an energetic diver, popping up and down rapdily and trundling across the pond with all due haste. No evidence of a Mr. Black Scoter anywhere for all these weeks, so I hope she's not lonely. She's clearly getting enough to eat because she hasn't moved on.
The Lewis' woodpecker, however, was much more elusive. I went three times in one day to the corner of the park where he's been spotted, to no avail. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, after a fun romp in the dog park and a successful walk with the two younger dogs, Doodle Bug and I returned to the park to search him out. Doodle is an amazingly good bird dog. He has a super soft mouth (yes, he can carry a raw egg in its shell and not break it) and he stands there very quietly and patiently while I look for birds.
Another couple came up while I was standing there, and we chatted and looked, looked and chatted, and then, suddenly, there he was! He flew to a nearby palm tree, and then another tree, and then around the ball park to a tree to the south, and the gentleman, Dudley and I followed him. He was gloriously handsome, and far, far too quick for me to get a photograph with my small camera. No Ms. Lewis' woodpecker has been spotted, but The Bachelor has been hanging around for several weeks, so he must not be lonely, either. He certainly puts the local gila and ladder-backed woodpeckers to shame with his flashy good looks.
That's a pretty awesome accomplishment for a gal who worked for two seasons in Belize before she finally saw a toucan. All I ever saw was the toucan's tuchus, because someone would yell "A toucan!" and I'd whip around in time to see it flying away. Great birder, I am not, but I enjoy it anyway.