Monday, January 10, 2011

American Pipit 2011

 On January 4, 2011 while birding with a friend Catherine B., I had a great experience with trying to photograph this lone American Pipit. I don't usually mention names of others that I bird with but this bird belongs to Catherine.  It was the end of the day and we had quite a lot of success in finding our target birds. Catherine also held out hope to find an American Pipit. In an effort to do this we drove farther down the Irish Loop to Bear Cove Lookout. On a good day, birding this beach would have been much easier. It was not a great day. Visibility was minimal, daylight was waning and the spume from the lively ocean was shrouding the beach, the birds and my camera.
 We saw a small raft of Common Eider and Long-tailed Duck and I was already back in the car when Catherine waved for me to get out again. She had spotted a small brown bird on the beach. It was impossible to see with the naked eye and almost impossible to relocate with binoculars. The saving grace was that this bird was mobile. It was the movement that helped her to relocate the bird many times. I was still unable to see it. We walked, tiptoed on the beach rocks to get closer in the hope of getting a good
look. It was at least ten minutes before I even saw the movement. Catherine was truly enthralled with this little bird and thought it might be her target American Pipit. We continued to move closer and closer until I finally got a look. Then I couldn't find it in my view finder and the hunt continued. Time was flying and darkness was moving in. Finally, the pipit flew across the beach and landed on this rock where it provided a clear silhouette against the haze behind it. Got it! The pictures were taken and we were sure to get an accurate ID. It took over 30 minutes to really call this bird a "life list" bird for Catherine but with her eagle-eye and persistence, it turned out to be a great find. It is especially thrilling when you work so hard to get close enough to a bird to get a clear ID. I included the last picture to better illustrate the conditions of the evening.

I guess we had all better get used to looking for birds under these weather conditions because this seems to be all that there is this winter.

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