I had an interesting day yesterday. Got to meet a "top gun birder" actually. My birding mentor, Mr Science, brought one of Minnesota's birding "uber-gurus" John H. by for a "consultation." Now what would a pro like John be doing being
hitched up with a raw rookie like me?
To begin with Mr. Science was helping
John plan a Fillmore county birding tour
for the Zumbro Valley (Rochester)
Audobon Society. As a side issue, I was
to familarize John with "ebird". Ebird, for
those not attuned, is Cornel Universities
birding website and the home of the Christmas
Bird Count. I had been using it for over a year
as my "listing" repository.
I had just finished that job when I began
demonstrating a few of the birding posts on
this blog. One of them involved a line of
pelicans floating on the calm waters of
Lake Pepin. It had turned out they were
not floating but standing on a sand bar in the
middle of the lake. They had saved my
butt from crashing into the sandbar, when
racing towards it, I realized the birds were
standing, not floating.
John had been intently looking at the various
bird pictures, when suddenly he asked me
to magnify the Pelican picture. "What are
the little ones to the right," he asked.
"Some kind of seagulls," I ventured. "Draw
it up closer," he suggested. I took a stab. "Er
Ringbills?" "Yes, but not those two on the
right. Caspian terns are what they are."
Even Mr. Science was amazed.
According to the Minnesota Ornithological
Societies records John has the most birds
ever listed in Fillmore County. He is also
high on the list in many other counties in
the state. He is also approaching the top
record for the state as a whole. Given the
fact that he is also at least ten years younger
that all those ahead of him on the lifetime
Minnesota list..... well, with his great skill
and a little luck someday...
Yup, yesterday March 2, 2009, I was
fortunate to be in the presence of one of