NOT to be denied…….#642!

Of course, I had to try for the Black-tailed Godwit again! It was seen Thursday (the day I missed it), Friday and yesterday. Sunday morning was wide open……. so off I went. Unfortunately, only a mile from the Chincoteague Refuge entrance, I was abruptly stopped by Mr. Adams of the Accomac County police force. “Good morning, sir. Yes, I was probably driving too fast in anticipation of seeing the rare bird in your refuge”. “You have a bird in the car? That is why I clocked you going 43 in a 25 mph zone?” he responded with a perplexed look and an emphasis on the latter half of that sentence. He didn’t get it.

a cost of bird "chasing"

a cost of bird “chasing”

Anyway, I shook off this minor setback and repressed the event. As soon as I reached the designated area where this shorebird had been seen recently, I noticed one “pretty big” bird about 400 yards out to my left, acting sandpiper-ish. I stopped the car, grabbed the binoculars, and viewing through the car window knew it was a godwit for sure….but was the bill straight – as in the rare Black-tailed Godwit? or slightly up-curved like its more common relative (Marbled Godwit)? I needed the scope. Moving quickly, I clumsily exited the car, grabbed the scope and positioned it across the road closer to the bird. YES, the bill appeared straight…..but I wanted a photo and my camera was still in the car. As I hustled back towards the car, the godwit flapped and began to fly! No chance for a decent picture. I needed 100% confirmation for myself (birders, like most golfers, live by an Honor Code) and the tell-tale, diagnostic marking would be the obvious presence of a black and white stripe on its flapping wings. My 3-day new Swarovski binoculars (note: I am no longer “Junior Varsity” as someone recently labeled my eight year old optics) confirmed Black-tailed Godwit! The photograph below shows where Lifer #642 was feeding (I swear!!)……before a Bald Eagle decided to claim the marsh as its territory.

Chincoteague NWR

Chincoteague NWR

Zoomed in (Bald Eagle)

Zoomed in (Bald Eagle)

About George C. Wood

A birder since age ten, but not necessarily an avid "lister", I am closing in on 700 (*800!) species seen in North America.....hoping to capture each sighting with my camera.
This entry was posted in Quest for 700 (*800!). Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to NOT to be denied…….#642!

  1. choppy says:

    George, Congratulations, no one makes it as exciting a tale as you do, I vote you are ready for a Television series!! Choppy

  2. Joseph Cox says:

    But you got the bird! That’s all that counts.

    Sent from my iPad

    On Apr 7, 2013, at 4:16 PM, birdtalesblog wrote: George C. Wood posted: “Of course, I had to try for the Black-tailed Godwit again! It was seen Thursday (the day I missed it), Friday and yesterday. Sunday morning was wide open……. so off I went. Unfortunately, only a mile from the Chincoteague Refuge entrance, I was abruptl”

  3. Jerry Rosenberg says:

    George I agree with Choppy, I feel a bird stalking reality show in the making. I’ll volunteer to head up the sportsmed team physician part. Is birding a sport or a pastime? On the edge of my seat, could have missed my flight. Jerry

  4. Douglas Southgate says:

    Darned bald eagles!

  5. Anne Wood says:

    Many many years ago I saw a mabbled gadwit – end of Cape Cod. Of course I was with Boston Vassar friends.

  6. burkebiz says:

    Awesome…CONGRATS! And welcome to the Varsity. What is the record amongst Birders? Over 1000?

    Sent from my iPhone KJB

  7. fleur thomas says:

    Ha! That’s dedication. Well done! Xx

    Sent from my iPhone

  8. marvinweisbord says:

    Ah, the high cost of birding! But worth every penny. You have seen the best of what God is capable of doing on a really good day.



  9. Gub says:

    Glad you got the Godwit so we can all sleep at night again!

  10. Mike Selverian says:

    great stuff! Always entertaining.

  11. Joe Knowles says:

    Two questions….first, where does the term/name “godwit” come from? Second, has Mr. Adams subscribed to your blog…? My thanks for a wonderful piece….

  12. Gustave Axelson says:

    Great story, George! Meanwhile, we’ve got 90 Bohemian Waxwings hanging out at Sapsucker Woods today. Many folks at the Lab nailed Bohemians as lifers over their lunch break…

      Gustave Axelson North Woods Freelance Writer Phone: 607/379-9300 847 Dryden Rd., Apt 2H Ithaca, NY 14850

    Writing samples on the Web: Birding for Boreal Rarities

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    Goshawk Encounters (selected for 2010 Best American Science & Nature Writing)

    Encountering the Last Wolves of Isle Royale

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    Minnesota’s Moose Herd is Declining


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