It has been six months since I chased a rarity I needed for my North American life list. Suppressing my urge to bird meant more weekends with family, friends,…. and my employer. That was definitely a good decision. I enjoyed laying low bird-wise and didn’t twitch every time a new rare bird alert appeared on my phone. Reaching 700 was my ultimate life goal, wasn’t it? Well….I did miss the adrenaline rush of chasing a potential lifer and good fortune struck this weekend.
A mega-rarity, code 4, once-in-a-ten-year-period sighting, KEY WEST QUAIL-DOVE, has been frequenting a mangrove swamp this winter, not too far from my daughter (Sarah) in South Florida! It was a simple decision to escape Philly in March and schedule a visit with her….and slip in some birding.
The dove was spotted within 30 minutes of my arrival at Long Key State Park in the middle of the Florida Keys. I never would have found this chunky Bahamian resident without the assistance of the only other human at the park…a Californian who had flown cross country for the same purpose. His addiction is surely worse than mine. Alas, no photo, as we had a thirty second long-distance look through tangles of gumbo limbo and poison wood trees. #704 in the books with time to make dinner in Miami with Sarah.
Why the Egyptian Geese photo? Well, I needed something to catch your eye and technically this African native now “counts” for listers like me. An established population lives on Key Biscayne…ten minutes from Sarah. Done… #705.