AMAZON KINGFISHER! (Dual Nationality)

The first sighting of an Amazon Kingfisher in North America occured in 2010 in Laredo, Texas. A second one appeared a couple of years ago nearby and now a third (female) has been frequenting the Rio Grande this Winter near Laredo. This bird has earned its “code 5” (i.e. very rare) status. You may recall that Code 6’s are extinct!

It has been ten months since I added a new bird to my North American life-list, so chasing this special beauty over MLK Holiday weekend was the perfect antidote for my nature-deficit syndrome. Only nine hours spanned waking up in Manayunk and joining a fellow (who drove all night from Wyoming) bird enthusiast on the banks of the Rio Grande.

The bird was stationed exactly where the rare bird reports indicated. The problem was….. it was comfortably positioned on the Mexico side of the river and birds spotted in Mexico cannot count towards one’s North American list.

Amazon Kingfisher is technically in Mexico

Amazon Kingfisher is technically in Mexico

Amazon Kingfisher (code 5!)....still in Mexico

Amazon Kingfisher (code 5!)….still in Mexico

Silly, I know…but the brag card among most birders is one’s North American life list. Of course, it was a new bird for my WORLD list and that number should be the true benchmark for who really rates in the birding-world-pecking-order.

Anyway, birders are an honest bunch and we follow the rules of the game. So we waited. A couple of hours. Just talking and sharing highlights of our birding obsession…all the while watching the kingfisher nab little fish from the two perches in the photographs. Why would this bird emigrate to the USA when the fishing was so productive in Mexico?

Thankfully the answer was a pesky Green Kingfisher. It startled its much bigger cousin and both flew over to our side and perched on a piling. Now I could count the Amazon – #710 – and contemplate my next move.

Amazon Kingfisher officially in the USA

Amazon Kingfisher officially in the USA

Well, I am writing this blog from my Super 8 hotel room in Willcox, Arizona. A long but satisfying day. Philly to Dallas to Laredo to Dallas to Tucson to here. Thank you frequent flier miles. Currently southern Arizona is hosting three species that I’ve never seen. Stay tuned…..

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.

39 Responses to AMAZON KINGFISHER! (Dual Nationality)

  1. Bob Roche says:

    Great bird, George! I don’t get the quibbling because Mexico is officially part on North America. Canada, Mexico and the USA!

    • Not sure my earlier reply was posted. Hi Bob, thanks and you are correct! I should have written “ABA Area” but old-time birders like me still slang it and say “North American life-list”. Either way, birds in Mexico don’t count on the list that most birders tout. BUT…one’s WORLD LIST is the TRUE measure of one’s commitment. My World list is pretty dinky (1500 out of roughly 10,000). Nice to hear from you!

  2. Arlin says:

    Congrats, George!!!

  3. Outstanding effort and great results,G! Thanks for sharing

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

  4. Jeff Day says:

    Way to go GCW’75!!

  5. Deborah Glass says:

    How exciting! Your enthusiasm is inspiring.

  6. Henry Maguire says:

    G  Nice get. Patience is a virtue. Maguire

    From: birdtalesblog To: hmaguire3@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2017 12:06 AM Subject: [New post] AMAZON KINGFISHER! (Dual Nationality) #yiv7134320192 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7134320192 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7134320192 a.yiv7134320192primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7134320192 a.yiv7134320192primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7134320192 a.yiv7134320192primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7134320192 a.yiv7134320192primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7134320192 WordPress.com | George C. Wood posted: “The first sighting of an Amazon Kingfisher in North America occured in 2010 in Laredo, Texas. A second one appeared a couple of years ago nearby and now a third (female) has been frequenting the Rio Grande this Winter near Laredo. This bird has earned its” | |

  7. Joe says:

    Go GCW! Pecking order – heh, heh

  8. rpschnaars says:

    George,   Congratulations!  And thanks for sharing your adventures with us! A real treat. A beautiful bird! Rock 

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

  9. burkebiz says:

    Industrious George strikes again!
    Congrats and best of birding in your
    “Quest for 800” ( time for a blog name change?)!
    KB

  10. Jeff Wahl says:

    Nice sighting! Jeff

  11. david lincoln says:

    Congratulations Georgie! That’s a great story.

    [EP-final-logo-photos-goudy-bold.jpg] “Growth Equity for Energy & Industrial Innovation”

    David Lincoln Element Partners LLC 565 E. Swedesford Rd.; Suite 207 Wayne, PA 19087 610.947.6400 ofc 610.322.2100 cell david@elementpartners.com Sent from my iPhone

  12. Anne Wood says:

    Can you carry an inflatable and a paddle to scare it over? Is that cricket? >

  13. Julie Foster says:

    How wide is the Rio Grande? Does the official border run down the middle of the river, so that a bird more than halfway across is considered to be in the closest territory?

  14. TomMason says:

    I didn’t think you could stay down for long. Keep on keepin’ on, George.

  15. Richard Cimino says:

    George I’ve been thinking of you lately. I have two separate groups going up to get their lifer Mountain Quail and then back down for Ridgeway Rail, etc.,etc. I enjoyed birding with you.
    On Friday – ALL BY PURE LUCK HAD A BIRDER OUT and a Ross’s Gull was in the area !
    Found the lifer by 8:30AM ! Today reports are the Ross’s Gull was taken by a PEREGRINE
    Falcon as birders watched. Stay in touch and I’m here when you need me. Oh I have two seats open on my June 4th Nome Alaska trip, one gal is a photographer – want’a join us?

  16. mselverian@gmail.com says:

    Very cool George! Mike

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  17. Jim Buck says:

    Patience paid off for the Amazon kingfisher, apparently, but the delay killed (literally) your gull opportunity! What a trip, and how exciting for you to be in the hunt like that!!

  18. Xinyi says:

    Such a long trip in a long weekend, but sounds cool and they look great!

  19. Good for you. No longer a student! Wayne is a great town.

  20. Joan B. Waldbaum says:

    This is Josh Waldbaum’s mom. Love your blog about birding and the adventures you have had. I kept a backyard bird count for Cornell Lab of Ornithology. But by no means am I a”birder”.

    • HI Mrs. Waldbaum! Thanks for corresponding. First, I absolutely enjoyed re-connecting with Josh after 41 years. What a spot! Second, YOU are a birder…..since you participate in the Cornell program. I was a teenager and participated in the initial Backyard Bird Count. Anyhow…fun to hear from you. regards, George

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