We were in SF for a fun-filled Parish Family/Palace Hotel wedding extravaganza this weekend and I had no intention of birding. My Nina had lived in SF for 20 years and we had three packed days of celebrating the newlyweds and catching up with friends. I did not bring my Nikon camera but I always travel with binoculars. I figured I might find an hour to view the amusing parrots of Telegraph Hill (Coit Tower).
On Saturday afternoon I received a Code 4 text alert. A male Garganey was dabbling with Cinnamon and Blue-winged Teals in a flooded field near Sacramento….far away from its Eurasian/Aleutian range! I had an adrenaline rush but quickly dismissed any chance of chasing this fellow on Sunday because I thought Sacramento was way out of MY range. And I simply had to return to Philly sometime Monday.
Our Sunday night dinner hosts politely listened to one of my birding monologues at cocktail hour and questioned why I wasn’t going to “try for it” on Monday morning. Their eldest son Miles, a life-long friend of our Chloe, was joining us for dinner before heading back to his apartment in California’s capital…..only a short 90 minute drive away. WAIT….WHAT!? My geographic knowledge of our third largest state had failed me. I had calculated it was four hours away.
Thankfully, Miles’ curiosity about bird-chasers and interest in searching for this aquatic specialty near his office, convinced me to adjust my Monday itinerary. After a wonderful meal and catch up with the Horton’s, Miles and I went our separate ways, having agreed to meet Monday @ 8am at the flooded field.
Within minutes of our arrival, three guys with scopes located our distant target and gleefully shared their views with us. I didn’t even need my binoculars. Miles had started his life-list with a Code 4 Garganey! Admittedly, sparking a possible interest in this hobby in a young person,…. an environmentally-conscious young person working with a State Representative,….gave me more satisfaction than checking off my ABA Area life bird # 781. Today was a Win-Win!