GARGANEY in Sacramento!

CODE 4! Normally in Asia

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!

That dot IS a GARGANEY!

GCW & Miles Horton after spotting Code 4 Garganey (Sacramento)!

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.

20 Responses to GARGANEY in Sacramento!

  1. Jeff Day says:

    Whoa! Now, I want a code 4… way to go, George!

  2. Thanks Jeff. Home after 2am. Gonna be dragging manana:)

  3. Ziesing, Peter R says:

    Great post George!🦅🐥

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. JLD says:

    🦆 781 🙌🏼

    Sent from myPhone


  5. choppy rouse says:

    George, I just love your continued enthusiasm with this sport, its always so much fun to read you newest adventure!!! Bravo, choppy

  6. Anne Parish says:

    Great story George! Michael and I were so happy to have you and Nina sharing in Chelsea and Billy’s big day. Glad the weekend rounded out with a great sighting. xx Anne


  7. says:

    These posts are just so unbelievable. The collection of them are a book in the making. Go for that! Best, Mike

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Thanks Mike. THAT is my plan. Appreciate the support. On a roll in 2019….

  9. Tom M says:

    Great bird and great story!

  10. Wait …,what??? Hahahaha ♥️

  11. Joe Weisbord says:

    Wow, George! I’ve looked at that bird in the books so many times and it’s so rare it seems ridiculous to include it in a guide to North American species.

    BTW that was Miles Horton’s 2nd birding outing. I took him birding in Tennessee Valley when he was a little kid – don’t even remember how old. But I recall that we saw White-Tailed Kite.

  12. Brother Joe – Garganey is so rare it doesn’t even have a range map in my NAT GEO guide! And…love the history edit. Thanks. See you SAT.

  13. Tobin Williams says:

    Great story…thx for sending! However, a little embarrassed by your geographic illiteracy…oy, THS failed you!!!

  14. Mom says:

    I had been reading about a garganey in a novel. Being a novel I thought they were fictitious. The novel was “The Bird Artist”. Good grief!! Love, Mom

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