Whenever my son and I bird together we engage in an activity at the end of the day we call, “What’s the best bird you saw and why.” It’s a way of recounting the day, carefully thinking about all the birds seen, and then choosing just one to win the title, “best.” Sometimes the best bird is a lifer (we almost always elevate lifers to “best”). Sometimes it’s best because it’s the most beautiful (think Painted Bunting). A seldom seen bird does something out of the ordinary and thus it becomes best for the day (watching an Osprey fishing is a darn good “best”). Or as often is the case, the unexpected bird becomes the best of the day simply because it was, well, unexpected. That’s what happened this past week. Let me explain.
Several unexpected finds made this past week memorable. Monday while birding the golf course at Dyess AFB I saw this little mystery bird. As soon as I saw it, the heart started racing, I grabbed the camera, and got some fuzzy but dignostic pictures. I found an excellent picture from the web for you to ooh and aah over. However, I didn’t find one bird; I found five. Five times the excitement!
Another unexpected find was watching four birds flit around the playground at Kirby Lake. If you don’t know who sports sky blue plumage, check this photo. Unexpected because the habitat is all wrong. Best bird for the day because I didn’t see any of these last year. In fact, they are very challenging to find in the Big Country.
Other “bests” included Bald Eagle, Sage Thrasher, and Hermit Thrush. Hey, sometimes it’s hard to capture everything on a digital camera; that’s why there’s the world wide web.
And the best unexpected find was the wildlife browsing the shores of Lake Kirby. He walked out of the mesquite shrub, looked me over, and then ignored the clicking shutter as he fed. Watching him from 50 yards away with nothing between us but sunlight was definitely unexpected and a best for the day.
Other pictures of our November sightings can be seen in the Unexpected November Finds Gallery. If you have unexpected finds, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.