[mou] Nemesis Birds, tally post (long but fun)

Pastor Al Schirmacher pastoral at princetonfreechurch.net
Tue Oct 23 11:39:57 EDT 2007

43 responses to the "Nemesis Bird" inquiry, results follow (remember, no 
judging - one person's nemesis is another person's commoner).  Enjoy:

* Sabine's Gull (3)
* Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
* Barnacle Goose
* Curlew Sandpiper
* Great Skua
* Gray Partridge (2)
* Green Violet-ear
* Gray-headed Chickadee
* Brambling
* White-plumed Antbird
* Gyrfalcon
* Ruffed Grouse
* American Pipit
* Limpkin
* YB Cuckoo (2)
* Barrow's Goldeneye
* Golden Eagle
* Spruce Grouse (2)
* Worm-eating Warbler
* Colima Warbler
* Yellow-headed Blackbird
* Peregrine Falcon
* Quetzal
* Yellowthroat
* Connecticut Warbler
* Burrowing Owl
* Pectoral Sandpiper
* Saw-whet Owl
* GWF Goose
* Purple Finch
* Lapland Longspur
* Pileated Woodpecker
* Ruff
* Harpy Eagle
* Painted Bunting
* Boreal Owl
* Henslow's Sparrow
* Boreal Chickadee.

Selected commentary (names, birds and locations deleted to protect both the 
innocent and guilty):

* Many pelagic trips - often miss by day or so - the only thing I managed to 
get was wind burn - going out again in November, but not holding my breath.

* Locating and identifying the *** is driving me crazy ever since emailing a 
local expert from the *** Observatory last year who challenged me to find 

* As I came around one bend, the posts were straight ahead of me, and 
perched atop one of them was what instantly looked to me like a ***!  A
ridiculously bizarre sighting for almost anywhere in North America of 
course...Unfortunately it stayed but for a second and I *was* driving, so 
there was no way I could systematically verify any of those field marks, nor 
could I stop immediately due to the narrowness of the road and being around 
a blind corner.  No problem, I thought, there's a parking lot just past the 
next bend, from which I could hike back up.  But no - a movie shoot had 
commandeered the area and the lot was sealed off to the public, with police 
guard no less!  Unfortunately I didn't have time that day to make the big 
road loop and try the longer trek down from the east, and though I went back 
for several days after, I never did see the mystery bird again.

* They tell me: You should have been here--
ten minutes ago
this morning
an hour and a half ago.  And my answer is:  I can't should have. I'm only 
here now. And I'm not seein' any ***!

* As a boy and young man, I regularly hiked in the *** Mountains in ***.  I 
was in the back of a line of hikers when one was seen in the front, the 
front of a line of hikers when one was seen in the back, in the middle of a 
line of hikers when one was seen I don't remember where.  Suffice it to say 
I never saw one in any case despite their 'tame' reputation--they were 
always gone by the time I got to wherever they were seen.

* My nemesis bird.....steeeeennnnking (stinking), mythical ***!

* My nemesis bird for *** has got to be ***, by the mere fact that I was 
there last fall to look for it. It was on this huge wind-ridden lake, 
everyone saw it but me. SHEESH!!!

* I guess like in Moby Dick we need something to pursue.  Not my nemesis 
bird, but I remember vividly when I was doing research in *** and had a day 
or two before my flight left. Our local ornithologist friends took us to a 
small eco-resort to see hummingbirds and the ***.  We spent the evening 
talking with other researchers and met an elderly lady who was there to 
bird.  The next morning we kind of "adopted" her and took her with our 
expert friends to see the ***.  We were fortunate to find 2 spectacular 
males showing off for a female and had great views for quite a while.  At 
one point I turned to the elderly lady to see if she wanted to look through 
my scope again and she was standing there in tears.  I asked what was the 
matter and she said that she and her husband had been looking for a *** 
across *** for 15 years. He had recently passed away and now that she 
finally saw one she too was ready to "move on".

* He tells a story of the "*** club" wherin it took several months of 
diligent effort and many failures trying to see this bird before he finally 
'gave up' whereupon he saw the ***!  Once he could see it, then he saw them 
all the time and was trying to show one to a friend.   They hid in a thicket 
on the edge of a *** territory near one of his posts waiting for him to stop 
and sing his territorial song.   He did twice (two circuits of his 
territory) and both times Jon got great looks and the bird so close he could 
see the light reflecting off of it's eye each time.  His friend on the other 
hand, sitting right next to him and never saw the bird!

* I suppose there have been a number of birds which have frustrated me, but 
the one that stands out foremost is ***.  I did it to
myself.  The very first year I started birding, in August I joined in a 
field trip to *** NWR, just off the south end of the ***, and mere miles 
from the *** state line.  There are some great saline ponds there which can 
host a great variety of shorebirds.  During this particular field trip, one 
of my fellow birders was scoping one of the ponds and called out ***, and 
then asked me if I wanted to take a look at the birds.  This was in the 
early afternoon, it was pretty warm out
and I was ready to go and said "no, that's ok, besides I've seen those 
before."  Well, when I got home that evening, I examined my life list and lo
and behold, I had not seen ***.  My failure to look at and enjoy a life bird 
was a great offense to the birding spirits.  I know it was a great offense 
because I paid quite the penance for it- despite my looking high and low one 
migration season after another, a number of years went by
before I finally laid eyes on this relatively common ***.  The best part in 
all this is that I saw the very similar ***, rare anywhere in the Lower 48 
and only the third one recorded in ***, before seeing ***.

So these days, I never pass up the opportunity to look at any bird.  If you 
see me in the field and you offer for me to look at a Rock Pigeon through
you scope, I will say "Yes, let me have a look!"  I learned my lesson once 
and dare not offend the spirits again!

* *** - 14 years and counting...but I refuse to chase this one because I 
want to find my own.

* My nemesis bird for North America is ***.  Whenever I follow-up on 
sightings seen or heard on RBAs, they are inevitibly gone by the time I get 
there.  (I have seen this bird on four other continents but NOT in N. 
America.  AAAAGH!!)

My world nemesis bird is ***.  I've been prevented from seeing this bird a 
couple of times.  I came so close to seeing one in Venezuela many years ago. 
Unfortunately, activities by an illegal logging operation (namely posting 
well-armed thugs in the road to prevent anyone from entering the area on a 
state road) prevented our group from entering the area where the *** pair 
were known to have their nest and when we reported the matter to the police 
they would do nothing to stop the loggers from illegally blocking the road. 
They just laughed at us.  Hopefully, next July I will see one in ***.

Al Schirmacher
Princeton, MN
Mille Lacs & Sherburne Counties

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