[Tweeters] Siberian Accentor - Surrey BC - Yes

festuca at comcast.net festuca at comcast.net
Mon Jan 18 19:16:56 PST 2016

Hi Tweets,

I hadn't chased birds for a long time, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is to leap into a car on the spur of the moment, drive for hours, and stand around - walk around - skulk around looking for a "rare bird".

I'd also forgotten how much fun it is to run into birders old & new who are also addicted to The Chase.

Yesterday morning, I threw my binocs, scope & wife in the car and headed for the Canadian border to chase the Siberian Accentor that has been around since January 3rd, when it was found on the White Rock Christmas count. With 'most everyone watching the Seahawks game, I-5 through Seattle had the least traffic I'd seen since the 1970s! By 1:30 p.m., we got to the site at the Gill Farm (5224 160th St) in Surrey to find a dozen and a half intrepid birders from around Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and as far away as Minnesota & Ohio. I recognized Dave, the gentleman from Minnesota as having - as did I - dipped on the Neah Bay Hobby last winter.... The word was that it hadn't been seen all day. This caused me some slight concern, as that was the same news I'd heard in the Waatch Valley a year ago November!! It set up my scope on the hedgerow brush and joined the vigil until dark. The Bird was a No-Show.

We grabbed a motel room and supper at a local pub, and went to bed early. Rising to be at the motel's "free" breakfast when it opened at 6 a.m. today, we made it to the location & Marty - my patient non-birding spouse - settled in with a couple of books. There were already a couple die-hards on-site at first light, and the crowd grew to around a dozen by 9 a.m.

The nice thing about a rare bird "stake-out" is that there will be some excellent birders and lots of pairs of eyes trained on the habitat. Finally, a little before 9, a moderately-large flock of juncos worked their way toward the roadside, & the Accentor made a brief showing.
I missed it.

Over the next hour, it made several brief appearances, and several times, I was unable to get on the bird, which moved away east down the hedge and ditch. Saddened by my own poor birding abilities ("Oh, you said LEFT?" as I'd scanned right....), frustrated by being in the wrong spot, and darned if I was going to leave, and somewhat amused that the Minnesota birder was having the same luck as I was, the bird finally came in again, and - Success - provided some wonderful views for the 8-10 remaining birders. A woman from Ohio got some nice photos for her 'big year', as did a few other photographers.

Life bird #759 for me! ABA #554

The birders I met there were very good about using good "ethics" - keeping the roadway clear, staying off private property, etc. I would really like to thank the camaraderie and helpfulness of the good birders there this morning. I got the names of Lou and George (?), missed the names of other local birders, as well as had a pleasant conversation with Ray Ng who has taken some wonderful shots of this Prunella . Tim Shelmerdine was up from Portland, dipped yesterday, but got on the bird this morning. John Pushcock was there from Seattle, and made great efforts to get folks on the bird. (He should be a Tour Leader!!) ;-{)

All-in-all, it was a pleasant way to spend a holiday weekend!

Jon. Anderson

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