Subject: Bird of the Year Date: Jan 1 18:59:39 2000 From: Dan Lindsay - susandan2 at earthlink.net
Good idea, Christine!
I have a tie. Chronologically first was a Scarlet Minivet, seen in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, last May. Pictures of this black-and-red oriole-like bird do not do it justice. I was observing a female Minivet, a pretty but unspectacular bird, when her consort stepped out of a tangle of vines into my binocular view. His black head and body were a glossy blue-black, almost iridescent in the brilliant sunshine; and the red pattern on his wings, tail, and back glowed as if lit from within. He posed on the branch, flicking wings and tail occasionally; then he turned the other way, displaying every bit of his beauty. I've never seen as spectacularly lovely a bird.
The other half of the tie is the highly accommodating Chestnut-Collared Longspur at the Hoquiam Sewage Pond last 28 November. I had read about him on Tweeters the previous evening, left Bellevue at 5:00 A. M., and arrived at the pond just as the sun was drawing a red line under the cloud bank on the eastern skyline. Several other birders were there, and we scanned the Song and White-Crowned Sparrows in the brush as dawn slowly lightened the landscape and added color to the gray bushes and birds. No sign of the Longspur until the day was fully light -- then he appeared! He fluttered to the edge of a puddle, strutted around it a bit, then launched into flight -- but a short flight, up to about 15 feet, then circling and landing a few feet from where he had been before. He walked a few feet, then flew again, another short circle, only to land again near where he had taken off. By this alternating pattern of walks and circling flights, he showed us his white tail pattern, black belly, yellow face pattern, and of course his chestnut collar. He could have been accompanying a lecture on the field marks of the Chestnut-Collared Longspur!
Dan Lindsay, Bellevue email at susandan2 at earthlink.net