Subject: Bird of the Year
Date: Jan 1 18:59:39 2000
From: Dan Lindsay - susandan2 at

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