Friday, February 23, 2007

Scott's Oriole

Sorry for the light posting this week. And for no photo today. My extra time has been spent about 6 miles from the cabin in a nice, mature subdivision trying to see a Scott’s oriole.

For those of you who are birders, yes, you read that correctly. A Scott’s oriole. For those of you who aren’t birders, a Scott’s oriole is a beautiful yellow and black oriole, unlike our beautiful local Baltimore orioles that are orange and black. What makes the Scott’s appearance in a nearby subdivision so remarkable is that this bird is only resident to a small area of the far southwestern U.S. And it supposedly doesn’t migrate. This is the first time it’s ever been in Pennsylvania, and apparently only the third time it’s been east of the Mississippi.

So what is it doing in the middle of winter (such as it is) in Pennsylvania? That’s the $64,000 question. Who knows? Anyway, the thing is here.

I haven’t seen it yet.

In some ways, I am not surprised that I haven’t seen it, though I am disappointed. I’m not surprised because the sightings of the bird have mostly been in the mid-morning, a few in the mid-afternoon. My attempts to see the bird have been in the early morning before work and the late afternoon after work. I’m also not surprised because my track record at seeing rare birds is pretty dismal. It’s one of the reasons I first gave up chasing.

But when a bird this good is only half a mile off my normal commute path, I just can’t let it go.

Unlike Pennsylvania’s megabirders, who are either retired or can apparently forego work at the drop of a hat to go chasing something interesting, I am restricted to birding before and/or after work or on weekends. I am not alone. I’ve made 5 trips or passes by the area where the bird hangs out in the past 3 days. I’ve met some very nice folks, mostly young men, who are also searching for this bird.

The local residents have been extrememely nice about having people milling around their carports, though I think they are a bit stunned by the excitement. They haven't seen what is likely to happen tomorrow when most birders have off work and are likely to try for the bird. It will make the crowds from Saturday morning garage sales look like nothing.

I will try again tonight to see the bird. And probably on Saturday (if the bird is spotted today) when I will at least be able to be present during the time of day when it is most likely to be seen. But I’m still not optimistic. My history of not-seeing rare birds is simply too strong. But i won't be able to resist showing up.

1 comment:

pablo said...

Good luck. Maybe persistence will overcome history and you'll have a delightful report for us all.