Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | March 25, 2013

The early bird gets the worm…

…. but does she get the bird?

A.K.A. Confessions of a twitcher!

Snowy field

I told my bff today that Rob and I drove to Northern Massachusetts with a friend for the day yesterday – he called me NUTS! (maybe he’s right?)

It all started when last Sunday, a Fieldfare showed up in Carlisle, Massachusetts. This news would rock the birding world. With only a handful of records in the lower 48 states, this highly migratory Thrush from Northern Europe and Asia made its way across the pond and was found associating with American Robins.

Of course the bird was first reported on a Sunday afternoon – and was seen throughout the week. At one point in the week, I was even in Rhode Island (about an hour plus away!) I returned to New Jersey, having only slightly considered chasing the bird on my own. (mistake?)

With a report of a continuing Tufted Duck in New Jersey (one of my most wanted,) that became the Saturday “chase bird.”

(Mistake #2 by a self-proclaimed chaser?)

When Rich of New Jersey Nature Notes posted that he was looking for birders to accompany him to chase the Fieldfare in MA, Rob and I thought hard.

This is a would-be lifer for Rob and I felt burnt out from having just returned from New England days earlier (for a futile effort of a different sort.)

After careful consideration, given the fact that lifers are not that easy for Rob to come by, the decision was easier… so off we went.. with a 6AM departure.

Several hundred miles later…. the GPS announced we made it! The caravan of hybrid vehicles parked on the side of the road also heralded that fact!

car a van

There were license plates from MA, NH, ME, NJ, NY, VA and ONTARIO!  And quite a few familiar faces too!

And then the adrenaline starts pumping…. “Robin! 2 Robins!   Oh.. they’re just Robins!”

Should you stay put by the horse penn? or is it best to walk around?  I think the Punk band The Clash was writing about twitching – “Should I stay or should I go?”

horse penn and crowd

Five hours later, we decided we should go with no Fieldfare ticked!

Anticlimactic? If you like stories where the birders get a lifebird, high five and drive away, sure!

Realistically though, I walked away feeling much better for the experience.

  • We made a new friend
  • we met up with familiar faces 250+ miles from home
  • it was a beautiful day
  • we did get to see some great birds (a very cooperative Cooper’s Hawk, a vocal Raven, year Cedar Waxwings and a flyover FOY Osprey.)
  • It’s always fun to play the license plate game on the road
  • lastly I believe that every experience in life is just a stepping stone to something bigger than all of us. Something brought us to Carlisle, MA for a reason I may never know.
For now, I think I will pass on the next Thrush "chase"(First the Varied Thrush, now the Fieldfare)

For now, I think I will pass on the next Thrush “chase”
(Dipped!   First the Varied Thrush, now the Fieldfare)

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