(I just tried to send this, and it somehow ended up as an empty message - sorry if this is a repeat).
This is not my most glorious birding day, and - to quote Mr. Contreras - there is most definitely a certain black corvid on my menu in the near future! I really botched one today. :)
This morning, I birded Cabell Marsh at Finley NWR and I spotted a Pectoral-sized and shaped sandpiper on the far side of the marsh in the company of a few Least and Western Sandpipers. My first impression was Pectoral, but I was immediately struck by the extremely bright buffy breast. Unfortunately, the bird was so far away and the lighting so poor that I was unable to get any detail on the breast pattern. The bird also seemed to have a rather bright rufous cap and a pretty distinct white supercilium. At the time of my sighting, I did consider the possibility of a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, but the viewing conditions were simply too bad, so I finally convinced myself that it must have been one of those bright juvenile Pectorals, and let it go at that.
However, all day the bird kept nagging at the back of my mind, and I wished I could have gotten a better look at it. Then, at 3:45 pm, I received a call from Howard Bruhner, who told me he had found a possible Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Finley. Aaaarghh!!! I was convinced he had seen the same bird I observed earlier, and I went back out to Cabell a little later to try and relocate it and hopefully cinch the ID. Unfortunately, despite an hour of intense scanning of the mudflats, I was unable to find it again. Later in the evening, Howard posted his photos, which confirm his ID of a Sharp-tailed (only the second record for Benton County, the first dating back to September 30, 1980)! Dang!!! I really should have spent more time this morning tracking that bird down! It just goes to show that it is too easy to become complacent and talk oneself out of a potential rare bird. Shame on me!!!
I'll pay better attention next time!
Great find, Howard!
Good birding to y'all Hendrik
-- __________________________ Hendrik G. Herlyn Corvallis, OR
*"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home." -- Gary Snyder*