Date: 9/5/20 7:44 am
From: <bertf...>
Subject: [texbirds] the story of Travis County's first Red Phalarope

I have been reading old issues of Signal Smoke and came across this
interesting account of Travis birders attempting to identify a new species
for the county.

Signal Smoke, October 1963, "Birding with The Beavers. The afternoon of
September 15, found us at the Sewage Ponds, ... Then we noticed two
phalaropes swimming close together in the center of the largest pond. We
immediately recognized that they were quite dark-backed and generally had
the appearance of Northern Phalaropes; but one of the birds was obviously
much larger than the other. During the next hour of close scrutiny from the
bank, we became more and more suspicious of that larger, grayer,
stouter-billed phalarope.

"At last, suspicion grew into near conviction; and since a 'sanitary'
reputation is worth even more points among birders than an eager one, we
knew we must prove our potentially dangerous suspicion. In an act of utmost
'eager beaverism' John stripped to his underwear and went after the
phalarope in its own element. John's slowly moving head must have looked
like a duck, for the two phalaropes showed virtually no alarm at his
approach. They simply swam slowly away, keeping just beyond arm's length.

"After about 40 minutes of dog-paddling, John was inches closer. He reached
slowly upward beneath the bird and -- and he had it! What wild, ecstatic
joy, what cries and leaps into the air from the beavers on the bank
accompanied his grasp of that bird, of that Red Phalarope. And a Red
Phalarope, indeed, it was, as Kincaid was soon to certify after careful
measurement and comparison with Ridgeway. A search of the literature
revealed that this normally pelagic species had been recorded but 7 or 8
times in Texas and, of course, never in Travis County. - The Beavers"

Bert Frenz

Oaks & Prairies of Texas

eBird reviewer, Central Prairie of Texas

eBird reviewer, Belize

NAB subregional editor, Central Oaks & Prairies of Texas

<Bert2...> <mailto:<Bert2...> <>

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