Monday, December 31, 2012

Ontario Big Year: #305 - Purple Sandpiper

It's been a great year of birding for me in Ontario. Of course, I want to do a few summary posts of my year in the near future but this post will just be about my last new year bird of 2012: Purple Sandpiper.

A fireplace. A chair. A window. A coffee. A book.

Oh yes, I was in my happy place. I was relaxing at home, periodically looking out at the birds at my feeder, when my phone vibrated in my pocket. A direct message on Twitter from @blacklite9900. Interesting. I opened my Messages and there in my inbox was the following message:

"Don't know if you're working...PUSA at the tip" I kid you not, my first reaction was, 'that is one helluva late Purple Martin.' I facepalmed. 'You fool,' I thought to myself, 'it's a Purple Sandpiper. RUN!!!'

I scrambled around the house grabbing warm clothing for the outdoors, sent Kory a message to say I was on my way, and ran out the door, slipping and sliding across the laneway, scarf sailing.

Snow Buntings flying out of the way, my car smashed against snow drift after snow drift as I plowed my way south to Pelee, sweaty palms gripping the wheel and praying that I wouldn't careen off the road into a ditch on New Years Eve.

'With my luck,' I thought, 'I'll run into a ride program.'
Imagine it!

Police Officer, "Have you had anything to drink today?"
Me: "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M TRYING TO GET TO A PURPLE SANDPIPER!!!!!"
Police Officer: "Sir, please take your hands away from my holster and blow into this breathalyzer."

Eventually arriving at the Tip, I walked at a quick pace to the end and spotted Kory, Alan Wormington, and Richard Carr looking through their scopes. I somehow managed to get to them without slipping and falling (I assumed this would happen). I aimed my scope at the Tip and got the Purple, feeding on the east side with a group of European Starlings.

305!

Huge thanks to Kory for alerting me of this bird and thanks to Al and Richard for finding it.

Other highlights at the Tip while I was there included White-winged Scoter, Horned Grebe, Savannah Sparrow, American Pipit, and a hybrid Herring x Great Black-backed Gull.

A great way to end the year!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome Jeremy. Ross said you should do short stories as you are one hell of a writer :) Sandy & Ross

silvatica said...

I agree with Sandy - I always love your posts! Congrats and here's to 2013!

Marianne Reid-Balkwill said...

Love the post. I could visualize the whole thing...especially running into a ride program..lol

Tiffanie said...

Sounds like you found a new happy place for the day :) Congrats!