Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nemesis Birds

We all have them.  Those birds we spend hours looking for, going to suitable locations, memorizing every little identifying mark from field guides, and we still can't find the bird.  So we go looking again later.  Days, weeks, months, even years, and this bird still manages to elude us.  Yup, it's our nemesis bird.
For me, my big nemesis bird is the Lawrence's Goldfinch.  A beautiful looking bird(from what I can tell looking at my field guides) that calls California, Arizona and parts of Mexico home.  This has been my Most-Wanted-To-See bird ever since I started birding years ago.  Even though I live in Colorado, my grandparents on both sides live in California so I've made numerous trips to California over the years.  I have put in hours of birding out in Cali, and have spent time in locations that fit the description of the habitat that the Goldfinch is supposed to like. But I still haven't had any luck.  This July looks to be another opportunity for me to take a shot at finding this nemesis bird again, and hopefully I will have a little luck on my side this time, and I'll be ready with a camera.
This last month I finally tracked down my nemesis bird for Colorado, the Barrow's Goldeneye.  Even though it is a rare bird out here in Colorado, it is a regular visitor in winter.  Up until this year, I had spent hours birding open water in wintertime and hadn't been able to see it.  Sure I'd see a zillion Common Goldeneye(don't get me wrong, Common's are great birds and I enjoy seeing them every time I come across them) but never the one with the out-of-place white face spot.  Finally, though, while chasing down the Long-tailed Duck at Duck Lake in Denver City Park last January, this other nemesis bird finally showed itself, a nice tick on my Life List as #298.

What are/were your nemesis birds?  And how successful have you been in seeing them?

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