Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 5, 2009

Chasing rarities can pay off

Filed under: Birds, rarities — richditch @ 7:13 pm
Northern Jacana

Northern Jacana

As much as I’ve mellowed over the years and don’t chase after every rarity this is one bird I couldn’t ignore. The report came in as an unidentified bird at a gold course pond in Casa Grande, about 40-50 miles south of where I live. The description mad me certain it was a Northern Jacana, and I went the following morning to look for it and hope for some documentary photos. Without precise directions to a specific pond at the course I started with the largest one, which turned out to be at the wrong end. I eventually made it around to the proper pond where other birders had seen it and already gone.

I got to spend over an hour with the bird and got a lot of photos I’m very happy with. I departed when more casual birders started showing up and activity on the course began to build: a sure recipe for potential conflict, and it didn’t take many days until the course managers implemented a “no birders on the property” policy making seeing the bird a lot harder from the desert just beyond the edge of the course.

The jacana stayed around for many weeks and was seen again the following year. Some golfers claimed the bird had been there for 2-3 years before with nobody knowing what it was.

D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E 2x converter, ISO 400, 1/80th second at f/8, November 5, 2007. Three are more photos of this bird in the Rarities section and in the Northern Jacana Gallery of my primary web site.

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