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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Not so rare bird moments (1 Viewer)

Linkasaurus

LincolnJ
United States
Have any of your ever had a moment when you thought that you had a really rare bird, but it was one of the most abundant birds around your area? I've had mine. Sometime in 2020 I accidentally mistook a RWBL (Red-winged Blackbird) for a very rare LABU (Lark Bunting)
 

Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
I once found a Little Egret in a tree along the River Mersey in Stockport
I was beside myself with joy as Little Egret hadn’t been reported along this stretch of the river. Unfortunately I was out for a run and didn’t have binoculars, so had to creep closer for a better look before running home to tell people.

Luckily I didn’t have my mobile phone with me because as I stalked closer to the tree it became blindingly clear that this wasn’t a bird but a discarded white plastic bag from a well beloved supermarket chain.

Reputation intact I went home
 
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Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I once found a Little Egret in a tree along the River Mersey in Stockport
I was beside myself with joy as Little Egret hadn’t been reported along this stretch of the river. Unfortunately I was out for a run and didn’t have binoculars, so had to creep closer for a better look before running home to tell people.

Luckily I didn’t have my mobile phone with me because as I stalked closer to the tree it became blindingly clear that this wasn’t a bird but a discarded white plastic bag from a well beloved supermarket chain.

Reputation intact I went home
I've found snowy owls to be really good at shapeshifting into white plastic bags myself....
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Earlier this year, called out a possible cuckoo in a hammock, turned out to be an oddly skulking Northern Mockingbird.

On the flipside, once I thought I had a Northern Parula, but still took notes since I didn't have my phone on me. When I got back to the car, turns out my Parula was actually my lifer (female) Cerulean Warbler just being obstructed by the branches it was foraging on.
 

KenM

Well-known member
I once found a Little Egret in a tree along the River Mersey in Stockport
I was beside myself with joy as Little Egret hadn’t been reported along this stretch of the river. Unfortunately I was out for a run and didn’t have binoculars, so had to creep closer for a better look before running home to tell people.

Luckily I didn’t have my mobile phone with me because as I stalked closer to the tree it became blindingly clear that this wasn’t a bird but a discarded white plastic bag from a well beloved supermarket chain.

Reputation intact I went home
Not any more Mike, you’ve blown your cover.😂

However I refuse to be upstaged😄 earlier on this week I had a entourage of RNP’s escorting a foreshortened “Cormorant” flying towards out of a wall to wall blue. As the foreshortening unwound, the Cormorant morphed into a Raven. 😮👍
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
I thought I had a Brewer's Blackbird, but it was just a Common Grackle if I remember correctly.
Another time I thought I had a Boat-tailed Grackle, but it was just a Common again.

Last year I thought I had a Screech Owl in a tree cavity on the other side of a pond. It was poor lighting so I came back the next
day which was sunny to have another look. It was really just part of the tree pattern in the cavity; looked like an Owl head with ear tufts ... Ha.


I'm know there were more over the years, but I don't have the best memory.

this is a great thread ... lots of laughs.
 
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Ratal

Well-known member
I can beat the decoy story.

I was hill walking in Harris, Hebrides, and there on the ridge line sat a Stellar's Sea Eagle. I was ecstatic. Throwing down my kit, getting onto my belly, I crawled through the peat bog on my belly. Getting ever closer, heart hammering, I got into mobile phone range without the bird even looking at me.

Then a well dressed Japanese woman sat next to the bird, draped her arm over it....

And the towel draped child got up and turned to look at me.

A @#$#@$$!!!! Ground swallow me up moment. An eagle beach towel.

From that day onwards, I swore never to leave home without optics ever again. Or my glasses.
 

David Ferguson

Well-known member
I was walking in a wood with a friend when she exclaimed "Doesn't that tree stump look like an owl" at which point the tree stump flew off. It really was an owl, a Tawny.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I went up on Ben Macdui after a Snowy Owl (years ago). It's a long walk though good exercise and with a few Snow Buntings and Ptarmigan to keep the interest going. As I got towards Ben Macdui, scanning every hundred yards or so, I picked up a white blob in a sort of rock fortress. Got it!

It took me fifteen minutes of cautious advance before I could see I'd been stalking a big lump of quartz. The language was terrible and sustained for some time. I never did see that Snowy, but I bagged the peak.

John
 

Edward

Umimmak
I went up on Ben Macdui after a Snowy Owl (years ago). It's a long walk though good exercise and with a few Snow Buntings and Ptarmigan to keep the interest going. As I got towards Ben Macdui, scanning every hundred yards or so, I picked up a white blob in a sort of rock fortress. Got it!

It took me fifteen minutes of cautious advance before I could see I'd been stalking a big lump of quartz. The language was terrible and sustained for some time. I never did see that Snowy, but I bagged the peak.

John
I had (almost) the reverse experience. While looking for Snowy Owls in Iceland, we fixed on a white spot on the mountainside 4 km away and had just managed to convince ourselves that it was in actual fact a sheep, when the said sheep sprouted wings and flew off and was followed by another Snowy Owl which had been unseen. The quartz reminds me of a time I was driving across the highlands of Iceland with a childhood friend from Manchester and professional geologist when he suddenly screamed "STOP" and opened the door and ran off across the wastelands like a man possessed, shouting OBSIDIAN at the top of his lungs. A couple of minutes later he slunk to back the car crestfallen, eventually revealing after much prompting that "it was a f#*%$%& binbag"
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
An abandoned moped in a stony riverbed for Crested Ibis is one of my better ones 😀

Not mine, but I heard someone shout "There it is!" at a busy Little Bittern twitch in the '80s, to alert people to a motorbike crash helmet "skimming the top of the Reeds" (on the head of someone on a motorbike driving along a road in the background)
 
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KenM

Well-known member
I added another “string” to my bow on Friday evening at 7pm.
Streaking South out of a Western sky…I grabbed the camera, punching the air with my latest ever Swift!….I then looked at the images 😂
 

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Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
While hawk watching, I had a bird that I called an eagle. Then it changed angle and turned into a plane. I think every one of the hawk counters has done it at least once.

It's done so often that we have a joke up there, "Well it does have flat wings."
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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