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Serendipity (1 Viewer)

Ah, another case of birding serendipity. Yesterday, my email box contained a couple of messages about an odd bird that had been seen on a golf course pond in Casa Grande, Arizona. The first message began like this:

A fellow just called in to TAS and I answered the phone (my mistake) he told me he lives in a motorcoach and tours the country, is a birder with a good sized lifelist.

While playing a round at Casa Grande he spotted a bird he couldn't ID. His description" about the size of an avocet, all black with rust wings coverlets (sic), greyish-green legs, light yellow straight bill, wading around the edge of the pond"

At the time, I more or less ignored the message (being caught up in Birdforum scaup discussions), but those more savvy Arizona birders picked up on the rarity potential. The following morning, Pierre Deviche, a keen Arizona birder, stopped by the pond on his way south for a day of birding in Madera Canyon. Within five minutes of arriving, he was staring at a Northern Jacana, a bird that has occurred only a couple of times previously in Arizona. It is rare in general anywhere north of Mexico, occurring most often in south Texas. Casa Grande is no birding mecca, and what are the odds that a traveling birder will stop in for a round of golf, find a weird looking bird and have the thoughtfulness to call Tucson Audubon in order to help identify it.

Even though I have done more than 30 trips to south Texas, it was a bird I had not seen north of Mexico until today. With my friends Mark and Molly, I made the trip up to Casa Grande and was rewarded with spectacular views of a most peculiar bird. Even though it is a bird I see often in the tropics, I seldom take the time to really enjoy them like I did today. It was also my first new country bird since I saw a Greater Flamingo in Texas in March 2006. Attached are some memento shots from a great morning of birding.



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I've been keeping tabs on the AZ-NM bird list for an upcoming trip to NM at the end of this month. I liked watching the "drama" unfold from here in NJ. Congrats on a great sighting!

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