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What was your first found rare and how old were you? (1 Viewer)

The first national rarity I ever found was a Yellow-browed Warbler in Fuerteventura when it was still a Spanish rarity. The following year I found my first BB, a Pechora Pipit.
I had the first record of Common / Antillean Nighthawk for Tobago, inseparable without call. Spotted it in broad daylight and presumed it to be a Tern until we saw it well and the next day, it showed in the same place whic was lucky as we took the sceptical, local guide Newton George to try and see it, until we'd informed him, we weren't aware that it was a first.Our group found a Philppine Duck in Taiwan.

Our group found a Philppine Duck in Taiwan.
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Black kite cley - maybe 10 years old and I seem to think was around the 10th record

Then two separate Pallas warblers, Scarborough, and both when had to submit - I think one may have been about 140th (c. 1979 and 1982) the second was with a booted warbler found earlier by the teenager I was with

Finally I have a recollection of grr at spurn but can’t remember if we were twitching it ie refound
First "rarish" birds I found were two sooty falcons in Reunion Island...I was 11 or 12.
I say rarish because back then (about 15 years ago) the birdwatching network was less develloped on the island. Now there are apparently been 49 sightings between 2013 and 2022 according to the Faune Reunion website (not sure if it counts the sightings of the same birds on different days as one or not).
Black kite cley - maybe 10 years old and I seem to think was around the 10th record

Then two separate Pallas warblers, Scarborough, and both when had to submit - I think one may have been about 140th (c. 1979 and 1982) the second was with a booted warbler found earlier by the teenager I was with

Finally I have a recollection of grr at spurn but can’t remember if we were twitching it ie refound
Whits a grr? A gyrfalcon?

Self found: Would have been a Wood Thrush at Wyoming Hereford Ranch in 2008. I probably stumbled upon some lesser rarities while birding migrant traps in San Diego prior to this, but this was the first significant one I can recall.

If we are talking about the first rare bird I saw, and the first I "twitched", it would be Lazuli Bunting in Leelanau county MI, that was visiting a feeder.
In 1976 I was living in Leicester and often drove out to Norfolk, Cley, Salthouse and then Holme was a regular stop on the way back. A friend and I were not having much luck and headed back quite early stopping at Holme mid afternoon. Pulling into the car park we came across some people we knew and were leaning on the cars talking shit in the hot August afternoon sunshine. A bird was flying high above us and I found it pretty annoying as I was day dreaming of a nice cold drink. I interrupted the conversation and muttered some like WTF is that bird. The consensus was a Tree Pipit. OK I said as I went back to my day dream. This thing kept calling above us Zeep, Zeep, Zeep and I really was getting annoyed so I halted the on going conversation again. That’s no f@#$&$# Tree Pipit WTF is it. So after grabbing everyone’s attention it turned out that we thought it was a Fan-tailed Warbler. I went and dragged Peter Clarke the warden from his little hut and sure enough the bird was still flying above us , Zeep, Zeep, Zeep. We thought it was a first for Britain at the time and Peter being more aware of the procedures wrote it up and submitted it. Unbeknown to us at the time probably the same bird had been seen a few days before at Cley by a single observer. It’s still counted as Britains first however and Peter Clarke’s write up appeared eventually in British Birds with all our names. It stayed at Holme for several days and I’m sure it’s on many a list and you’re welcome. 🤣

Edit. It’s now called a Zitting Cisticola.
In 2018, I was 21, found by accident a local rarity (at least rare enough for a couple dozen birders to chase it) in the form of an Eared Grebe in Everglades National Park, turns out it was the first record of the species in South Florida since 2002.

The first proper rarity I found was earlier this year, 25 then, when I found an ABA code 4 in the form of a Thick-billed Vireo in Key Biscayne, thought I had an odd calling White-eyed Vireo until it popped in front of my bins while looking at a mixed flock.
First, and only, "Records Committee" rarity was Black-necked Stilt. A few months prior I found only the second inland Michigan record of Black-legged Kittiwake. Not a review species in the state, but very unexpected to see it patrolling a river 50 miles inland. Both in early 50's (late starter).
I think it must be the duo of Arctic terns I found in Australia when I was 14. Notably, the local birders gave me serious hell for how long it took me to get the news out (20 hours from sighting), and also berided me on seeing my photos for getting "so close" to a rarity and risking flushing it so no other observers could see it. It was not really an encouraging experience all things considered. Luckily for me one of them stayed around for many months, so my birding credibility was not irreparably "ruined".

Not to mention now I've spoken it on the internet, it will now be known forever that I took so long in my life to "develop" as a birder and find a rarity. Damn. Boy, early birding days as a young birder sure were something.
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Male MacGillivray's warbler in Houston, TX in 2017 at the local migrant warbler spot, Edith L Moore Sanctuary. Aged 29. This was my first spring migration as a birder, so I was still trying to nail down the expected species. I had to do some research on my phone to figure out what I might have seen. Figured I might have resolved the ID, but I was nervous to make the call until the bird obligingly popped up again and gave me great views. Better yet, my birding idol in the area refound it and posed it about it on his blog, crediting me!
This wasn't a national or state rarity, but it was only the 2nd record for this species in very heavily birded Harris County, so it felt like quite the accomplishment to me at the time.
i did re-find the oriental pratincole on the 3rd june 1993 on blakeney point but never got credit for it shame as i showed it to millington and gantlett

broad billed sandpiper fairburn 1996
night heron thorne moors 1996
raddes warbler kilnsea 2005

and some sort of robin at spurn late 90's proberly rufous tailed, it sat on the path in the dunes just north of the old lighthouse before flying in to a low dark bush and just sat it was getting dark
The most amazing sighting I've had was probably seeing a group of 6-7 Golden Eagles flying by a cliff I was standing on in western Connecticut back in the 90's. We had no binoculars with us that day, just out for a hike.

I saw the massive, vulture-looking birds fly right by the cliff in front of us, probably 50-60 yards away. I could plainly see their heads were not vulture. I didn't know what they were, wasn't into birding then. When I got home I checked the Peterson's field guide and realized they were eagles. I don't think they were bald eagles as all of them were 100% brown. Extremely rare sighting for that part of New England.

I still visit the area, I saw a bald eagle there a couple months ago. Some locals told me there's a couple pairs now nesting in the area, and said the cliffs along Pine Mountain are excellent for raptor fly-bys, so I think that was my only lifetime sighting of Golden Eagles.
I'm proud with this one- I found a citrine wagtail at maspalomas Gran Canaria in February 2019, in fact my dad posted it on bird forum at the time for confirmation and sent it to the Spanish bird society. For years I thought I was the first person to see it to later find out through eBird that it had actually been sighted since since December, I'm still proud of it however since I found and identified the bird myself. I believe it was the first record of a citrine wagtail in Gran Canaria and the 9th or 10th individual of a Citrine wagtail for the canary islands in total- most of them being sighted in Lanzarote which has had around 5-9 separate birds over the years.
I was about 15 at the time.


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I have found two genuine rarities, an aba 4th Tufted Flycatcher as a teenager and Cuba’s first Ruff over a decade later. Nothing to compare in all my hours as a patch birder. Guess I’m just more intensely focused while travelling.
Has anyone else on this thread, reported finding an 'extralimiral' rarity, outside of the UK though I have indeed found a few..
As this thread has been resurrected I'll reply to Andy's >2 year old post..

Flock of Kessler's Thrushes in the upper Langtang Valley, 1989...unfortunately I didn't report them to OBC for about two years as I didn't work out what they were for some time (not featuring at all in Birds of Nepal) - by which time there'd been a few more records. Under-recorded rather than extra-limital, but it was still quite a shock to find a flock of a species which clearly wasn't in the local field guide. If only we had eBird and Merlin back then...
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