Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Long Tale about...

Not giving up!

Sometimes you only get one chance at something... it's OKAY to say wait a minute...and get up and dust yourself off and try again! So that is what I did.  Not just once but 5 times! 

I'm speaking about my attempts to see the long-tailed duck! First report came in on Nov 21st, 2017.  I drove about 1/2 hr west to Lake Wateree in Lugoff, that was when I saw the Black Vulture effigy...didn't see the duck.  That didn't surprise me since Lake Wateree is a HUGE body of water with miles of shoreline.  Then the Holidays came and I sort of didn't even look for it during that time. I was off looking for the Ross Goose!

Then 2018, Jan 16th another report, about one hour north west of me, in Jenkinsville, SC I made an attempt at the Nuclear Plant lake when my sister met me and we beat a cold wind all day looking and came up empty handed...that was the day the man's boat got away from him.





Then on the 19th of Jan I went up to the Dam and down under the bridge to see the Greater Scaup... that was a lifer also and on that same day when I left the Dam I drove 2 hrs south to the town of Branchville where a long tailed duck had been reported the day before...I found the ponds, and some friendly donkeys, but no ducks...so 3rd fail on the long tailed duck.
Image From Cornell Labs range of the Long-tailed Duck

Every morning I open my laptop with the hopes of a possible sighting.  My chances to see this duck wane with each passing day, soon any that are around will head north to Canada and beyond to breeding grounds. SO really time is getting short.  If you look at the map I snagged off Cornell you see the duck spends all their time many miles away from SC where I am.  So the report that came in on Saturday Feb 17th from Ridgeville, SC was such a surprise and I left Sunday morning for the 2 hr drive south down the dreaded I-95! And you know I dipped on that as per my last blog post...and I was so disappointed and then Monday morning I saw someone had seen the duck one hr after I left, GRRRR I wanted to break something... But I took it like a mature individual and ranted at home alone.  

Monday I had a planned lunch date with my sis, but Tuesday Feb 20th when I got up there it was reported again in that same pond...so by 8:20 I was on the way to the dreaded I-95 again..only this time in a heavy FOG! 




After 2 hrs of foggy high speed driving...I was in a state of shock, and I kept telling myself this was nuts.  I had not eaten and had barely had coffee.  Upon arrival I did a quick drive by then parked and walked the frontage of the lake on the road's edge. 



When I scanned the smaller pond the to the left of this house....I saw that flash of white and I knew I had spotted him...I had to walk down the frontage road and then up a residential side street to the farther-est eastern corner beyond the house in the smaller lake and that's where he was diving. 

                                        this property is for sale

And there he was in all his groovy colors. Snowy white head, big psychedelic white eye ring, dark pinto looking cheek patch, dark sides with a white back and long pointed tail..oh and the pink and black bill.  


If at first  you don't succeed try, try, try, try, and try again!!  That is the male Long-Tailed Duck!  I was so gratified not even the man in the house nearby giving me the stink eye from his garage  for standing close to the edge of his yard could deter me the glory of this duck. Honestly I had figured  out if he said something to me I was going to say, "No Englesh Senor," and hump my shoulders like I dunno what you're saying...



I guess he decided I was harmless even though I don't think I even combed my hair and I believe I had on the same clothes I had worn on Sunday so if that man saw me then he probably recognized me as that crazed looking loonie in the plaid shirt from Sunday who was out in the drizzle with her hair all a frizzle!

If you zoom in on this map you see 2 ponds with the red dot, I parked at the blue dot Priority One Waste... now look to Lake Dr, and then look down to Austin Lane, I walked down the road along the lake scanning with my binoculars, then headed up Austin and finally I stood right there in that corner at the end of Austin, and viewed the duck.  I think he had been in the other pond behind that small island on Sunday.  

I am amazed at how long this duck stays under water when they dive..

It felt so great to be able to finally see one!!  Now normal life can resume...My Long Tailed Duck story is done. 


PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations! He’s a real beauty, Sondra. You have such a long life list, being able to add new birds is going to become more and more difficult! Good thing you don’t mind 'hitting the road'! XO

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    1. Thanks Karen, I enjoy the hunt as much as the reward. My list is light weight compared to most serious birders...I had my nose to the grindstone for many years and I had little free time for doing fun things other than family vacations....I was running a business and raising my son,,,and then that last hard push of working before retirement, so now I'm kinda playing catch up.

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  2. WOW OMGosh he is gorgeous! Your determination is the best and it sure paid off. Congrats. Did you ever get to lunch with your sister?

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    1. Hi Jo, yep I had lunch with Sis on Monday, we had a great visit. We went Zaxby's I like their salads and toasted bread.

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  3. He certainly is a good looking duck, and your persistence paid off. Never say never. Thanks for the map.

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    1. The Satellite map helps you understand what I was trying to say I sometimes get tongue tied trying to describe something so a map illustration is a big help!

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    2. Maps are so good, I can sit down and read a map like a book.

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    3. ME too! And you should see my google map...its so full of stars! I still use my paper maps when I travel, but I do a lot of planning using google maps. I really want an old atlas that is spiral bound...old due to the details, and spiral bound so it will lay flat what ever page I have it on.

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  4. Congrats!!! You worked damn hard for that one, well done.

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    1. Thanks Jen! I was determined to see this one I felt I may not get the chance again...

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  5. Hello Sondra! Congrats on your Long-tailed Duck sighting. The male is beautiful. Persistence pays off sometimes. Wonderful collection of photos. Enjoy your day and weekend!

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    1. Hi Eileen. Yes this time it paid off no guarantees of future chases tho! LoL...but There is always something to see, so never a complete dead end.

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  6. Fantastic you finally got him, your post did make me laugh a little though!

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    1. HI Pam! Yes..almost silly right? I was getting in the hole with all the gas money I had to come up with...lol! So now I'm eating P-nut butter sandwiches to make up for it.

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  7. You are nothing if not dogged and determined, Sondra. You earned this bird. It is absolutely common on the Great Lakes; in an hour I could show you a thousand - literally. Just proves once again how a common bird can become exotic when found outside its normal range.

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    1. I KNOW it! That is the wonderful thing about a vagrant as we used to call them...Now that I've seen one of course they will be everywhere I go...that is normally how it works..lol

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  8. You are a birder in a million -- thanks for persisting and for sharing this great find.

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    1. Hi Sallie!! Thanks for the shot in the arm...amazingly my family is so supportive of my bad birding habits! So glad it's not a gambling addiction I have. lol

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