Monday, April 1, 2013

Spotted Redshank at Goose Pond, IN

By Landon Neumann

Spotted Redshank, Goose Pond, IN.  Photo by Ryan Sanderson
A Spotted Redshank in Indiana was definitely not what I was expecting to happen this past week, but I guess there is never the impossible in the birding world.  After hearing about the Redshank on Thursday I quickly went into action to find a ride to be able to see this bird. Well, after finding a ride with Chicago young birders, Ethan and Aaron Gyllenhaal, and Ted Wolfe I was able to chase this mega-rarity on Saturday.

Spotted Redshank (right) at Goose Pond.  Photo by Ryan Sanderson
After a very long three hour drive through the great Indiana corn desert we arrived at Goose Pond FWA.  Right, as we pulled in the bird was actually viewable from the car! However, right as we were getting our stuff out the bird flew to the other field that it was feeding at, so we had to walk the ½ hike down the levee to get better look at it since we had only see it flying away.  During the walk we encountered over 100 birders along the levee. Some people were as far away as Massachusetts!  After a fifteen minute hike we reached where the bird was, so we set our scopes up to see the bird. Within a minute of searching we had found the bird in our scopes!  We were all overjoyed to get such great look at this bird.

After we had found the bird we observed the bird for the next hour or two.  It was neat to see the bird’s red legs, but also its red base that it had on its bill. While we were watching the redshank, it called for us a couple times and it was frequently chasing away Lesser Yellowlegs, who were feeding close to it.  The field that it was in was also filled with other birds. Some of the highlights that were in the field apart from Redshank were 23 American Golden Plovers, a Long Billed Dowitcher, and 3 Black Necked Stilts. The field was also jammed back with Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Pectoral Sandpipers, and both species of yellowlegs. Overall, it was a lot of fun birding along the levee.

I’m very thankful to see such a rare bird. It was one of the rarest birds I’ve ever seen in North America. If you haven’t seen it yet I would strongly recommend you go see it. It will be a while, if ever, before one shows up again in Indiana.

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