Unexpected lifer

A few days ago Bill Gilmore heard and then saw a Thick-billed Kingbird in Presqu’ille Provincial Park in Ontario, look in your Sibley or National Geographic for the range, a truly astonishing record. We couldn’t get down there until today but 02.30 saw us bleary eyed and climbing into the car for the four hour trip. On arrival the bird had been seen but had wandered off. We searched for about an hour or so then it suddenly reappeared where we’d spent 30 minutes scanning. It eventually showed very nicely, loooking like a colourful version of its close Cuban relative, the Giant Kingbird in many ways. It was bit distant and out of camera range really and besides, when it was in view we shared the our scope with binocular only birders and a couple of photographers, although the latter group, on overhearing their conversation later, might just as well have been looking at one of the Mute Swans lounging on a shingle spit for all they knew. They seemed to me to be some sort of uninformed rare bird paparazzi and we last saw them heading off down the spit holding the bird to get in there with it, well it was the third day of the twitch.  I mused at what would happen if they tried that at a twitch in the UK! I guess their visit to casualty would become just another ‘foreign object removed’ story and before the real photographers here get upset, I’m not referring to you guys here.

So, no photos but a great new life bird. The wind at Presqu’ille was howling a bit but we did take a look for shorebirds, seeing one immature American Golden Plover and a Baird’s Sandpiper amongst the common stuff but not the Buff-breasted Sandpiper reported the day before.

Addendum: Looks like the 20 or so birders we were with were the last ones to see the bird. Although I didn’t manage a photo there are some nice ones online. Below is a link to Brandon Holdon’s blog which has four great shots.




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