Never before has there been a recorded sighting of a Rufous-necked wood-rail in the United States, but for the last two weeks one of the birds has been right at home among the cattails at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Typically, the species is found along the coasts and in tropical forests in Central and South America, far from parched New Mexico.
...The phones have been ringing off the hook at Bosque del Apache since the bird, about the size of a small chicken, was first spotted on the morning of July 7.
..."It's way cool. We have people flying into Albuquerque every day, from Florida, California, the East Coast," Mize said. "There are people coming in renting cars and driving down because it's such a neat and rare event."
Legendary birder Sandy Komito was there last Tuesday and Wednesday to see the wood-rail. He holds the "big year" record for seeing or hearing the largest number of bird species in North America in a single year.
Throughout his 73 years of bird-watching, Komito had seen only one other Rufous-necked wood-rail. Last Tuesday, he gave up after spending 11 hours at the refuge and getting more of a suntan than he wanted. He wasn't happy. He heard it was spotted again late in the evening so he raced down the next morning and there it was. His camera sounded like a pneumatic jackhammer as the shutter fired, capturing close to 200 shots of the bird.
...Refuge officials also recalled the story of an Iowa man who flew into Denver, rented a car and drove down to see the wood-rail only to be disappointed. After driving back to Denver and turning in his rental, he got a phone call that the bird had reappeared. It was enough for him to change his flight, get another rental and drive back down.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Errant Central-American Bird
It's funny what a wandering bird does to people: