“Right there on the gravestone.”
“Still not seeing it.”
“It’s close to the fence by the church.”
“I see it!!!!”
So thats how I got Maine Big Year Bird #318 as fellow birder Leon Mooney helped me get my eyes on an Ash-throated Flycatcher.
Ninety minutes earlier, I got my first text message about the Flycatcher from Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist. I was in the car ten minutes later.
Soon I got a text from Matthew Gilbert.
Then Charles Duncan.
Then Marian Zimmerman.
Big Years are a community efforts and my birding friends were making sure I knew about this bird.
Ingrid and I had only seen an Ash-throated Flycatcher once before, in southwest California to get one in Maine, thousands of miles outside its range would be a perfect bird to set the record on.
St. Martin’s in the Field, is a picturesque Episcopal church (complete with cemetery), located in the middle of a golf course. Leon and I arrived at the same time and walked together along the edge of the fairway watching for errant golf balls until we got to the cemetery.
It was then that Leon saw the bird and graciously pointed it out.
Ingrid is in Washington DC visiting her daughter. She has been so supportive and patient through this year long adventure . . . I wish she could have seen this bird with me. But she called immediately to congratulate me. I’m a very lucky man!!!