Rare Birding: British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California

I’m looking for a Slatey-backed Gull in Tacoma, in an industrial area, on the river, near the mill. The Rare Bird alert gives specific directions but there are hundreds of gulls here, Glaucous-winged, Western, Hybrids, etc. Not a Slatey-backed in sight.

Bird Noetz

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Rare Birds! I hear about a sighting and I go looking. It’s fun, like a treasure hunt. And frustrating too – also like a treasure hunt. Half the time, I feel I’m on a futile quest, like the folks on TV looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine, Sasquatches, or Blackbeard’s hoard of gold and jewels. You know they’re not going to find anything and you know why.

Then there are those birds that everybody sees but you. In March, I spent three hours watching two piles of brush in Golden Gate Park in San Fransisco for a Rustic Bunting — nothing. I didn’t have the courage to check the reports for the day because I know for a fact that somebody will have seen it five minutes after I gave up. At other times, a long wait is rewarded with the briefest of glimpses, as happened to me with a…

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