What did you do last Saturday?

Posted December 5th, 2010 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

Me? I got up at 2 A.M. and drove to the South Dakota-Nebraska line, stayed for 90 minutes then drove home.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘what in the world did you do that for?’ The easy answer would be, a bird. But it’s a little more weighty than that. This wasn’t just any bird, this was another one of those “holy grail” birds a person from North Dakota wonders if he’ll ever see.

Seems a prominent Nebraska birder had located a Ross’s gull below the Gavin’s Point Dam on the Missouri River the day before. I hemmed and hawed a little when informed of this find but in the end decided I may never have a chance to see this bird, which nests in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska.

I had missed this species a few years ago in Iowa, showing up about two hours late. I whiffed again when the report from Eau Claire, Wisc., turned out to be a mis-identification. North Dakota has no record of this species, South Dakota hadn’t either until this one showed up. So in the very early darkness of last Saturday I hit the road.

To make a long story short (actually the story’s not so long but the drive was), I and a fellow West Fargoan found it with the help of a few others who had the bird located on a sheet of ice.

It was certainly a nice end to a half-hearted, though lifelong, search. A gorgeous little adult bird. And to think it only took 12 hours out of my Saturday morning. I was back at home at 2 P.M., though much in need of a nap.

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