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Archive for Thursday, May 9, 2013

25 years ago: Bird enthusiasts flock to Perry for rare sighting

May 9, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 9, 1988:

Birders from across the nation were traveling to Lake Perry to observe the extremely rare spotted redshank which was making a visit to the area. Walter Taylor, a ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, estimated that there had been at least 100 people quietly visiting the site on a recent Sunday; he reported hearing comments such as "great," "wonderful," "chance of a lifetime," and "I could never have afforded to go to the Aleutian Islands or Siberia to see it." The spotted redshank, one of the few black sandpipers, had spots on its back, white rings around the eyes, and a partially red bill and red legs. It was not known how the bird had gotten so far off course, "unless he is a young one and lost his way," Taylor said. Marion A. Jenkinson, adjunct curator in the ornithology department at the Museum of Natural History at Kansas University, said that she was sure it was the first recorded sighting of the bird for the Great Plains area. "Most of the lost ones are going to end up on the coasts. But birds get lost all the time. He meant to fly due north and he veered," Jenkinson said. The redshank appeared to be quite composed in spite of the crowds of visitors. "There are lots and lots of birds visible from that one spot," Jenkinson said. "Every bird there probably thinks people are looking at it. That redshank doesn't know he is being selected or that he is the star of the show," she added with a laugh. Ranger Taylor, musing on the interest stirred up by the bird's arrival, said that it was perhaps a sign of a positive change in society. "You read so much about people going out and destroying wildlife. Here we have a lot of people that want to do nothing more than watch the bird."

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