Fast forward to Memorial Day 2019. Me, out of town for 10 days. Another mega-rarity from Florida, a limpkin, shows up in a Mountain Island Lake cove in Huntersville. Birders from all over both Carolinas successfully see the bird over a period of 10 days, then on the day I get back in town, the bird disappears. That really, really stung.
I arrived at the Neck Road Boat Ramp at 6:30 AM the next day, only to find the cove seemingly lacking a limpkin. I took a footpath in the woods that parallels the shoreline and in about 10 seconds I had a large wading bird flush from the lush aquatic vegetation. I knew immediately that it was the limpkin. It flew only a short distance and perched on a partially submerged concrete slab, then resumed foraging for aquatic snails, its favorite food. I quickly put the word out and birders were able to see it later that day. And as of June 11, the bird was still being seen. I wonder if the near-record lake levels of Mountain Island Lake will finally induce the limpkin to move on though.
Its all a guessing game really, trying to figure out what one single lost bird is going to do. Sometimes you guess right and sometimes wrong. That’s a big part of the allure for me; though the disappointment in missing out came be immense, the rush from adding super-rarity to one of my lists is much stronger.