Always check that speck

When birding or going about your day, sometimes you’ll see a small speck of color or a bird off in the distance. You may ask yourself, is that a piece of garbage, a common bird, …

When birding or going about your day, sometimes you’ll see a small speck of color or a bird off in the distance. You may ask yourself, is that a piece of garbage, a common bird, or something else entirely?

Always inspect further these seemingly innocuous sightings! You may discover a bird you never expected to see.

I’ve had two experiences recently where this mantra has brought wonderful rewards.

My first experience was at Pearsall Park, where a small red bird appeared next to the trail. Assuming it was a Northern Cardinal, but wanting to verify, I discovered a Painted Bunting!

backside of male painted bunting
Male Painted Bunting

The next happened today while at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. We were driving through the park in our car when I saw a bright red speck on barbed wire way off in the distance. It looked like it could be plastic or something else so I pulled up my camera to get a better look. I couldn’t believe my eyes, a Vermilion Flycatcher.

Male Vermilion Flycatcher

It’s uncommon in my area and I’ve never seen it before. I almost kept driving but was glad I took a closer look.

Never be hesitant to check a bird with your binoculars, even if you think it’s something common. Unexpected birds await.