All the Kings Horses, All the Kings Men, Jon Dunn, Mary Gustafson and Matt From Ohio – Couldn’t Find the Darn Becard

Today was spent at Estero Grande State Park looking for the Rose-throated Becard.  Jon Dunn joined me in the morning and soon after that we ran into Mary Gustafson, but to no avail.  It was very windy and that definitely kept the birds low and rather inactive.  Matt Stenger from Ohio, who most of you know is doing his own Big  Year,  joined me late in the morning after he successfully found his year Red-billed Pigeon (congratulations Matt).  Matt did spot this Texas Tortoise which was a life reptile for me, but there was not a trace of the Rose-throated Becard.

Matt Stenger with a Texas Tortoise (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

This evening I rescheduled my flight to Denver to Wednesday evening.  I sure don’t wish to miss the becard and be forced to make an return trip to The Valley, just for the becard.  Anyways we had a delicious fajitas dinner at the home of Colleen and Stephen Hook, MD. Jane Kittleman, who discovered North America’s one and only record of Stygian Owl joined us for dinner.  Jane said she’d show up tomorrow at Estero to help look for the becard. Hopefully, I’ll still have time to look for the Aplomado Falcon on the Old Port Isabelle rd. and do some birding at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, TX.

Carmine Skimmer (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

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12 Responses to All the Kings Horses, All the Kings Men, Jon Dunn, Mary Gustafson and Matt From Ohio – Couldn’t Find the Darn Becard

  1. Nick Block says:

    There are a couple records of Stygian Owl, although the ID of the first (technically) wasn’t realized until much later:
    Good luck on the becard tomorrow!!

  2. Sam Plew says:

    Graylag Goose in Quebec…

  3. Dave Brown says:

    Hey John,

    Hope you are looking at a Becard as I write this! It’s not a total disaster though those things can pop up again before Jan 1. I wonder if your considering the Greylag? There is always a question of provenance surrounding this species but with increasing numbers of presumed genuine vagrant Geese from Greenland, this looks good. I saw photos- it looks wild! ;) Certainly just as good as last years bird in Nova Scotia and follows a good time line that matches genuine late fall records from Newfoundland.

    Good luck!!

  4. Fr. Tom Pincelli says:

    Looks like I’m going to have to start praying for you to get this one.

  5. Keith Brink says:

    Got this email from PA list serve.

    A BLACK-TAILED GULL was found at Lakeshore Park/Ashtabula Power Plant earlier today in Ohio. This is just over the border into Ohio from the Erie, PA area.

    The gull in question is being seen resting on a large blue industrial building with a green train parked in front. At 11:20 am it flew out and foraged with a group of gulls and cormorants offshore. It returned to the building at 11:40 am and was there resting up until 12 noon when it flew back out offshore. It has not be refound at the time of this email. Others have arrived to confirm the ID.

    Lake Shore Park is on the east side of Ashtabula Harbor and on the west side of Ashtabula Power Plant. Spoke with Craig again about the gull. It has a full, solid black tail band with a clean white trailing edge. Third winter Lesser BB Gulls typically show black spots, in a line, on the tail.
    He also notes a broad white trailing edge to the wing.

    DIRECTIONS: Take 90 east out of Cleveland towards Conneaut. Take exit 228 for route 11 north. Follow signs for route 11 north. After 6 miles you will deadend at east 6th street/route 531. Turn right onto east 6th and it will turn into route 531. Soon after the park will be on your left. Craig is on the west end of the park where it gives height to look over Ashtabula harbor.

    Alex Lamoreaux
    State College
    Centre County, PA

  6. Glenn Dunmire says:

    Hi John,
    Hope you were able to get the Becard at the last minute.

    If the draw of Alaska casts its spell again you might still get that Whiskered Auklet. If you would like to discuss a little potential strategy contact me off line at glenndunmire at

    You have gotten this far (lofty big year numbers) by making a lot of good decisions. No need to second guess about anything………GO MAN GO!!


  7. D says:

    A Redwing was found yesterday, Tuesday in Seward, Alaska and photographed and id’d today. This is a first state record. Seward is a 120 mile drive from Anchorage. The road can be tricky this time of year and is occassionally closed by avalanches. A number of people hope to make it down there from Anchorage tomorrow.

  8. Aaron Bowman says:

    Hi John,
    It has been fun following your posts.
    On recent news here in Alaska, in Seward there was a Redwing discovered today.
    Thought this may be of interest as you had mentioned a possible Adak trip.

    Good luck to you.

  9. David Pavlik says:

    REDWING in Seward. Present since Tuesday.

  10. John Vanderpoel says:

    Thanks for the heads up. Aaron.

  11. John Vanderpoel says:


    Thanks for the information. The question to myself is when to go. Please let me know what you folks come up with.


  12. John Vanderpoel says:

    Okay, Glenn I will contact you.

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