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Gallinule, Not Moorhen

April 4, 2012

The abnormally warm winter doesn’t seem to have instigated premature migration down in these parts.  I did have an early Ovenbird last week, but most everything else seems to be arriving at about the right time.  The heat wave has, however, apparently made the Piedmont seems like a lush and inviting imitation of parts several hours to the south, because late last week a Common Gallinule, nee Moorhen, was reported from an offshoot of the Neuse River in Raleigh.

It wasn’t a state bird for me, but it would have been a new one for the Triangle, and a heck of a county bird.  Besides, I had a whole week off for spring break and nothing but time.  In lieu of any other birds calling my name, this was a pretty decent rarity to chase.  So, you know, I went.

I wish I had a big exciting narrative to weave about searching for and finally finding this bird, but man, it was super easy.  The most difficult part of the whole ordeal was figuring out where to park in the golf community to as to not seem threatening when I got out of my car with my big camera and binoculars.  Pro tip: park in front of the house for sale.  You’re just house hunting!

The Gallinule itself was hanging out in a swampy backwater along a greenway trail.  It was with a coot, offering a comparison between the two Rallids, if you like that sort of thing.  I found it in about a minute and half, the extra time needed for it to find its way to an open patch between the cattails.  Wake County tick #174 and Triangle Tick #240.

Oh, and apropos of nothing in particular beyond the fact that I have this cool photo, I’ve been checking some coverboards near my kid’s daycare this week and the other day I found this sweet Copperhead.

Venomous snakes, FTW!


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