seiurus (from seio, to shake, and oura, tail) motacilla (water wagtail)
Tuesday, July 17, 1990 — 9:50 am
Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina
In my never-ending quest to take advantage of all my relatives, I convinced Sally to take a vacation to visit her grandmother in Georgia. Sally’s mom, Peggy and JoLynn came over from Arkansas to join us. They spent the week doing whatever while I cruised the state, visiting battlefields and museums.
On this particular day, I left the condo at 5:15 a.m. and drove east, arriving at Kings Mountain at 9:00 a.m., just as it opened. I had the park to myself. I watched the film in the visitor center, toured the museum, then walked the path around and over the mountain where the Revolutinary War battle took place.
I’d walked about a quarter mile around the mountain, birding as I went and reading the trailside signs. The woods were fairly thick, mostly deciduous with an occasional pine sprinkled in. A tiny brook flowed through the valley nearby. I know I was the first person on the path that day because I kept removing spider webs with my face.
I heard an Acadian Flycatcher in the woods and was stalking it when another bird popped out of the vegetation and started calling incessantly. I tried to ignore it and find the flycatcher, but the other bird perched on an exposed branch about 20 feet from where I stood and scolded me. I gave it a glance and … lifer. I knew immediately it was a Lousiana Waterthrush. And it was very cooperative. It stood on the branch and yelped at me while I recorded field marks into the mini recorder I was carrying. I had my camera along, and when I’d gotten my fill of looking at it, I tried for a picture. I had the bird framed in my zoom lens and in focus. I pushed the button and … that’s when I discovered I was out of film. I had another roll in the car, but that did me no good. And the bird still stood there, looking right at me. I might still be looking at it if I hadn’t been distracted by another bird … my lifer Worm-eating Warbler.