GB grad Prestby ‘scores’ rare bird sighting

Here’s a fun story for friends of Eco U. It starts like this, “It was the equivalent of a touchdown… Almost camouflaged among the geese was a large shorebird with a long, orange and black, upturned bill. A Hudsonian Godwit. Score! Behind the wheel Quentin Yoerger pumped his fist in the air. ‘This was excellent,’ said Tom Prestby, riding shotgun. ‘It’s one of my favorite birds.’” Prestby, a recent UWGB master’s degree (ES&P) grad calls this birding experience “The Super Bowl of Birding” and the Journal Sentinel had coverage of Presby’s one-day race to document the most bird species in Wisconsin in a 24-hour period. In all, they confirmed 191 species. See story.

Meanwhile, Miller adds rare Black-bellied Whistling Duck to life list
No, really, that’s its name. (Although, Black-bellied, Pink-legged, Gaudy-billed, Chestnut-backed, Mohawk-sporting Whistling Duck might be even more descriptive.) Chancellor Gary L. Miller, an ecologist by training who has a fairly impressive life list as a birder, reports he was enjoying a short family vacation last week and playing a round of golf in the Houston area (well before the big rains arrived, obviously) when the call and coloration of a pair of greenside ducks he had never seen before caused him to set down the putter or pin flag he was holding (who can remember at such a time?) to enter full ornithologist mode. He quietly and carefully observed this new (to him) species — which he was able to identify as the BBWD, rare outside Mexico and parts of the Gulf Coast — which, of course, interrupted the golf outing… much to the consternation of Miller’s son, who favors birdies, not birds, and happened to be lining up a very important putt when the ducks of a lifetime whistled into view. At least that’s the way the Log heard the story. Take a look at the “spectacular, social and noisy” duck in question.

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