For the record, I drove to Fullersburg Monday morning with the intent of looking One More Time for the Limpkin. After parking, I opened the hatchback of my car and found my backpack in its usual spot, but No Camera. This was the second or third time in the past week I have forgotten something and gone back for it. I have gone so far as to put a post-it on the front door to remind me of things I might be taking with me, but what good was it if I didn’t look at it?
When I returned the second time with the camera, it was already 10:10. I took the long way along the Riverbend Trail to the Rainbow Bridge where the Limpkin has been seen so often. That was a bit of extra walking. When I reached the famous bridge, no one else was there. I scanned the riverbanks and saw no Limpkin.
I started to walk a little dirt footpath that runs along the river on the other side of the bridge and much to my surprise, I saw something with white spots sitting in the tangle of branches that were as brown as the rest of it was. I had found the Limpkin. This was not how I wanted to see the bird, but after two unsuccessful visits, I had to stick around for a little while.
I began by talking softly to it (why do we do these things?) apologizing for my presence, but taking photos. You can see the second photo where the bird closed its eye as if to say “if I stop looking at you, will you disappear?” When I didn’t disappear, it was patient after that for the most part and endured my taking photos. I couldn’t find a spot that was a little farther away to capture the entire bird, so I finally decided to go back out onto the bridge to see if I could find it in the tangle from that perspective and maybe see if it would come out and do something.
When I relocated the Limpkin from the bridge and started taking photos, I realized it was only because I knew where it had to be that I was finding it because it was pretty well hidden. This is in contrast to others who have seen it and posted photos where the bird is out in the open, capturing mussels and snails and eating them. You’ll have to use your imagination about that, or else go lookup Fullersburg Woods on ebird and check their pictures.
Shortly after I found the Limpkin and started trying to get some photos, two men, and then a third, came onto the bridge. I told them where the Limpkin was, and we exchanged stories for a short time. It turns out that it was my third attempt and also one of the others’ third attempts, so we had that in common.
The Limpkin was not interested in coming out from its hiding place.
I don’t think the Limpkin was too happy with me pointing it out to other people. It finally managed to disappear into the thickness of the branches. I will not go back again to find this bird. I was content with reporting it once with photos so that everyone would know it was still there. I guess it will just boil down to enough birders keeping track of its occurrence until it leaves. I think a lot of people assumed it might start leaving because of the drop in temperature. But it hadn’t become cold enough to freeze the water yet, and for as long as this bird has been around, there may be no incentive to leave as long as it is feeding well.
It wasn’t feeding while I was there. I got the impression that it had done its foraging and feeding earlier and was taking a well-deserved rest.
A few brief captures of other birds seen that day. There weren’t many at all and the cloud cover made it even less interesting.
Looking back briefly on the two previous visits to Fullersburg, on 11-17, all I photographed was fungus.
On 11-15, there was a young Red-tailed Hawk.
For what it’s worth, it was good to reacquaint myself with Fullersburg Woods. I also got to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time, and that was very special. I likely won’t be going back soon, though. The temperatures are dropping into the freezing zone and snow is in the forecast for Sunday. I hope the Limpkin finds a more southerly location soon. As of this writing, a lot of people saw it today.
There are a lot of other places I haven’t been in a while and maybe I should just start checking them out every now and then.
To those of you who are celebrating, best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. People who have been asking me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving seemed delighted when I told them I am staying home with my 40 birds. I must admit we are having a beautiful day. I went out earlier to the Chicago Portage and it was quiet, but not entirely without birds. I’ve been cooking this afternoon, so the kitchen is warm. The sun is shining and that always makes the birds especially happy. I’ll be back soon.