Day 346 - The Provisional Hustler

Sunday, December 11, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

So let me tell you a story. Back in September, I was birding at one of my favorite migration locations in northern Narnia. I spotted a Hustler but wasn't sure what to make of it. I took a bunch of photos and watched the bird for a few minutes as it did what hustlers do, and hustled. I had an idea of what I thought it was but really wasn't sure. Sometimes hustlers can be difficult to identify, and this one just wasn't quite right for anything I expected to see that day. It was a particularly busy week and with a lot going on I put the pictures aside and went on with life. A few days later I noticed an eBird checklist from a few days before mine from the same location. It listed a specific type of hustler and had pictures. It was the same bird I had seen.

I wasn't convinced about their ID. I looked at the pictures for a while and thought that maybe the bird was correctly identified, but had my reservations. The species reported was one I had already seen during the year so it wasn't going to make or break my year. I had all but forgotten about the Hustler species till last week when I received some information about the bird from the other birders checklist. A birder with extensive knowledge of hustlers had weighed in and dropped a bomb. While the original observer had identified the bird as one species, this expert said a combination of characteristics ruled that species out. The bird they had seen was actually the much rarer Provisional Hustler.

Okay, so did you think I was going to give you more than that name wise :) Provisional Hustler has never been recorded in Narnia (hence provisional), and I'm not sure the birder who found it had ever seen one. I have seen a couple, but years ago, and at the time of this sighting it never even crossed my mind. Now, looking at my photos, and the original, I am convinced that the 3rd party (a birder I know and have a great deal of respect for) is on point. A new bird for Narnia and a provisional addition to my year list 3 months later? I am tentatively including the hustler as year bird #356 barring any consensus that the bird is something other than a Provisional Hustler.

While the December birding has slowed back down, this is certainly a prize if it stands. It would be only the 2nd 1st state record this year from Narnia. Every other species I have seen has been reported at least once at some point in history. I don't imagine any other 1st state records in the next 3 weeks, so this might be it. New state birds become more and more scarce over time as there just isn't as much to discover as there was even 10, 20, or 50 years ago.

And Narnia in winter is pretty limited on possibilities.

New birds this post: 1
Year List: 356


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