Day 40: The Snipe Hunt

Noah celebrates a special day with a special bird.

February 9, 2015, Boa Nova, Brazil — “Noah!” Leo hissed at 4:45 this morning, by way of an alarm, from the opposite bunk in our shared room. “Time to get up!” My eyes opened and I sat up straight. “Hey, do you know what day it is?” I said. “It’s my birthday!”

I suppose if you go birding for 365 straight days, one of them is bound to be your birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 29th year. Leo and I birded the dry forest near Boa Nova in the morning, took a siesta at lunch, and birded the adjacent wet forest in the afternoon. Between dawn and dusk, without really trying to run up a daily list, we encountered 171 species of birds—the biggest day I’ve had so far this year! 

I got two good presents today. First, my mom and dad sent a video of themselves singing Happy Birthday, which was a nice reminder of home-I’ll only see them for a few days this year, in late May when I pass through Oregon.

The second present was just as unexpected. In the afternoon, Leo mentioned that he had a good stakeout for a bird called a Giant Snipe, and said we should be there at dusk. So, after a long day, we drove a wet dirt track into the wet forest and parked by a certain wet field. Leo broke out chairs and green coconuts, and we sat there as it got dark drinking coconut juice and listening to the sounds of the forest. Just before last light, the Giant Snipe began calling-a loud kak-kak-kak-kak-and Leo spotted it on the ground. We took photos, studied the snipe through my scope, high-fived, and called it a birthday to remember.

New birds today: 26

Year list: 952

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