(GOOSE POND FWA) - A spotted redshank was spotted at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area south of Linton on Thursday.
Dawn Hewitt of the Herald-Times reports that the shorebird has been found in continental North America only a few times in the past 30 years, and never before in Indiana.
The bird is "the most exciting find on the continent in the last few days," according to Nate Swick in the American Birding Association blog.
Spotted redshanks breed in Arctic areas of Northern Eurasia and winter from the Mediterranean region to Eastern China south to equatorial Africa and southeast Asia, according to whatbird.com. In spring and fall, it visits Alaska's Aleutian Islands on rare occasion.
"Birders from around the Midwest, and even further, will be heading to Goose Pond to try and see this rare shorebird. Very few birders have seen a spotted redshank in the United States so it is a big deal to have one in Indiana," said Don Gorney, director of bird conservation and education for the Amos Butler Audubon Society in Indianapolis.
"Goose Pond has become a vital resting and foraging area for migrating shorebirds. It's very unlikely that the spotted redshank would have been found if the vast wetlands at Goose Pond had not been restored. That's because the habitat would not exist and there would not be birders flocking to the site to observe birds," Gorney said.
Indianapolis birder Kirk Roth found the bird around 10 a.m. in a flock of about 100 similar-looking yellowlegs, but the redshank has bright red legs and a red base on its slightly down-turned bill.
Roth telephoned Goose Pond bird authority Lee Sterrenburg, and within minutes, birders from across Indiana were headed to the state fish and wildlife area.
By 3 p.m., Greene County Road 400 South was lined with cars , birders and spotting scopes, according to Department of Natural Resources bird biologist Amy Kearns, of Mitchell.
On Friday morning, about 100 people were looking at it, Sterrenburg said.
Sterrenburg, of Bloomington, has gone to Kazakhstan to search for birds, and spent three weeks birding on Attu, an island between Alaska and Russia, but this was his "world, life" spotted redshank, he said.
Last year, a hooded crane turned up at Goose Pond. That species is also an extremely rare visitor to the United States, and drew hundreds of birders to Greene County to see it.
Other rare-to-Indiana species that have turned up at Goose Pond include whooping crane, neotropic cormorant, curlew sandpiper, roseate spoonbill, three species of ibis and wood stork.
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