I used to do a lot of birding in Kansas with Mick McHugh. The following two stories both involved Mick.
Story 1. Mick and I and perhaps one or two other birders went to Cheyenne bottoms for a weekend. When we arrived late in the afternoon, someone (I believe it was Roger McNeil) who had arrived earlier said, "You missed all of the excitement. We've had one or more jaegers here all day."
Apparently, there had been three Jaeger sightings. I later formed the opinion that a single bird made three circumnavigations of the central pool, allowing itself to be observed from a peripheral dike each time it came by. However, one birder (whose name I will not mention) convinced himself that each pass involved a different Jaeger species. By the time the bird made its third pass, he'd ticked all three species -- a Jaeger hat trick!
We continued to discuss the jaegers at dinner that night. I distinctly remember saying, "You wait and see. Someone with a PHD in jaegers will come along and burst his bubble."
The next morning, we met a birder on the dike and asked if he had seen any jaegers. "There was on third year Parasitic here yesterday," he replied. "It went around three times." We asked who he was, and he introduced himself. He was a grad student. He was getting a PHD. The subject of his dissertation? Jaegers.
Story 2: Mick is a dentist, and he used to clean my teeth. On one visit, he mentioned that there was a Parasitic Jaeger somewhere in northeastern Kansas. Evidently, the bird roosted on a road and even hawked grasshoppers. Mick had already seen Parasitic Jaeger in Kansas, so he did not bother to drive up to see the bird. It was there for quite a while. According to Mick, the bird was subsequently identified as a Long-tailed. Of course, it had left by that time. Mick probably still needs Long-tailed for his Kansas list.
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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