My awesome wife consented to start our regular Friday night date with a quick trip out to see this duck. (I've had great improvements since this incident and she has been very supportive when she can sense that I am particularly excited about something birdy.) Now I had once before seen a Long-tailed Duck...in Idaho...way out on Lake Lowell...with only binoculars...so far out that I could only see a whitish duck with a black patch on its cheek...granting me a life bird...but such pathetic views that I was left wanting. Thanks to Mia and Ron, I finally got that "soul satisfying view".
Rob Fergus' recent post here, Daily Birding Badges, inspired me with ideas of creating a few shareable birding badges of my own. After finally getting a soul satisfying view of the Long-tailed Duck, I dreamed up using Jack Black as Brad Harris in The Big Year movie celebrating having seen the Himalayan Snowcock and having survived the death-defying helicopter ride. Thanks to Nate Swick for introducing me to the terminology for this concept of SSV that I have known so well for these many years.
P.S. On a less satisfying note, the poor little Long-tailed Duck has only been seen drifting along, never diving, never flying, not even preening. This level of lethargy is disturbing and means that it is either exhausted after its errant trip inland from the sea, or it is on death's door step. I hope it recovers and lives a long full life, and that it'll stop in and visit us in Salt Lake with more of his buddies more frequently.
Update: On Saturday, March 3rd, fellow Utah birders report that the lethargic Long-tailed Duck had been attacked and dragged around by a Northern Harrier and then consumed by said Harrier. Ahh...the circle of life!