This is only the second time in my life that I've seen one of these birds although they overwinter in this part of the world, as well as breed here. They are just so small, and so well camouflaged, that they are not easy to see. Lately I've noticed on the Ontario birder listserv I subscribe to and on blogs I read (see for example "brown creeper" at Bootstrap Analysis or "A Beautiful Day" at A DC Birding Blog or "Creeping Along" at Woodsong) many reports of the creeper. I've gotten over feeling hard done by that there are so many reports of snowy owls around this year and I've yet to see one. But a brown creeper, when there are so many around all the time, it didn't seem like too much to ask.
I feel much better now.
But it made me think about a post I read at Birding is NOT a crime!!!! recently about a smack down by an experienced birder of a newby, for carefully reporting as if it were a great find the sighting of a common bird. And it made me think of a comment Mike of 10,000 Birds left on a post here about my first sighting of a red-bellied woodpecker.
I just wanted to say how enjoyable it is to hear your excitement over a bird I take for granted. Red-bellies are extremely common here in New York, the product of their long march northward. I often drool over the boreal/arctic birds you and the Canadian clan (Clare and Trix, take a bow) see, so it's nice to see the shoe on the other foot!Context is everything. In the case of the red-bellied woodpecker the context is region--a new bird to me, a regular further south. The context of my brown creeper, and lack thereof--probably level of experience. As I said, they're hard to see, but as birders learn as they grow, what couldn't be seen before, with more experience turns up all over the place. When you start out--first start to take seeing and identifying birds seriously, everything is new, everything is rare. I remember the amazement I felt when I first identified a black-billed cuckoo--perhaps only matched by that I felt when I learned that the black-billed cuckoo is quite a common bird (though sneaky, and pretty quiet, so somewhat hard to see). I remember and I enjoy seeing/reading about others going through the same learning process.
The example of an oft-reported commonplace given at the end of the post at Birding is NOT a crime!!!! is the sighting of four cardinals in the Illinois backyard. I don't know about Illinois, but really, four??!!! I've never seen four cardinals all at once--and if I did, I'd be sure to tell someone about it.