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Date:         Sat, 31 Dec 2011 15:16:48 -0500
Reply-To:     Mark McShane <eagleeyed@BELLSOUTH.NET>
Sender:       Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Mark McShane <eagleeyed@BELLSOUTH.NET>
Subject:      Green-tailed Towhee Videos - Greene County - 12/30/11

Hi All,

Yesterday afternoon I tried again to get some video of the 2nd Georgia record Green-tailed Towhee in Greene County, which Rachel Cass amazingly found during the Lake Oconee CBC on 12/20, congratulations again to Rachel!

When I first saw the bird on the 21st it did not cooperate with me at all for any video capturing, but yesterday I was hopeful and willing to take some time, and arrived at the farm at about 2:30pm.

I first saw the Green-tailed at 3:14pm yesterday and it came in very close and stayed for video, I did have to shoot somewhat into the sun, but the towhee was down low on the ground and mostly under cover.

GPS coordinates: N 33 42.801 W 83 13.793

The video clips are available at the 123011 Green-tailed Towhee folder at:

There is also a clip there of one of the many White-crowned Sparrows which wonderfully pose on the side of the road at the farm as well.

If you need or want the free QuickTime Player from Apple, it's available at:

Two very elderly women showed up while I was videoing and I was able to get them on the bird and get them some scope views as well. They had already missed the towhee in the morning and they were hoping and praying that someone would be there who could help them find the bird. These two good birders were real troopers and I was a little amazed that they were out there after the towhee by themselves! They reminded me, almost girls, of the 85-year old couple I met while birding Harris Neck NWR for the first time back in the spring of 2007, and with whom I was able to share a Black-billed Cuckoo contentedly feeding on caterpillars and which we had to walk away from. The gentleman had started birding on a Pacific island during World War II and they were still out birding over 60 years later! I hope I am in as good a birding shape when I reach that age.

Speaking of which, I started feeling some pain and discomfort at about 3:30pm and eventually thought that I had better get going and took my leave of the two women, shortly after leaving though the pain dramatically increased.

I didn't make it very far up Hwy 15, just barely into Oconee County, when I had to stop and call 911, almost totally incapacitated by the pain. I pulled over, didn't have a cell phone signal, eventually I walked up to a building where cars were and tried the door with no answer. I got back in the car and drove down a side road looking for a cell signal, I finally got a sketchy signal, got 911 on the phone, didn't yet know where I was, but wanted to give them the exact GPS coordinates, which amazingly they didn't know what to do with and didn't accept. I drove down to a stop sign trying to give them the crossroads, with the cell phone cutting out, and waited not knowing if I would be conscious when they arrived or if I would live, and I couldn't even remember which side my appendix was on!

A gentleman with his small child pulled up to the intersection and I was able to stop him explaining the medical emergency and the sketchy cell phone signal. He asked if I had AT&T, which I did, he lived just down the street and he wonderfully helped me with 911 and family phone calls and stayed with me until the 911 folks arrived!

About 10 minutes before the first responders and the ambulance arrived the pain miraculously moderated. Those guys checked me out and I decided to try for home in Lawrenceville and finally made it. Eventually we ended the evening, and very early morning today, at the emergency room at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, finally with a diagnoses and movies of a kidney stone. The ER doctor said that kidney stone pain can bring anyone to their knees and that it was the second most painful thing next to childbirth. I agreed with her, saying that I had been through that once, and that although I didn't remember it very well I was sure that it was most painful.

So, now I have a drinking problem as probably do most of us! This drinking 8 or more full glasses of water and fluids a day is one of the chief ways to help ensure that the risk of kidney stones, and many other ailments, is minimized or averted, so everyone please get into the habit and drink up!

I am so thankful that I was able to post the Green-tailed Towhee videos and didn't, at least for all practical purposes, die on a gravel side road in Oconee County yesterday!

Good Birding All!


Mark McShane Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia

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