NOTE: The Limpkin was reported present on November 1. There hasn’t been any negative reports as of November 5.
Birder Iris Kilpatrick located a rare Limpkin while birding at Duck River Unit Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, in Humphreys County, Tennessee. Limpkins are large brown with white spots, that look similar to a large rail.
Limpkins are tropical wetland birds who can often through most of the state of Florida. They can also be found along the coast from Texas to South Carolina. This appears to be the fifth state record for a Limpkin in Tennessee.
To see the bird, follow Refuge Road into the refuge, and turn left at the first intersection. Follow the road until you get to a gate. The bird is approximately 100 feet the gate. The bird has been feeding on the mudflats on the right. Refuge management requests people not park along the road near the gate, and instead drive about 100 feet past the gate and park at the boat ramp.
The Limpkin was quickly reported on social media, including Tennessee Rare Bird Alert Facebook group. This afforded several birders the opportunity to go see the bird within hours of its initial discovery. Several birders have submitted eBird reports for the bird, many of which contain photos.
If you observe a infrequent or rare bird in Tennessee, please use your phone to report its presence to the Tennessee Rare Bird Alert Facebook group. When reporting a bird, please include the county where the bird is located. Please provide the best possible description on where you saw the bird. Please include the address and GPS coordinates, if possible.
Photos are not required to post a photo of the bird. You can include a mobile phone photo of the LED screen of your camera if necessary. The goal of the group is to share the presence as quickly as possible, so don’t worry about photo quality. You can always post a report and add a photo later to supplement the report.
Photo Credit: Jeffrey S. Schaarschmidt