Ohio's own Rick Nirschl, along with Rick Snider, found the most exciting bird in the U.S. right now - a Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Tigrisoma mexicanum. Rick & Rick found the bird yesterday, in the legendary Bentsen State Park in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, a locale in which many a tropical rarity has been found.
Here's an immature Bare-throated Tiger-Heron that I took in Costa Rica earlier this year. They are very cool birds, and it's hard to imagine what a thrill stumbling into one in Texas, north of the border, must have been.
Not only are they striped in a manner somewhat reminiscent of a tiger, they make sounds that might make one think a tiger was on the prowl. They'll sit in trees, and deliver spooky-sounding low guttural roars that would certainly give pause to someone that didn't know what they were hearing.
Major congratulations are in order to Rick and Rick. Mr. Nirschl, who is past president of the Toledo Naturalists' Association and makes his home in Toledo when not in south Texas, is one of the finest field naturalists that I've met. This is the guy who found Ohio's first state record of Striped Saddlebags, Tramia calverti (dragonfly), among many other wonderful discoveries. This tiger-heron will be hard to top though, even for Rick!