You may remember this lovely lilypad-trotting violaceous gem of a big-footed, candy-corn billed swamp beast known as a Purple Gallinule. The one above graced a pond in Columbia Reservation, Lorain County, Ohio, for much of the month of May and became quite the celeb.
Linda Paull, the park manager, was every bit as much a jewel as the bird was, and welcomed birders with open arms. The birding community owes a debt of gratitude to Ms. Paull; would it only be that every rarity had such a gracious host!
Linda sent me a nice summary of the Columbia gallinule, and I copy it below:
From: Linda Paull
Sent: Fri 6/25/2010 12:53 PM
Subject: purple gallinule
sorry it took so long for me to get back to you and say thanks for
coming out to visit Columbia Reservation and all the nice words about
the park, and posting all the good news for others. It certainly is
great to hear how people enjoy and appreciate it. I have been a
birdwatcher for a long time and was glad to have this experience to
watch how excited people were to see the beauty.
Of course it is hard to estimate the visitation our little friend
brought us, but it was well over 2300 people. This estimate was done by the road counter and sign ins on the high class registration chair. Also taken into account was the weather and observations of how many people were on the trail.
Funny thing, I was in the process of trying to get someone here to band
it; then it disappeared. So we will never know if it made it back south. The last sighting was May 23. I was hoping for June 1 so the birders would return for their
We had cars from Pa, Wv, Mi, Ny, and Ind here just to see the bird!(some were not on their way to Magee). There was also people here from New Jersey and Oregon but they were visiting in the area.
Everyone enjoyed watching it and were amazed at how it hunted frogs and
it actually was hunted itself by a mink. Some people came back daily to
watch, others stayed all day. It was a big event. I enjoyed meeting
many of the birders whom names I had only read. The gallinule finally
found the other side of the trail which made it more difficult to spot
amongst the growing vegetation.
Many great pictures were taken and that inspired a photo show of the
gallinule at Sandy Ridge Reservation which will be held in August.
I did go to Magee in the few days after the bird was spotted here and
recognized many visitors there and they dubbed me as "dont I know
you?...Oh you are the gallinule girl".
Hopefully another bird will put us on the map again in the future.
Park Manager/Sr. Naturalist
Lorain County Metro Parks