"...the ornithologists still had serious doubts. Sutton finally put it directly: 'Mr. Spencer, you're sure the bird you're telling us about isn't the big pileated woodpecker?'

"Spencer exploded. 'Man alive! These birds I'm tellin' you all about is kints!' he shouted in their faces. 'Why, the pileated woodpecker's just a little bird about as big as that.' He held his fingers a few inches apart. 'A kint's as big as that!' he said, holding his arms wide... 'Why, man, I've known kints all my life. My pappy showed 'em to me when I was just a kid. I see 'em every fall when I go deer huntin' down aroun' my place on the Tinsaw. They're big birds, I tell you, big and black and white; and they fly through the woods like pintail ducks!'

"After Spencer's outburst, the members of the team were all believers -- not just because of his vehemence, but because his description was so accurate. Ivory-bills do not have the typical bounding flight of the pileated woodpecker. They generally fly away high and straight, with stiff flight feathers, looking very much like a pintail, and their call is a distinctive nasal kent, kent, kent -- very similar to the local name Spencer used, kint. Sutton and the others couldn't wait to get to the bayou and start searching.

"As it turned out, that was not an easy proposition..." --Gallagher, Tim. The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, pp. 10-11: "Of People and Peckerwoods."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Update to the Project Coyote Site

Mark has posted an update regarding the latest efforts of the Project Coyote team in Louisiana, which have yielded some very encouraging results.  You can read Mark's trip report and view photos at the Project Coyote site.

The trial run of the Kuhn was a success (I did not capsize).  However, time and money constraints, and some really poor weather, have kept me out of the field for a while now.  I hope to remedy that soon, and look forward to several trip reports from the Pascagoula River basin in March.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Kuhn

My 10' fishing kayak arrived a couple of weeks ago.

I had initially christened the kayak IBWO-2, but after some reflection, decided to name it after one of my heroes of the Ivorybill story, the wood-wise J.J. Kuhn.

I hope to take it out for a trial run at my brother's lake soon.  He will join me, having gotten a sand-colored version of the same craft.

I am excited and nervous.  Soon, hopefully, we will cross the water barrier to Big Swamp, and see a land that few others have seen.