Pip got a lifer today—a completely unexpected treat of a Tufted Duck. Kim Eckert spotted the adult female in Canal Park hanging out with the Common Goldeneyes near the lift bridge, and John Richardson verified it. I was late for an appointment and had to rush, but grabbed Pip so she could add it to her lifelist.
I've seen an adult male Tufted Duck at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California at the end of my Big Year in 2013, and I saw several of them in Austria and Hungary during my one and only trip to Europe in 2014. But today's was my first ever for Minnesota (I'm not counting the one that appeared somewhere around the Twin Cities quite a few years ago. I saw it, but the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union Records Committee decided it was not countable), and today's bird was an actual lifer for Pip.
For a while, birders will be debating whether the bird got here on her own power and whether she was truly wild or an escaped captive bird—the final decision by MOURC will make a difference for my own state and year lists. But Pip's not all that fussy about her lists—she is a dog, after all.