Peter Witt, a resident of The Langford in College Station, had no idea that a simple trip to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas would land him on the national news. Witt, an avid birdwatcher, went to the park hoping to catch a glimpse of the bat falcon which had reportedly arrived at the refuge in November. The bird is an extremely rare bird to see and certainly to photograph. Witt did both, but not without a great deal of work. Witt was joined by his wife, Joyce, and another birder on a two and a half mile hike to Cattail Lakes to position themselves where they would eventually get within 20 yards of the bird as he sat on a tree snag.
While others had seen and photographed the bird while at the refuge, it was Witt’s pictures that were shared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that got national media attention. The post from the group shared the photos along with this statement, “Everyone that can catch a glimpse is looking at this bat falcon right now. This is the first recorded time that a bat falcon has ever been seen in the U.S.! This one is hanging around South Texas.” Since the posting, Witt has conducted multiple interviews with media groups hoping to hear more about this once in a lifetime experience.
Witt has laughed while referring to this experience as his own little “15 minutes of fame.” But this isn’t the first time his birding adventures have resulted in rare sightings. Witt explained, “We got to see some birds in Antarctica that we thought we’d never see in our lifetime, kind of localized birds, but this was such a big deal.”