Black Rail has been a nemesis for me since about 1999 when I didn't know what I was doing and saw one very tiny black bird scuttle from one marsh patch to another near Galveston's East Beach. Hindsight is haunting.
Matt and I have put up a poll in our sidebar for those of you wishing to guess at our next shared life bird - this exposes some of the odd gaps in our lists and makes us laugh at our own peculiar fortunes. We narrowed the species selected to migrants. We both need Gray Jay, for example, but won't likely get it until we go to their habitat. Likewise, Kirtland's Warbler would be a shared life bird but the odds of seeing it in migration are laughable. (Our current shared life bird list is here.)
As boring as a few nemesis critters are, we console ourselves with the first observation of a singing male Western Spindalis for North America. And veg carry. And a female nearby. With a nest. And another female in the vicinity. With birding karma like that, it's no wonder we dipped on so much other stuff last year!
But when you consider that I grew up in Houston and Yellow Warbler (supposedly the most abundant warbler in the US) was one of my last warblers... well, things are strange. Yellow Rail before Sora! Attwater's Prairie Chicken before Scaled Quail, Montezuma Quail before California Quail.
And Matt will gently mention Bluethroat in the lower 48 before Sprague's Pipit. Also Red-throated Pipit before Sprague's. Hmmm.
Of note, our last visit to Salineno coincided with the visit of a middle-aged Winter Texan who had just seen her life American Kestrel. That made me wonder...
Regardless, fling some guesses at us. Heck, fling your own nemesis or next-life-bird guesses at us. Don't be embarrassed, we feel a bit exposed as well.