It's hard to find birds. One can drive for hours and not see anything. Sometimes it's better not to concentrate on finding a bird and just let them appear unexpectedly while looking at the landscape.
I went for a drive around Lake Gervais, north of St. Paul, MN. I was looking at a little peninsula jutting out into the lake and decided the composition was nice and that it would make a good long exposure photo. I had five minutes to wait for the exposure to finish, so I looked around the lake and noticed a bird that looked like a grebe- strange. I thought, "It's a red-necked grebe".
After the long exposure was complete, I got my telephoto lens and tripod. I took photos of the grebe, went back to the car and used I Bird to look up grebes. The bird that I saw was a horned grebe in non-breeding plumage- not a common bird near St. Paul, and the first one I had seen in winter plumage. Beautiful - and I wasn't even looking for it.