Not even sure where to begin, as the year 2020 has become probably the most Chaotic Year in my lifetime. First couple of months of the year were pretty much normal and I was anticipating new and exciting international adventures. When March rolled around, things changed quickly. Covid-19 was a new coronavirus that affected all of our lives, and in many different aspects. Just as tighter security and restrictions affected all of us in 2001 due to the World Trade Center incident, Covid-19, has changed our daily lives by learning to assist in stopping the spread of this deadly virus. Most of us have now started wearing face masks, gloves, (when appropriate), hand sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes. Finally, about six months later, we are seeing hope that a vaccine might be on the horizon. Unfortunately, even when a proven effective one is approved for distribution, it is going to be a very long process for people to get vaccinated. So it is not going to be a quick solution that will make this virus disappear.
The need for social distancing, and taking proactive measures, has greatly changed the world of birding. The birding guides in the tropics have been especially hit hard as it stopped all of the birders throughout the world from visiting those countries and left many people without jobs and income.
For me, all birding with friends and guiding came to an abrupt halt and I decided to stay home for much of the time to avoid the possibly of being exposed. Then at the end of April, Chuck, became ill and ended up in the hospital for a total of 10 days and then another 2½ weeks in a rehab center. Once he was released, I became an at-home care giver and it has curtailed a lot of my birding adventures. He is making improvement and I can now leave for a day or two and he can care for himself. Since my quarantining at home, I have had few opportunities to get out and go birding alone. With all the great rarities showing up in Arizona, I had to stay home and miss out on most of them. However, I finally broke down and chased a rarity in southeast Arizona; the Eared Quetzal.
It is bird that I have often pondered when looking through bird field guide books and longed to see, but figured it was rare enough that it might not show up in Arizona in my lifetime. It is a bird from the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico and there have been a handful of reports of this bird in Arizona in the past but they are not frequent. A pair has been reported in the Chiricuahua Mountains in southeast Arizona this year and many people were getting good views of them. So I decided to take on a one day trip to try for them even though it was a 4 hour drive to the location from home and another 4 hours back. I went with the option of maybe spending a night somewhere in case I missed them the first day. Luckily, I did not have to do that and I made the trip there and back in one day. There were many other birders also searching for it and all of them were showing constraint and not chasing or stressing out the paid that was there. My photos were a little soft since I got to see them at a distance, but the welfare of the birds is more important than perfect photos.
|Rufous Hummingbird - male, with light reflecting at a different angle.
|American Dipper - One of my favorite birds and I enjoy seeing them.
|Band-tailed Pigeon - This is the best photo I have ever got of this species.
|Lazuli Buntings - What's not to love?
|Western Bluebird - Juvenile, recently fledged.
|Another Western Bluebird - Juvenile and recently fledged.
|Green-tailed Towhee - recently fledged juvenile. Had never seen a juvenile before.
|Clark's Nutcracker - Not a super common bird in Arizona.
|Arroyo Bluet - This was a new new for me.
|Mexican Forktail - Another new one for me.
|Spotted Spreadwing - Another new one for me.
|Arizona Sister - Did not notice the little fly until I added this photo to this bog post.
|Western Pygmy-Blue - Often mentioned as the smallest butterfly in the world.
|Greater Short-horned Lizard - Just a baby and the next photo will give some perspective of its size.