Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Patagonia Lake

Our final day was going to be spent at Patagonia Lake and look for a couple of birds that are rare in the United States, but have been found at this lake fairly frequently in the past.  Patagonia Lake is a state park and is located a few miles off State Highway 82 between Patagonia and Nogales.  Our goal was to try and locate a Black-capped Gnatcatcher and possibly a Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet.  (Really do not know how that bird got its name and why.  Someone must have wanted to created a tongue twister name for this little bird that is only 4½ inches in length.)  The east end of the lake is a fantastic birding area and one of the first new birds that we encountered was a Mexican Mallard.  This duck is considered a sub-species of the common Mallard, but it is definitely not as colorful.

As we approached the east end of the lake we discovered a couple of doves and after a closer look, we found out they were Common Ground Doves which are more irregular than some of the other dove species.  They are probably the smallest dove found in the United States.

Shortly after this photo was taken, the whole fun of this entire excursion suddenly went bad for me.  I suddenly got sick and could not continue on with the group and I asked them to continue without me.  As I lingered behind in my misery, a pair of Bridled Titmouse put on a good show for me, maybe they were trying to make me feel better and I managed to capture one photo of one of them right when it had found a late morning snack in the bush in which had been foraging.  One of the cutest little birds.

That ended up being my last photo of the day and the excursion.  Our absolutely wonderful tour guide and coordinator, Claudia, came back to find me and slowly but surely escorted me back to our vehicles.  By the time I got to the parking lot I was severely dehydrated and very pale.  There were no medical facilities at the lake, so another one of our members, Susy, got me loaded into her vehicle and we made a trip to the Emergency Room in Nogales where I spend about 3 hours getting re-hydrated via an IV.  I started coming around and we can only guess that it had a been a severe case of food poisoning and I have ideas what caused it, but it is speculation only. 

The rest of the group did continue on and did find the 2 birds we had gone there to find.  I am so happy that they were able to locate them and add them to their lists and that I did not prevent them from obtaining their goals.  Since I missed out on these 2 birds, I guess I get to go back on my own sometime to find these birds by myself.


  1. Geez Gordon, the birding gods conspired against you! That's terrible tragedy, like Greek-epic style tragedy. Sorry to hear about that.

    Well, I still enjoyed your photos. I've had a really hard time getting Bridled Titmouse photos. You were poisoned and still came away with some keepers. Props! : )

    I don't know where you're stationed, but I'm hoping to get down to Patagonia again soon--maybe we should team up! You can provide the birding know how, geographic knowledge, photographic skill, and recent experience. I can bring snacks and chip in for gas. That's even right???

    1. I am stationed in Mesa, so a trip could be done in one (very long) day. Going to stick closer to home this coming weekend and then take part in the AZFO Migratory Bird Count on May 12th. Will be doing my duties in the 'urban' Superior area; if interested in something like that let me know, they can always use another body. (I love the way they call it 'urban' Superior, hard to call any part of Superoir 'urban'!)

    2. I'll be doing the NAMC too but in the Tempe area where I'm more familiar. I don't have any timeframe in mind, I just need to get down there this summer for a Trogon and Sulphur-Bellied Flycatcher. Everything else would be pure gravy (and there's so so much gravy to be had down there).

    3. The Trogan and the Sulphur-billied Flycatcher are on my list also. Just checked eBird and Madera Canyon might be a place to catch both later this summer. Might be worth a day trip to see if we can find them. I will watch the eBird reports to see if and when either have been reported there this summer.