Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Catching Up!!!

Recently, I have been very lax in posting to my blog site and with a recent big change in my employment status, it is high time to try a catch up a bit on some posts that have been neglected for far too long.  In theory, I should now have more time to to accomplish some of these tasks, but I have been told by many other retirees that all that free time that one envisions coming with retirement, is quickly filled up with many other functions.

Without further ado, I will attempt to catch up of some past experiences that have been woefully neglected.  The first is centered around a visit from Josh Wallestad and his son, Evan, from Minnesota in October.  Good birding friend, Tommy DeBardeleben, and I headed south and picked up Josh and Evan in Green Valley, Arizona.  We headed to Hunter Canyon where the target birds were the Rufous-capped Warbler and a Slate-throated Redstart.  The redstart had not been seen for the past few days and of course we dipped on it, but we did manage to find the Rufous-capped Warbler.  This bird was not very cooperative and knowing it was a life bird for Josh and Evan, I tried to stay back and let them enjoy this bird as much as possible.  This is my feeble attempt at a photo.

Rufous-capped Warbler

Just before Tommy spotted this warbler, he also had a Scott's Oriole and a Northern Pygmy Owl, both of which were new life birds for both Josh and Evan.  It was a moment of overload for the two of them to have that many new species in a matter of a couple of minutes.  

Northern Pygmy-Owl

From here we made a brief stop at Ash Canyon B & B, hoping for a lingering Lucifer Hummingbird, and we did succeed.  Unfortunately, it was not one of the brilliant males, but the long curved beak makes it easy to identify.

Lucifer Hummingbird

Acorn Woodpeckers and Mexican Jays were quite gregarious and hard to miss while we were there for this short visit.

Acorn Woodpecker

Mexican Jay

After staying for just a short time, we then ventured on to Miller Canyon with the hope for them being open and not closed for the season.  We got extremely lucky as Tom Jr, was around and he was more than happy to take us up the trail to look for the infamous Spotted Owl; a specialty for this location.  Just before we reached the area where the owls had been hanging out, Tom found an Alligator Madrean Lizard in the pathway and pointed it out to us.  This was really cool as I had never seen one before. This is a very handsome reptile!

Madrean Alligator Lizard

Tom then got us on one of the juvenile Spotted Owls from this year's hatch.  It was totally unimpressed with us humans as it sat on its branch sleeping and occasionally opening a eye to check out one of Tom dogs that had come along with us.  

 'Mexican' Spotted Owl

With 2 lifer owl species for Josh and Evan, and a couple more species, we have to consider that this was a successful one day trip.  It is always a lot of fun to help birders acquire new life birds.  Someday in the very near future, I believe Josh is going to be guiding us in Minnesota for some great new birds.  


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