Jacob Cooper and I drove up to his house in CO for a relaxing 3 days. I drove up to Jacob Lake (west of Marble Canyon) and met him there. While I was there, we managed to do Sunset and then sunrise at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. That was pretty awesome! We hopped in his truck and headed north. Our first stop was Zion National Park where we picked up California Condor!
Then we drove up to Grand Juntion, arriving late at night. The next day, we slept in late, Jacob's mom made a full breakfast for us and we hung around the house most of the day which his mom did laundry, Jacob got some stuff done, ect. That night, we went to see the new Transformers movie. The next day, we did pretty much the same thing except go to look for Gunnison Sage-grouse. We failed, but I did find my first Brewer's Sparrow in a loooong time. It was a good year bird. On our drive back home, we stopped in Ouray, CO where we picked up Cassin's Finch, Black Swift and Western Grebe. I also got my year Barrow's Goldeneye.
We arrived back at the Grand Canyon where I spent the night. Then I drove back home the next morning.
When I hit Tucson, I picked up my friend Andy Johnson from the airport and we drove to Willcox, AZ and twitched the Pacific Golden-plover that was being seen there.
Andy and I then spent Sun, Mon and Tues birding around the Chiricahuas. He picked up all the lifers that he had missed last year including the high elevation birds like Olive Warbler and Short-tailed Hawk. We also saw the now resident Flame-colored Tanagers and a nesting pair of Berylline Hummingbirds.
On Wed, Andy and I took off for the Huachucas. We arrived mid morning and started at Ramsey Canyon. Not much there. A quick jaunt into Miller Canyon produced the usual hummingbirds at Beatty's. White-eared, Berylline, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, Mag, ect
Mary Jo's in Ash Canyon had both male and female Lucifer Hummingbirds.
Thurs, we hit San Pedro in the morning for Tropical Kingbird and then ran to Patagonia where we had excellent views of the Sinaloa Wren!
Paton's feeders had the usual Violet-crowned Hummingbird and Thick-billed Kingbird.
On Fri morning, we birded Patagonia Preserve and added Beardless Tyrannulet to the list. Fri afternoon provided a fruitless search for Rufous-capped Warblers in Florida Canyon but we did find the lone Five-striped Sparrow that has been hanging out by the Sycamore tree there.
Fri night, we planned on camping at Catalina state park. When we arrived in Tucson, the rain was coming down so hard, that you couldn't see the road in front of the car. Water was pooling on the road and people were hydroplaning everywhere. We drove into the state park, but when we came to the first wash, I took one look at the amount of rain coming down and quickly nixed the idea. We ended up camping in a hotel parking lot.
Sat morning, we went back to the state park. The wash was covered with about a foot of sand. If we had camped in there the night before, we would have been stuck for a few hours.
Having nothing to do at the park, we drove down to Sweetwater Wetlands where we talked to some people, saw a few water birds and then saw a family of Burrowing Owls:
Then I dropped Andy at the airport and drove home to Portal. It was an amazing two weeks!
Since then, I've been birding around the Chiricahuas, looking for new work and waiting until tomorrow.
Tomorrow, VENT's Camp Chiricahua will be in town for the week! Camp Chiricahua is an ecology camp for high school aged kids. Although, the primary focus of the campers is birds, they do many other things too. It's an amazing camp and one I highly recommend.
The leaders are Dave Jasper and Rob Day. Rob is an excellent cook and Dave is the most amazing trip leader ever! I could swear that he knows by name every living thing that resides in the Chiricahua mountains. If you have a chance to go to this camp, do it! it's worth it!
Til next time, Happy Birding!