Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update and return from blogging hiatus

To all of my faithful followers, SORRY!!! I haven't posted in over a month.  Each time I went to do a post, I would get distracted by something. It's been an insane summer. 
I won't go into all the details just yet (save those for a dreary winter day :D ) but I will fill in on some of the stuff that has happened. 

As usual, for most of the summer, I've been chasing rare birds around southeast Arizona. Some of the birds that have turned up since my last post have been: Plain-capped Starthroat (as pictured on my blog header), Aztec Thrush, Brown-backed Solitaire (a potential first ABA record), a Green Kingfisher at San Pedro (which has repeatedly refused to appear for me), 2 Black-bellied Plovers at Wilcox (Found by me), another Aztec Thrush in the Chiricahuas (again, found by me) and several other awesome birds. 
A Wood Stork has been hanging around in Phoenix over the past week (I'm not chasing it) and a Blue-footed Booby turned up on a lake just east of Albuquerque, NM (might chase it). 

Other than that, it's been absolutely crazy.  I've been kept pretty busy. 

Oh! I wanted to tell you the most fun part of the whole summer! I got to help out with Camp Chiricahua! 
Some of you might remember me mentioning this last year when I attended Camp C. 
This year, I actually got to hang out with the group.  
It was a younger group of kids this year, but a very awesome and highly interested group. 
You could show them a bird 3 or 4 times and they would still look at it. You could show them plants, and they would look (Dave was very happy about this). 
Anyway, it was one of the most awesome groups I've ever hung out with. This year, instead of the usual one person not interested, it was the opposite. Everyone was interested and everyone was a good birder! Not like some groups you get where one person isn't a birder at all (Dave was pretty happy about this too. :D ) 
This year's camp counselor (Rebekah Rylander from Austin, TX) was awesome and did her job well (keeping the kids out of trouble.... lol ). Definitely a good person for the job and more creative than most. She gets high marks from me. ;) 

Camp C this year was highly successful (we even got to camp at Rustler Park this year. Got rained out last year.) The high point of the camp for almost all of the kids (I, unfortunately couldn't join them that day) was the finding and documenting of the ABA's potential first record of a Brown-backed Solitaire.  I heard from them a couple hours later and then drove over to join them that evening. They were ecstatic (It was the first time any Camp Chiricahua group had found a first ABA area record). Dave seemed to be almost more ecstatic than they were! :D 
As you can imagine, I wasn't very happy. ;)  But I did take them to Patagonia to see the Sinaloa Wren and then on to Florida Canyon to see the Black-capped Gnatcatchers. 

After dropping them off in Tucson, I headed back to Sierra Vista the next morning and headed up Ramsey Canyon. Fortunately for me, my luck held and I did not even have to wait. The bird sang as I walked up the canyon. 5 minutes later, I was looking at the ABA's first potential record (well, first to potentially be accepted anyway) Brown-backed Solitaire. 
Fortunately for everyone, the bird stuck around for a few weeks which gave me time to go back and photograph it. 

Unfortunately for the campers, an Aztec Thrush was found in Ramsey Canyon a few weeks later. I had the good fortune to be able to go see and photograph that bird as well. 

A couple weeks later, a Plain-capped Starthroat showed up in Patagonia at the Spirit Tree Inn. 
I had just happened to be in Sierra Vista when the bird was reported so I was able to be there the next morning. Again, my stroke of good luck held. The bird came in every 30 minutes (hence the photo on my blog header)  Unfortunately for others, that was the only day it did. 

Other than that, it's been rather quiet recently. 

Onward to upcoming news! 
I am driving to Tucson tomorrow, getting some stuff checked out on my car, and then I am driving to Monterey, California on Friday!! 
I'll be doing it in stages. I'll drive to L.A., spend some time puttering around there, then drive north along the coast to Monterey where I will be catching the Aug 31st Pelagic trip with Debi Shearwater!! You can tell I'm excited. :D 
It will be my first Pelagic trip ever so I'm expecting lots of lifers.  I'm buying another CF card so that I can take lots of pictures.  I'll need it. I expect that the first 200 or so photos will be blurry. I'll need a few hours of practice to get sharp photos from a moving boat. 

Anyway, I'll give a full report about that when I get a chance.  

I will be back in Arizona on the 4th of Sept. I'm picking up Dave Jasper from the Airport on the 5th and will be back in Portal that night. I will be in Portal on the 6th (packing mostly) and then starting the long drive home on the 7th.  I will be home by the 15th. Just in time to leave for Duluth on the 16th.  I'll be home for good by the 21st. 

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post. I felt bad, so, same as the last post, here's my Flickr url:

Happy Birding!! 


Dawn Fine said...

I have been following you on facebook.
What a wonderful birding summer you have had! Excellent birds!
Did you ever go see the Booby in NM?

Chris W said...

Not yet. Might not have to. If I do, twill be on my way to Baton Rouge. :D

Amila Salgado said...

How cool of you to find a Brown-backed Solitaire! I hope it will be accepted by the 'authorities'