[Tweeters] Back from Arizona

B B birder4184 at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 13 22:01:37 PDT 2017


Frank Caruso returned Thursday night from the WINGS Second Spring SE Arizona trip.  Although very hot a few days, it was actually hotter in Seattle some of the time we were gone and definitely wetter in SE Arizona.
I had birded the area extensively in the winter and summer 40 years ago and had not been back since.  I was amazed at how green it was - lush.  Although the numbers of individuals was pretty low and many birds were not singing, we had some excellent birds.  I had seen most of the specialty birds on earlier trips, so the focus this time was getting photos of as many new birds as I could and also adding some life birds if possible - plus just enjoying "old friends".
All told the tour turned out over 180 species.  We missed some of the rarities (could not even try for Flame Colored Tanager) and a Yellow Green Vireo was reported the day after we visited the spot where it was seen.  Also no White Eared or Plain Capped Starthroat Hummingbirds were around.  And same for Sinaloa Wren.  But there were excellent birds. 
Highlights included:  Lucifer, Purple Crowned, Rivoli's (Magnificent) and Blue Throated Hummingbirds, Mexican Chickadee, Tufted Flycatcher, Rufous Capped Warbler (and 11 other warbler species), Black Capped and Black Tailed Gnatcatchers, Elegant Trogon, Montezuma Quail, Mississippi Kite, Whiskered Screech and Elf Owls (no Spotted), Mexican Whippoorwill, Thick Billed Kingbird, Crissal and Bendire's Thrashers,  Five Striped, Black Throated, Cassin's, Rufous Crowned, Rufous Winged and Botteri's Sparrows, and Bronzed Cowbird (1 only).
My camera stopped working after day two and I was saved by a loan from one of the other tour members (a good group).  Some of the roughest roads I have been on (in a less than comfortable van) but at least we did not get stuck in some of the flooded washes.  We saw a suburban stuck in one and heard horror stories of other mishaps.  I think Frank and I each added a half dozen ABA life birds and despite the camera mishap and it really not being a photo friendly tour, I added more than 50 new ABA photos and hit my goal (arbitrary?) of now more than 600 ABA species photographed.
We stayed three nights at the Casa de San Pedro in Hereford, AZ - a wonderful place (B and B) with great food and great people.  I can highly recommend it and hope to return.  I do not plan to wait another 40 years before returning to SE Arizona again - but next time it will not be in the heat of August nor on a tour with everyone packed into a bouncy van on those roads.
Blair Bernson
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