While there, I found 130 different species. Some I had already seen, but most were all new.
Take for example, the Dusky-capped Flycatcher(above). It's call makes this bird easy to identify. It has a "meeee-ooooo" sound that stands out in the crowd. It was fun seeing birds we have in Arizona down in Guatemala. Each bird species found was worth one imaginary birder point. If you are going to bird a place, you challenge yourself to find as many bird species as you can.
Something as common as American Coots were hard to find. Only at the end of our journey, did we encounter them in very small areas around Lake Atitlan. I was actually excited to find these birds. Something so common back home was special here. And it made me look at them differently when I returned back to Tucson. I appreciate them even more.......if that's even possible.
BUT! I had been hearing birds that I did not recognize. For this particular stay, I studied my birds well because there were some strange ones found here. Take for example the Provost's Ground Sparrow. I was coming back from dinner and caught the bird near our terrace. The bird quickly vanished. By this point in my trip, I was exhausted. I knew this bird from my studies and pulled out my cell phone to play the call. When I did........Mr. Provosts came out to visit with me.
But the hardest trial for me was the last bird. I heard the call and instinctively knew I couldn't let this one get away. And I pished! AND PISHED! My friend continued on her walk while I chased this warbler through the trees.
There was an intense urgency with me that I didn't understand. But something inside my head made me instinctively recall this sound.
I made contact with the bird and then realized why this one was special. It was a real treasure for it was the one and only Rufous-capped Warbler. A bird found south of Tucson in the Santa Rita mountains. However to get to them, one must make a tricky hike up a waterfall full of grasses and cactus. These warblers follow the stream up and down the canyon. My friend Kathie almost fell off the rocks, but thankfully I blocked much of her fall. She still got some nasty bruises though! I've searched for this bird 3 times on that dangerous trail, memorized it's call, filled my water pack for the hot trek and have plenty of stories to go with those adventures. I remember once an old woman sitting on a stone moving her feet back and forth like a little kid. She asked us, "Did you find the warbler?"
"No.", we replied.
"I won't go up that rock. It's too dangerous."
She reminded me that time is indeed ticking. I won't always be able to do these treks. So this warbler is for all those people who can't see them on their own. After all, an adventure is best shared, isn't it? Below is a video I took to show you the kinds of habitats we explore to find those birds. Life is truly wondrous.
The adventure continues.....
Check out Wild Bird Wednesday for other worldly discoveries!