|The Tufted Angels come together and discover new territory and birds!|
We began our journey at the top of Carr Canyon which is located in the Huachuca Mountains. There we began our descent through rock, forest and mountain stream.
As we made our way down, we faced rocky slopes and several steep climbs. At one point, Magill took a spill and landed on her knee.
Along the way, we had absolutely beautiful vistas of both the canyons. There were several places where cliff and trail met up.
At several places, we encountered poison ivy. There wasn't any avoiding the plant as it spilled from both sides onto the trail. When I got home, I took a shower!
As we got closer to the area where the Tufted Flycatcher was seen, we encountered the running mountain stream. On several occasions, we had to figure out how we'd cross without getting the shoes wet. Wet shoes on a slope can be a bad thing.
Gordon weighs in on the rickety looking bridge. It is decided we'd chance it on the rocks instead:) As we approached our coordinates, we found our secret society of birders all standing in the "spot".
It was a beautiful moment. I love it when a special bird makes its way into a sacred part of the world that not many people see. We all stood and patiently waited for the bird to fly near its "possible" nesting location. I saw one bird. But from other photographers and reliable sources, I saw pictures of a nest and a different looking TUFL. So......
As the bird flew in, the crowd became extremely happy. Several photographers snapped off lots and lots of camera shots. I was one of them:) Well I tried! The bird reminded me of a Tyrannulet in the way it flew. It perched like a Pewee. Physically, it was buffy like a Buff-breasted Flycatcher but with the tuft of a Juniper Titmouse!
This is only the 8th recorded sighting of the bird in the US. As mentioned previously, two birds and a nest were reported. If this is the case, it would be the first time that this Mexican species has ever nested in Arizona. And that is a big deal.
My pic of this bird is terrible, but like the Flame-colored Tanager, I know I'll have more opportunities to see this bird again when I'm in its expected habitat. For now, I just thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the hike, being with friends and finding the bird. For many birders, it will be a story shared with people for many years to come.
After about an hour with the Tufted Flycatcher, we continued on down to Ramsey Canyon so that the crew could get their Flame-colored Tanager for the year. Again, the birds weren't too cooperative, but they did show.
Our team member, Tommy D, took one for the team by heading back up to Carr Canyon so that he could bring Gordon's vehicle back down to Ramsey. The group members were thankful. Several birders hiked back with him and I know it made the time pass by quickly.
Birding in Arizona is epic. We have been enjoying wonderful weather here. During several parts of our hike, we were actually cold! Cold in May is something of a gift to us. If anyone decides to chase this bird, remember to bring enough water for the trek. Several of us brought our camelpacks. I'm glad I did! I drank the whole thing!
The day wouldn't have been the day without the group. It's always special when we all can set aside a day together and go find an amazing bird. We can be intense. But we also laugh a lot. As we finished our day at a Mexican restaurant, I saw a real bond. One that is caring and one of mutual respect. I was so grateful to share that moment together. What a way to start the summer vacation! Until next time everyone.....
PS. And for the poor photos of birds this week, I give you a random Wood Duck I found in one of our local parks this week. This is a drake(or male) and it made my evening.