Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blood and Stone

I hear you Mr. Trogon. You are calling for a mate.  My ears guide me towards your voice.  Slowly I tackle the rocky hillside along the rambling creek.  There I stand behind a tree so that you won't notice me. But you probably already do:)  For minutes, I scan the trees for your voice.  

Elegant Trogon
Eventually I find you and marvel at your beauty.  I know there is another who is also calling to her.  She is in the canyon and both of you are vying for her affections. I secretly wish you luck. 

As we say our good-byes, I step off a ledge and fall into the creek. Damnit! "Don't look back!  Go get her!" The bird leaves me behind as I lie on my side.  My padded rear takes the brunt of the impact as does my left arm.  Scrapes.  Blood.  Stone.  It was worth it. 

Tree Creeper
Once the dust settles, I realize my phone flew into the stream! Quickly I grab the half submerged device and proceed to dry it off.  Oh oh.  I pick myself up and wander the trail some more. 

It doesn't take long before I am surrounded by new friends. We stand together and I think about how perfect the moment is.  I'm alone, safe and in tune with the world around me. Together we walk the dirt path without a care in the world. Isn't this the way life should be?

Hummingbirds zip around my head.  All around me, birds are nesting and singing.  I think about my last week of work before summer break begins.  I think about my friend Melissa who isn't with us anymore.  I think about what will come. And what may be.  Excited. Nervous.  Perhaps stressed. A wedding will do this to a person. But my mind wanders and I forget about what was stressing me in the first place. Like the hummingbird, my thoughts quickly move onto other forest matters.

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
I move inches forward.  There I spy Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers.  It was only three years ago I found them in that exact same spot.  Were these the children or the same adults I glanced upon not so long ago?  I remember being such a novice then.  In many ways, I still am.  But now I know these local characters.  By heart. By song.  By habit.  By love.  For it's what changed me. 

As my crazy work schedule comes to an end, I can sit down and organize this summer better.  I have several conferences to attend, a trip to Colorado, a camping trip into the Chiricahuas, and our Mexican trek.  

A blurry Flame-colored male Tanager
 The mission on this day had been to find the nesting and rare-to-the-US Flame-colored Tanagers.  This bird wasn't a life bird but it was a new bird for the US list.  And honestly, I just wanted to see them.  I have yet to get a better photo of these birds, but I know I'll see them again in the future. The Flame-colored Tanager, formerly known as the Stripe-back Tanager, is a medium size songbird. Formerly placed in the Tanager family, it and other members of its genus are now classified in the cardinal this Pyrrhuloxia(pronounced Pear-oh-luck-zee-ah) below. 

Pyrrhuloxia-taken at my school this week
  And so my stories shall continue.  We have reached the 1/3 mark of the year.  As we close off this chapter of the "Americano" travels, I take a look back with a video clip below. This video was filmed in Wisconsin and Arizona from the United States while another part was taken in Sonora, Mexico.


Being out in the wild, makes me feel alive.  The stresses of work, my crazy neighborhood, and life all seem to wash away.  On this day, I am only able to spend 5 hours outdoors.  But it's the best 5 hours of therapy a person can have. PS. If your cell phone gets wet, turn it off and stick it in a ziploc bag full of dry rice.  It really works!  Until next time!


  1. Yes there is something about being outside that inside you can never have. I agree with you. One with nature, peace. Loved this pst and that was a great video you made. Love to see what you getup to.

  2. Yes it feels like "the way life should be" ! For sure.

  3. Your picture of the flycatcher is unique!

  4. Hi Kreesh, that was a lovely post and lovely birds. I was smiling till the end. Now i am thinking of my just published post and thought of you, you should see our El Nido Islands. Then i think, are there birds there? Of course there are, at the least there are the swallows that make the birds' nest soup! Come try to look.

  5. Chris, what an adventure you had! I am glad the rice trick worked! Seeing you there makes me wish I was there! I hope all your plans go well. Try not to stress and just enjoy the ride! Miss you! Love the pics!

  6. Hi Chris, I've just spent a lovely time catching up on all your news.. What a very exciting year you are having.. and a wedding, how fantastic.. whatever you do don't let it stress you, keep it simple and ENJOY! Hope we get to see some pics, please :)

  7. Chris, what a special 5 hours. It's not the same as being there, but reading your post, looking at the photos and enjoying the video is a joy.

  8. A beautiful post, Chris. I enjoyed you video - what is the music, please?

    I hope that you are recovered from your adventure in the stream. Thanks for the tip about the wet phone.

    Hang in there with the work. It's not long till the break - and don't get too stressed about the wedding !!

    My very best wishes - - - Richard

  9. Chris, Great photos as always! SW Arizona needs to move up my travel list!

  10. A really lovely post Chris and wonderful to share your walk. You can't beat being at one with nature to get rid of the stresses and strains of everyday life and recharge the batteries :)

  11. Вражає наскільки близько тварини підпускають до себе фотографа))) ви, мабуть, з ними потоваришували)))

    xoxo, Juliana | PJ’ Happies :)

  12. The deer are gorgeous! Walking in the forest / nature is the cheepest teraphy you can get. :-)

  13. Awesome adventure, Chris! Love that writing style!! I show Pilchard the bird pics and he's as jealous as hell :D

  14. Hi Chris, it is wonderful to become one with nature. I love the pretty deer and the beautiful birds. I must find a way to do some birding in Arizona some day. I am glad your phone is ok! Happy Birding!


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