|A covey of Gambel's Quail|
After school was out, I went to several places in Tucson and just let my mind unwind. I'm not sure if it's the stress or the heat, but these days, this birder struggles to maintain his sanity. Our neighbor was placed into a jail where he should be left for a long time. But we know he'll be back. I've never seen so many people show up at one of these HOA functions! After it was all done, our community developed an action plan against this dangerous man. It has been both mentally and physically exhausting for all the residents here. But I will not let this all interfere with my passion for the outdoors. And during a moment of quiet solitude at Sweetwater, a covey of 20 Gambel's Quail surrounded me.
They scurried around me feeding underneath the mesquite trees. We all spent a moment together in harmony. At one point, I just put the camera down and took it all in.
|Granite Basin Lake|
|A VERY Green Heron|
The secret to finding a rare Purple Gallinule is part luck and part understanding of its habitat requirements(lily pads near reeds). It sounds simple enough but the bird is also known to be secretive. And rare for Arizona. Oh and purple. During the previous weekend, Magill and Gordon had joked about finding a Purple Gallinule in the area because the lake had all the right requirements. They both had a nerdy birder's laugh that sounded a little like a Sora calling:) Little did we know. Anyhow, back to that moment, Jeanine McCabe gave us the bat signal that the bird was visible. We grabbed our equipment and headed to the area observing this secretive bird using the reeds like a staircase. We were able to watch this bird for a few minutes before a screaming child entered the picture. Of course. Another kid showed up and wanted to demonstrate to us how he could throw rocks in the water. He instead got an education about how it's best to be quiet so you can find purple birds. His Dad didn't seem to mind:)
I met my first Purple Gallinule back in 2011 in the beautiful town of Gamboa. I was having a nice drink with my friend on the Changuinola River during a beautiful monsoon storm. I wasn't a birder at this time in my life but I couldn't help but notice a "purple duck" walking towards us. It tripped me out. Was this bird real? Did I have too much to drink? My friend, however, said the words, "Purple Gallinule". While the Lance-tailed Manakin "sparked" my interest into this epic birding adventure, it was this "purple duck" that helped tip the scale from amateur photographer to amateur birder. Every life bird has a story. And every time I see one of those birds from my life list, I remember that first moment observing them. Here is a video from that special moment. At 1:50, the Purple Gallinule makes an appearance.