I love the cold. And I especially love birding in it! Well, let me define "cold". It's anywhere between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On a trek to the North of Arizona, we journeyed once again to the lands of Heber-Overgaard for a rare visiting Carolina Wren.
I also wanted to hang out at the duck ponds near my home and watch the Canvasback swim around the area. They are regular visitors here during the winter.
The road is only several miles long but it has a different kind of habitat that attracts some amazing birds! It was quiet. I was surrounded by friends. And we were in a snowy "holiday feeling" birder's paradise. For years, I have tried to redefine what "Christmas" is to me. And I couldn't. It doesn't have any religious connection for me, but it does have some meaning when it is spent with family and friends. Walking in the snow with friends reminded me of my childhood as I played outside with the neighborhood gang. It all made sense. This year I have found meaning through wildlife in marriage, death, work and in this personal journey.
Words cannot describe how complete it all felt at the end of the road(literally!). The American Dipper would become the bird of the year for me. Seen in Utah, Colorado and in Arizona, this bird completed my 2015 birding journey in the Western States. And it was always observed with excellent friends.
The American Dipper is a really fascinating bird that feeds from fast moving creeks, streams and rivers. It jumped from mossy rock to branch along the only stretch of emerald green left in the snowy covered banks of the river.
Our group really loved watching these birds and for a couple of them, it was their first time at this location. Gordon and I both ventured into this area during the past summer. I wanted to go back in winter and explore this spot again. Glad we did! I added the Pacific Wren as my 700th bird to my life list.
The magical world of birds keeps all of our inner child alive at any age and it binds us together on this lifelong trek. It gives meaning and purpose to my life as it does for my birder friends. I loved this moment below of my friend Gordon as he begins a new chapter of his life. He is a retired man now and I cannot wait to see where the road will take him! The most meaningful life adventure lies ahead for him.
|Gordon travels the Beeline Highway|