Monday, December 12, 2016

A Walk In The Park

Yellow-rumped Warbler
 When this past weekend arrived, I didn't know what I'd exactly do.  I looked at my calendar and remembered that Tucson's CBC was coming up.  I also had a free ticket for the Reid Park Zoo which gave me an idea. Why not cover the ENTIRE Reid Park area(including the zoo)!?!?

 The Tucson CBC, or Christmas Bird Count, is going to be held this week during my work schedule so I am not able to attend. HOWEVER, if YOU are in the area and interested, click on this link here.  It's a wonderful way to discover great birding spots around town while helping our bird populations around the US.  This will be Rich Hoyer's last CBC for Tucson.  Thank you Rich for all the years you've organized this event. We will miss you. 

Rich is on the left.  This was during an epic trek into Chiapas over a year ago. 
Anyhow, while I can't attend the Tucson CBC this week, I helped scout local patches for the team that will cover my neighborhood.  So I made the decision to do some responsible birding this weekend and kept it local. 

 In just under 3 hours, I covered the zoo, outside park ponds and baseball fields finding a nice total of 49 bird species. Lately, I have been less about chasing and more about doing investigative work on known species in areas closer to home. 

Wood Duck
 Plus, I need to save money for pretty much everything which includes 2 out of state treks and one out of country adventure for this year and next.  And of course, there are the other costs like maintaining both home and car:)  As I've said before, there really isn't anything left to chase in Arizona anymore SO I have chosen to bird responsibly.  It's nice to pick and choose where and HOW I'll bird.  

a wintering male Broad-billed Hummingbird
 Reid Park is a wonderful green patch in the middle of the city.  With a variety of vegetation, both desert and exotic, it can be a great place to spot rarities. 

Vermilion Flycatcher
 In fact, I've been spending a lot of time here at our parks.  Last weekend, I spent a quiet count at Agua Caliente Park.  Before that, I went to Ft. Lowell Park, etc etc.  Reid Park is the closest to my home and is probably one of the best spots in town for the most avian diversity. However, I will say that Tanque Verde Wash, Coachline and the Sweetwater Wetlands are pretty darn good as well.   

a captive Blue-crowned Motmot
 Oh I still dream.  I visited the South American aviary and watched the Blue-crowned Motmot.  I wondered if they had updated the motmot complex with the actual name of this bird since it was split into 3 different species this past summer. Somehow I didn't seem to care.  It was a passing thought as I forgot about my surroundings and just enjoyed watching this bird up close under the shadows of the giant bamboo.  Spanish teacher day dreaming............

House Sparrow with Peacock feather
 Meanwhile House Sparrows collected Peacock feathers to build their nests.  I searched and searched for a rare Harris's Sparrow or Golden-crowned Sparrow in the vegetation but didn't have any luck.  

Orange-crowned Warbler
 I searched for rare warblers in several warbler flocks but didn't find anything extraordinary.  I followed up on my rare Tucson Inca Doves that I've been monitoring at the zoo.  It took me awhile but I found them. 

Inca Doves
So while I had fun playing detective at my local patch, I was able to help my Tucson CBC friends for their big counts this week. 

the acrobatic Verdin on Bamboo
While these past two months have been challenging due to health reasons, I have learned how to adapt and find joy with my birds closer to home.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is not something that has been easy for me.  I'm still in shock that people elected this guy known as Trump for President....I don't know why anyone would vote for this loser, but they did. It's hard to believe that Clinton won with over 2 million votes and still "lost".  I have to let it go, but watching this all unravel is a nightmare. Anxiety attacks are not fun.  After that election battle, there was a darkness I had never felt before and it is a scary feeling. A Bush in the White House is not the same as a Trump in the White House. I feel like there is a global war building and I can't stop it.  

at the Flamingo exhibit
And then there is work.  I tried managing 180 kids without a break all day long so that I could pay off my student loan early.  Yeah, not going to happen. The body speaks volumes about how much stress we can handle.  Thankfully, that crazy stress will be over by the end of the semester.  The night comes quickly and leaves little time to bird after work which has thrown off my meditation.  When the weekend comes, I sleep whenever I can and bird for a few hours to just....exist.  As the year comes to a close, I'll be heading to the arctic north where I'll gladly don my gloves and scarf.  My mind takes me to icy waters where the snow falls around me. I still have some work to do in Arizona this month with Deborah Vath's CBC.  We'll be taking our youth out and searching for birds next weekend.  Have a great week everyone and until next time.......


  1. Good to read of such good local birding spots. Wonderful photos as always Chris. So sorry to hear you have been unwell - hope you feel a little better and less stressed soon and can relax over the Christmas break. Have been following the news of Trump over here - not good :(

    1. No. Not good at all. He's going to make things worse. My body has been slowly mending. Sometimes I push it a little too much and reminded that I need to take it easy. But whatever happened, it's healing. I know it's not heart related so that part is good. Sometimes it disappears and then flares up again. Strange stuff this anxiety!

  2. STRESS can cause all kinds of problems. I had some issues (family and weather-related) here this FALL ---and got really STRESSED out. Amazing how stress can affect one's body... I couldn't sleep, felt anxious, let little things upset me, etc... NOT FUN --and the first time I have allowed stress to consume me. I am much better now--and feeling better both physically and emotionally...

    SO---you young thing, you, do NOT let STRESS do that to you... Give up what you can't do ---and just choose the things which you can do... Easier said than done.

    Great group of pictures...

    I published a post yesterday --so check it out (if you haven't already).

    Hugs and Merry Christmas,

    1. Thank you for the advice:) And agreed....easier said than done:) Happy Holidays!!!

  3. Who knows if D. Trump is not going to be impeached for one reason or the other before long... Yes it must be a hard time for many people in the US. Time to reflect. And this kind of things is happening all over the world, there must be a reason. Let's be kind to neighbors and try to heal all together.

    1. Crazy time for all of us....everywhere. I really hope we can all heal together. Christmas dinner with the family hasn't happened yet:)

  4. What a fabulous array of pretty feathered friends! I really like the first photo but they are all wonderfully adorned.

  5. Hey Chris, Didn't know you were not at 100%, but hope you continue recovering. Fabulous photos as always. And thanks for confirming our CBC Mountain Bluebird sighting on the playing field behind Canyon del Oro High School in your eBird report yesterday. Prudy and I almost swung by there with a camera yesterday on our way back from a long doctor appointment, but were just too tired after Wednesday's count. If you're interested, there's a Hermit Thrush in the wash just west of the driveway into the parking lot close to the school. He's been there for our count 5 years in a row now. Best, Bob and Prudy Bowers

    1. THANK YOU BOB!!! That was awesome! Can you believe that I didn't have that bird on my Pima list??!! It was so easy to find too. THANK YOU! What a birdy area......I couldn't believe how many bluebirds were in the area. There were a lot of Westerns mixed into the bunch. Great spot for birds. I bird Ironwood Ridge High and I pass CDO all the time. I couldn't believe how active it was! I am almost back to normal again but I've been overloaded with stress and that takes time to clear up. Anyhow, thanks for a spontaneous and beautiful trek out last night....even if it were only for 20 minutes. Happy holidays to you both!


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