North America · 12 Days · 23 Moments · July 2018

Birdwatching with Kristin and Mom

4 August 2018

Well the trip is almost over. I’m finally catching up with writing today. After these field trips and some rest I finally can think. I’ve recorded my total bird count for the trip and I saw or heard 123 species of birds. Not too shabby :) For my life list , I saw and reported on Audubon 78 new species this trip! Wow !! Couldn’t be happier. Now it time to get home to my hubby and my girls . So thankful to have wonderful family to let us stay wit us this weekend. It’s been a wonderful trip ! Until next time Sierra vista !

3 August 2018

Took a quick tour of the festival booths back at the college after we returned from the day tour. Took these photos for Eden. My girls gotta see what real eagle and peregrine falcon look like 😃. ( no eagles in photos.. that’s just what we call the girls when they spot something good)
Last field trip was today. Last day I had to wake up early. I’m tired! Birding is rough on the eyes and brain after you bird so hard ... lol ( I put that in for Ashley) Today’s field trip was all over the place . We went to the grasslands of empire ranch, Madera canyon and the town of Patagonia. We saw sparrows , common yellow throat and a white tailed hawk in the grassland. Saw pacific slope flycatchers , chat, roadrunners, kingbirds, near the river. Next to the canyons . Dirt roads and white van was rough! I sat in the back and got beat up. Finally arrived and spotted new birds . Varied bunting, warbling vireo and canyon wrens. Finally off to the Paton house in Patagonia . By this time I’ve spotted most of the local birds and was seeing repeats of everything. The Paton house was run by the Audubon society and was beautiful . Got a decent picture of the Mexican yellow billed cuckoo, thick billed kingbird and violet crowned hummingbird. Nice place to end the birding adventure.

2 August 2018

We made it back to Sierra vista . We returned to Cyndi’s house to rest a bit and I had an night watch to attended. Possibly watching owls, bugs and creatures of the night . No time for dinner just had to grab some apples and cheese and then I’m off again. Only 5 of us tonight in the van. Mom was birded out and couldn’t hang. We drove up to Ramsey canyon and we able to go inside the conservatory after hours. We looked at bugs and some flowers that were night blooming. We heard some owls and a Mexican whippoorwill . Never was able to spot anything. We then traveled to browns canyon and spotted a Thread snake. Our guide was so happy , just looked like a worm to me. 🤨saw some lizards , sleeping say’s phobes and tons of moths. Every time you turn around the lady in the group was jumping and squalling thinking something was getting her. Pretty funny to watch. Got to look at a few planets with a laser pointer and we ended our trip. I headed to Walmart for eggs and ice cream, I deserve i
What a day. I was too tired to write last night, so I’ll catch y’all up on my drive to today’s birdwatching adventure. Yesterday we woke up at 5:30 and meet everyone outside and hiked around the lodge till breakfast time. Stoped at one hot spot house with feeders and was able to a lot the bullocks oriole. Next we headed back up into cave creek pass to search for the elegant trogon. We saw some guys walking the roads , we got out and listened for the birds call. Wow ! It sounded like a dog barking. The the help of our group we spotted the bird. Pretty far off, but we did see it. We went the next few hours walking the roads and trails along the creek searching for this mystical bird. We also spotted the Arizona woodpecker, plenty of flycatchers and more. I took off buy myself behind his little cabin and just waited and guess what flys up. Yep a pair of elegant trogons. They were a little hidden , but I got to get a few ok pictures before they flew off. Mom even got to see them too ?

1 August 2018

We made it to he top! Over 8,000 feet elevations . If you know anything about birds, you know only certain species only live at certain elevation. Today we are after the olive warbler, mountain chickadee and red faced warbler .. guess what ! We found them. We have an excellent guide . Keen to hearing and knowing every squeak and squawk . It is just beautiful up here . The weather is wonderful . Low humidity and temps around the mid 70’s. The hikes where short and Mom is happy. She stayed in the van a couple of times , while we trekked around. We are happy to conclude we say 62 species today . After Birding we came down the mountain and check in Portal Peak Lodge . Nice rustic motel with no tv.. mom is freaking out. She went and bought a book.... real vacation. We ended the night with a rain storm and a nice dinner with the group. We have some wonderful people in our group. My fiends , fellow birders:) First wine of the trip. It was great . Now off to bed , up early again!
Festival today !! We we were up at 4:30!! OMG.. a birders life ..I’m a sleeper .. never would I think I’d be up so early on vacation. We got up, got ready, packed our bags, made breakfast and headed for the college. We all meet up at 5:45 and got in our designated vans for our trips. Van #2 Chiricahua overnight. Two days of guided birding. Our van is full of birders from New York to California. Their are 8 of us on the giant van. We started today headed to Portal, Az. We stopped at a dried out pond to find a few dessert birds. Then off to the mountains . Beautiful !! Just movie perfect scenery. Can’t believe this is Arizona. We headed to a field research center , where we found the blue - throated hummingbird and rufous hummingbird . Next up the mountain we go. Crayons to forest we travel quickly. We see birds, we stop and get out and on the hunt we go. It’s great to have so many eyes in the skies . I’m with Expect birders. Many years of practice and it shows.

31 July 2018

After picking up Mom and running a few errands, like pre- registering for the festival :) we headed to Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast. This was birders paradise. With bird feeders for all birds to enjoy. Tons of song birds and hummingbird to watch. We stayed and got to see the Lucifer Hummingbird. Also spotted a black-headed grosbeak. This was just moms speed. We meet a few fellow birders and learned a few more interesting facts about hummingbirds . We meet the owner and Mary Joe and her pet African grey parrot , Cookie . She told us and explained how much work it took into keeping the place clean and feeders cleaned everyday . She has to put all feeders up and cleaned out because of the bears. They come every night to check out the feeders for some sweet treats. 🐻🍭
Next stop was the San Pedro house . I didn’t know what to expect . I thought I could just hang out and watch birds . Nope it more trials . Don’t get me wrong, they were beautiful. Large cottonwoods along the river. I took off hiking , thank goodness they guy at the counter gave me a map. I thought this was a fun little hike , but ended up almost getting lost and walking about 2.5 miles . I spotted a few more flycatchers and finally a yellow-breast chat. A few common ground doves and tons of vermillion flycatchers everywhere! I wanted to bring my mom but she was under the weather yesterday. I was going to bring here to the next spot. I knew she would enjoy it.
Today was my lazy day. I decided to sleep in until 7. I got up made breakfast and headed the the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area. My gps took me to a bridge. I passed it up and finally figured that was it. I turned around and parked . I headed below the bridge and tried to make out some of the sounds and where they were coming from. I took a left and walked along the river for 100 feet , slipping and sliding everywhere . The only bird I could ID was a blue grosbeak. Kinda saddened by this . Peak bird time and that’s it. Where were all the birders ??? I went back to the bridge and took a right. I see one set of footprints . Not alone ! Well this was where the trail was. I walked about a half a mile slipping and sliding some more . Mud, water and muck all over my new shoes. Thank goodness they are waterproof . I love my Ghost 10 from brooks. A birders best friend. I spotted a few black phobes, canyon towhee , yellow warblers, bewick’s wrens and another swainson’s hawk.

30 July 2018

I made it to the caves. No working camera. I used my iphone to grab a few photos and then into the cave with my flashlight. It was very difficult and I’m not sure how older people could do it. I had to take all my gear off and barely made it in. Bats where flying around and I just chilled . The cave was cooler inside , but it was 4:30 and the park closed at 4. I had to get out. I thought I would hike this 1 mile track in about 20 minutes, nope more like 45. What took me 45 minutes to go up only took me 7 to get down. I grabbed a shot of the stairs down. Afterwords I dove down miller Canyon rd and grabbed a shot of the Mexican Jay. Ready to get back to the house .. the storm is coming again!
Off to Coronado National Memorial to see if I could spot the Montezuma Quail. I was not successful 😔 the lady at the visitors center said that they only come out In the open in the mourning and usually they are on he roads and look like rocks. Didn’t see anything on he roads. I drove up to the overlooking vista. This was a much safer drive and it was a gorgeous view of the canyon and Mexico. After that I headed back down the mountain and went on little hike...needless did I know.. it was torture. Straight up into the canyon for a mile. No birds :( I was Getting tired. I had to see these caves. I finally think I’m there and I turn the corner to the canyon and birds explode on song. I saw the Rufus hummingbird , the bushtit and a few more birds that I couldn’t ID because my camera quit. The zoom on my camera is good and my eyes aren’t. I look up he canyon and all I see is more and more stairs cut out of the rock.. I’m still not at he top.
I arrive at Ramsey Canyon and greet our guide Mrs. Betsy. Me and one other guy are the only ones on the tour. The tour took us up the canyon , where she talked about birds , bugs , and history of the canyon. I learn a lot and enjoyed our tour. I ran out of water half way up the mountain, so I was not able to go the extra mile up too see the elegant trogon. The 2 hour tour ended up being a 4.5 hour tour and I was hungry and thirsty and wanted to get back to my car for some food! I grabbed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich fixings and some fruit and water and chilled at picnic table. Then the storm stared to come in and I did not want to be stuck up on that mountain with lighting and thunder rolling in. I talked with the nice ladies at the conservatory and they gave me one other places to check out. I ended up going to Coronado National Park to escape the rain.
New day of birding for me. My plans were to travel up into Ramsey Canyon and go on one of the guides tours that leaves at 9. Plans were going as planned. I woke up at 6:15 on my own got dressed and Cooke some eggs, bacon and fruit . Ready to leave he house by 7. What should i do?? I’m burning daylight. Morning time is the best time to see and hear birds.. I’ll just drive! Ramsey Canyon is only 15 minutes away. I start turning down runs near the canyons and Car bird. I see Cassin’s kingbirds, vermillion flycatchers and the spot a nature reserve right in the middle of a neighborhood. I get out and hike around. I spot a lot more flycatchers and even a hooded oriole. Nice little hike until the nature conservatory opens.

29 July 2018

Next off to Miller canyon and the Beatty Guest House where all the butterfly’s hang. I meet up with Mom and cousin Cyndi headed back into the canyon. Plenty to see there. Got there just in time before the storm hit. We sat under the cover bleachers and we able to observe 100s of hummingbird zoom around and feed. Wish the girls could see this .
Found a baby hummingbird nest at Carr canyon along with some local wildlife. After lunch I headed up up up onto the canyon. I got a little scared , I didn’t want my rental to stale out. I took some photos and came back down .
Today started of bright and early at 5:45am . No clock needed , just my internal clock knowing that’s it’s really 7:45 in Louisiana . I got dressed and headed to town to get some supplies. The trusty Walmart I grabbed some fruit , bread , peanut-butter jelly , water , coffee And cookies. First stop was Carr canyon . All of my paperwork and research was still in my suit case. I had to relay on my memory to think of places to go and see today . I discover the Carr house and it was open.. who knew that it’s only open on weekends . I was the only guest there for a few hours.. me and the guide just chatted and watched hummingbirds out the windows. I then started to walk and watch . Found plenty of new birds .. Is was wonderful. Only problem was it was rocky and my flip flops did it protest my feet that well. I finally got a call around 10:30 that my Luggage was getting delivered. Yah !! Shoes for tomorrow. Below are some birds I saw at Carr canyon

28 July 2018

We made it ! Sierra vista here I am. All things went well except they forgot my bag in Dallas! Yep no luggage. It’s alright I packed a backpack with a extra set of clothes and pjs. Only thing I don’t have are my shoes. They are suppose to deliver my bag here, so hopefully tomorrow it shows up. I figure I do a little car birding , because that’s what I did today on the journey from Tuscan . We rented a car and only had to drive roughly an hour south. It took a little longer since I decided to take the scenic route and follow some brown signs. We ended up at the empire headquarters. Basically it was major cattle farm / western movie scene back in the day . I was able to drive slower and roll down the windows and enough this wonderful weather . It’s 81 degrees outside but feels like the 70. It’s so nice :) Can’t wait to explore a little more tomorrow. For now I’m in bed and trying to ID these beauties I photoed today. I officially hit 200 birds species today !! Whoop whoop!
We made friends at the Dallas airport !! All ready birding before we landed in Tuscan. #housesparrowseverywhere
Here we go ! Leaving AEX now. Our flight will land in Dallas and then we have an 1 hour layover until our connection to Tuscan. Only had my toothpaste and bug spray taken from me by the TSA agents 😔 I will diffidently have to replace those when we get there. Mark wants me to get some bear spray too. Gotta be safe out there in the dessert. You never know if any wild outlaws with be hiding out 😉

27 July 2018

Bags are packed , car is loaded and I’m ready to go. Im sitting here in my empty house trying to think of anything I may have forgot. Binoculars check, camera check, back up batteries check, hat, sunscreen, water bottle check. Please don’t forget your field guide! Gotta study ... gotta be ready.. gotta find that bird.. gotta ID it, right. I’m going into an unknown land, never before have I seen any of these birds. Will I be able to ID them. I feel like a kid at Christmas or the first day of my Big Year. So much to see and so excited. Kids are at my moms house in Alexandria the past few days because my sister in law that watches them went to the beach. No beach for me this year ...I’m going to the dessert in August!! I’m crazy !! Im ready to see my girls and get a few hugs and kisses tonight before we leave tomorrow for our flight. Oh ! I better go get my pocket flash light for all those night creatures that are going to be out , lurking in the dark ... ready for me to see.

24 July 2018

Lunch time yesterday I went on my afternoon walk.. gotta get in bird shape. Need to hon in on my camera and bird watching skills. Had a fabulous day, walked roughly a mile around the suburbs of deridder and thought I saw the most awesome bird alive. The prothonotary warbler! My stomach was in knots. Was that it? It was bright yellow ... I see some dark markings on its back ... yes that’s it !!! It has to be it ... I need to get a photo .. I have to prove it to Mark. I want my steak dinner he promised once I spot this bird . Camera up .. I’ll trying so hard to find this speck on the view finder. It flies away . Oh no. What do i do ?? I keep walking and looking and I finally see it again. It’s an orchard oriole.. not the prothonotary:( still an awesome bird , but not my prized treasure flying ribeye. I continue on my journey and find some pretty cool birds. First time to spot Inca doves in deridder. A baby yellow billed cookoo and a few more bird friends .

23 July 2018

Count down is on. Less than a week away me and Mom will be flying to Tuscan Arizona. Days of birding watching are in my future. It’s officially my Big Year.. time to make it count plus make some fun memories with my mom. T minus 5 days till lift off !