Sunday, January 20, 2008

And the birding gods smiled...

Jenise enticed me to run after some rarities today, so off we went. Our first stop was near my work place along the Santa Cruz “river.” The Black-throated Blue Warbler was exactly where he was reported being on the listserv for the past few days. Just a little south of the Dragon’s Breath (I mean the Dragon’s View) restaurant among the tamarisk and mesquite trees. He worked the trees in nuthatch-like order, flitting downward on the trunk and then working his way upward. He was easily recognizable in his faded, but unmistakable black and blue.

We spent about an hour walking the loop path along Bonita to Congress and then back to St. Mary’s. This little area turned out to be fairly productive. We also spotted a couple of Verdin, one of which was very busy building a nest, White-crowned Sparrows, several Yellow-rumped Warblers, Pyrrhuloxia, and a first-of-season (for both of us) Vermillion Flycatcher. Apparently, we just missed seeing Liz there 

Next we traveled to Catalina State Park to try for the Rufous-backed Robin that’s been reported there all winter. We found him within 2 minutes of parking the car! He was brilliant among the Spotted and Abert’s Towhees and Cardinals. There was lots of water here, so we back-tracked just a bit and walked north for a little. Along the Bridle trail, we found Curve-billed Thrasher and Gila Woodpecker. On the way out of the park, we spotted not one, but two separate Road Runners!

To wrap things up, we stopped at Tohono Chul Park to lunch on the patio (huevos enchiladas with blacks beans and a fabulous prickly pear margarita) among the chattering house sparrows, cactus wrens, and more Verdin. The bird gods were certainly smiling on us today!