Ohio - Arizona Sept. - Dec. 2013

From the Detroit area we made our way south into Ohio before heading back to Arizona.  We stayed outside Toledo so we could visit Magee Marsh.

Found these Barn Swallow chicks guarding the parking lot.

To see this special life bird was right up there in the thrill-of-a-birding-lifetime for us.
Northern Waterthrush

On the way back to the car I got onto several House Wrens providing some real good looks.
White-breasted Nuthatch
Great Egret
Next Birding stop was at Indian Cave State Park outside of Falls City, Nebraska.  This fabulous campground (which we highly recommend) included spectacular views over the Missouri River as well as of some nice birds.
House Wren
Eastern Kingbird
The familiar Great-crested Flycatchers were also plentiful on our Eastern swing in 2012.  
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Next we headed north to Estes Park, CO where we ran into the dramatic flooding.  After being evacuated from our campground just before it went under water we took to higher ground for a night.  The next morning we "got outta Dodge" via the only road available.  Highway 34, Trail Ridge Road, up and over Rocky Mountain National Park.

Next stop...  Colorado
Honestly our time in Colorado was dominated by the worst flooding we have ever witnessed.  As always visit our Travel pages for much more.  We did manage to get in some good birding along the way.
Northern Harrier
It was a busy morning...
Outside of Denver I visited Jackson St. Pk. where the shore birding was excellent.  Both Yellowlegs, American Avocet, Wilson's and (FOY) Red-necked Phalaropes, Long-billed Dowitchers, and Western, Least, and (lifer) Stilt Sandpipers were among the throngs. 
Other nice birds for the day included Franklin's Gull, White-faced Ibis, and American White Pelicans.
Along the way over the 12,000' pass we did spy this Clark's Nutcracker.
Red-tailed Hawk
Western Bluebird

Wilson's Warbler
This male and female Evening Grosbeak added to my photo life list
The last birding trip of the year was the Atascosa Christmas Bird Count near Nogales, Mexico.  12-27-13 started with some ice on the ground but ended up quite warm. We managed 48 different birds for the day. 

Among the more interesting species found were Rough-winged, Black-throated, Vesper's, White-crowned, Rufous-crowned, and Lincoln's Sparrow, Black-tailed and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Hutton's Vireo, Gray Flycatcher, Cactus, Canyon, Rock, and Bewick's Wrens, Loggerhead Shrike, Pyrrhuloxia, Townsend's Solitaire, Hermit Thrush, Horned Larks, Northern Harrier, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, and a female Elegant Trogon.

Some may have read that we had an interesting run-in with the Border Patrol who were very curious to find us out in the middle of nowhere.  They inquired if we knew that just a year ago, an agent was killed with an AK-47 right near where we were.  I said we didn't bring any firearms and he replied that we "probably should have".  We asked if they would give us a lift out Peck's Canyon and they replied... "In a perfect world"  ...Dang!
Elegant Trogon female
In late September we made our way back to Mesa, AZ to close on our new home and get busy with some remodeling.  This cut down on the birding time  remaining available in 2013.

I did manage to get out a couple of times before the end of the year. 
On October 17th, I made it out to Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ with my grandson and managed to squeeze off a couple of shots while there.
Gambell's Quail female
Cactus Wren - Arizona State bird
Gray Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
A Common Yellowthroat was seen near the north trail-head.
It was a quiet gloomy morning but there were a lot of nice birds to view including Grey Catbirds, Wood Duck, Green Heron, Baltimore Oriole and first-of-year Purple Martin.  Not the best lighting but did get a few shots.
Right from our campground at Alpen Rose - Durango, CO, we viewed beautiful Western Bluebirds and a young Red-Tailed Hawk.
Outside Durango, CO is a birding spot definitely worth checking out. 
It made for a great morning on 9-17-13 visiting Pastorias State Wildlife Area.
Lincoln's Sparrow
Loved the detail of the feathering on this Bushtit's back.
This photo of a Red-Naped Sapsucker appears to be turned sideways... but its actually straight up and down.
Hutton's Vireo
So 2013 was another outstanding year traveling around this great land.  Didn't quite reach my 2 year goal of seeing 500 different North American birds but 475 made for a pretty great 24 months.