Tennessee to New Mexico October 2012
On our relatively rushed route back to Arizona we did manage to get in some fun birding along the way. One of the stops was outside Memphis, Tennessee at T.O. Fuller St. Pk. Here we got some good looks at Lesser Yellowlegs including this good shot taken by Deborah on October 24th, 2012
After staying in Ft. Smith Arkansas, we made a rare birding stop on a travel day... RV, Tow car, and all. It was at Sequoia NWR. in Vian, Oklahoma. This was a worthwhile stop as we were treated to a display reminiscent of some massive shore bird or starling swarms. This flock of thousands of Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Red-Winged Blackbirds provided giant swirls of color and light as they moved about through the grass fields.
On the 27th, we stayed at a wonderful campground called Red Rock Canyon St. Pk., OK. The next brisk morning I went on a beautiful walk the length of the canyon. Up until that day I'd only been witness to the "Who-cooks-for-you?" calls of the Barred Owl. It was a real treat to get such good close views in the daylight of this normally nocturnal bird.
Next stop was Santa Fe New Mexico. We highly recommend visiting this cute yuppy town. Santa Fe has had strict "adobe" Architectural controls since the early 1900's and its really cool just driving or walking around.. See our travel pages for more.
From a birding perspective, we weren't even done checking in before I was distracted by this Hairy Woodpecker moving about the parking lot.
On 10-30-12 outside Santa Fe, Randall Davie Audubon Ctr. is @ an elevation of nearly 7500 ft. This great spot offered a chance to pick up some year birds unavailable to the lower coastlines we have followed most of the year.
Our BC birding buddies might chuckle that it would be October before seeing our first Black-Billed Magpies, Steller's Jays, and Mountain Chickadees. For goodness sakes! It was a great (5 bird) day for the list, though, as we also added Cassin's Finch and Band-Tailed Pigeon on 10-30-12.
Dark-Eyed Junko, red-backed
The one frustration of the morning was missing a primary target bird in a Pinyon Jay. On the advice of a local birder we headed North West of Santa Fe into some Pinion Pine-Juniper habitat in search of the Pinion Jay. Never did locate the Jay but had a great time exploring around Santa Fe.
White-Crowned Sparrow juvenile.
After 9 months and 72 stops Deborah, Ozzie, Sophie, and I arrived back in Mesa, AZ on November 1st. We plan to stay relatively still until next March. Whew!
With the 2012 count standing at 383 with 153 lifers, local birding around the Phoenix area and a number of Christmas bird counts will hopefully narrow the gap to 400.