About Me

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Sandia Park, New Mexico, United States
I have been birding for 41 years. My favorite clients are those who are interested in birds, watching them and even learning about their behavior, not just checking birds off a life list. I enjoy people and want to have fun while birding. As a bird watcher since 1972, I have acquired a broad knowledge of birds, birdsong, habitat and behavior. One of the things I enjoy most about taking people out birding is teaching my clients how to identify birds and how to recall their song. We were in Asheville, NC for 5 years, and Bisbee, AZ 10 years before that. Currently we are house hunting in New Mexico.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Biscuits, Cranes and Owls!

Just returned from the Ramsey Canyon New Year's Trip for High Lonesome Bird Tours. The weather was ideal, ranging from sunny 70 degree days to mild evenings in the 40's. 
My clients and I ventured in to the San Rapheal Valley in search of Hawks and Sparrows. 
Birds of interest included a pair of cooperative White Tailed Kites, various flavors of Red tailed Hawks, with great views of perching Chestnut collared Longspurs along with Horned Larks. 
At Patagonia Lake we were provided with great looks at clients' first Elegant Trogon which was exciting. We also had Shoveler's, Ringed Necks, Buffleheads, Common Mergansers, Mexican and Green head Mallards, and Pintails to name a few. 
White Water Draw gave us views of Common and Ruddy Ground Dove, Vermilion Flycatcher, Snow and Ross's Geese, a conflict between to Common Ravens and a Golden Eagle along with thousands of Sandhill Cranes. We also had two Great Horned Owls, along with American Kestrel, and Killdeer. While driving around the Sulpher Springs Valley we encountered a heard of Mule Deer, many Black throated Sparrows, along with Vesper, Savannah, Chipping, Brewer's and Pyrrhuloxias, Green tailed and Spotted Towhees and Bendire's Thrasher. The most interesting event was a murmuration of Yellow headed Blackbirds but we couldn't see the raptor chasing them. 
©L Wren Walraven 2014

The next morning we hit the San Pedro River and Huachua Mountains. Along the river we met up with our fourth towhee of the week, the Abert's Towhee and a Tiaga Merlin perched on the second oldest Freemont Cottonwood Tree in the state of AZ. We then headed over to Ft. Huachuca in search of the elusive Sinaloa Wren which we did encounter. 
We had fantastic looks and didn't have to wait long to see him. It was probing an old root wad for bugs and building a nest, for a female that hasn't arrived from down south yet. We left Huachuca Canyon in route to Garden Canyon. While on our way to Sawmill Canyon we looked over just at the right moment, and found a lone Spotted Owl after the third wash/picnic area. The bird was at the lowest elevation I had ever spotted one in. After enjoying great views we headed up to Sawmill, a high altitude trail providing us with views of Hutton's Vireo, Brown Creeper, and a Hammond's Flycatcher. 

©Mary K Gardner 2014
One of the clients is a professor of Geology at Bowling Green University. He gave us the components of Scheelite Canyon. The last stop before retiring was the Apache Pictograph Site where we enjoyed the images left 300-700 years ago. 

The last day of the tour was a nice walk up Ramsey Canyon where we encountered Painted Redstart, Hutton's Vireo, Acorn Woodpecker and more. 

The biscuits, home made by Shirlene, were delicious as always!
Thanks, Shirlene! :)

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