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.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chickens and Arizona

It was an exciting Colorado Prairie Chicken and Grouse trip for High Lonesome Bird Tours, and this time there was a new co leader: Kip Miller. Kip and I showed our 10 clients all of the targeted species on this year's trip. We were able to spot the White tailed Ptarmigan with a group from VENT tours which is usually a tricky one, depending upon the weather. While in Crested Butte, we ran into a German birder who turned us on his best viewing area for Dusky Grouse (formerly known as Blue Grouse). One of our clients from the UK and I walked up the road and out of the brush comes a male Dusky Grouse a foot from our legs.  The weather was cooperative with the exception of one blizzard which caused us to change our route. But all in all the trip was one of the best trips to Colorado that I have experienced. My clients seem to agree.

In May I went down to Southeast Arizona for 10 days. Initially I was doing some reconnaissance before my clients showed up a few days later. Day one I began at Miller Canyon with Tom  Beatty, the proprietor. He showed me a Sycamore with a nest of Mexican Spotted Owls in it. Two chicks were only 6" tall. Further up the canyon I had a N. Mountain Pygmy Owl nesting in an Ash tree. I could hear could hear the chicks inside the nest hole in the tree. I heard from someone coming down the mountain that there was an N. Apache Goshawk nesting 3/4 of a mile up the canyon. I decided to save that trek for when my clients showed up. I left for Ramsey Canyon to see what was on the board for new spring arrivals. While there, a college group arrived from the University of Missouri. I offered them the opportunity to go owling that evening. So we did. We were provided with excellent views of Elf Owl, 10 feet away, heard distance Whiskered Screech Owl, and they had their first view of a Ringtail sitting on a rock wall. My two clients from Florida arrived, first generation Cuban immigrants, inventors of the key making machine and dog tag making machine you can find at pet supply stores. They were very interesting and we enjoyed one and one half days of birding and owling. My next client was from Texas. He had never been to SE AZ to before and we were able to add considerably to his life list. We ventured into Miller Canyon for hummingbird viewing including a White eared Hummingbird. His birds of the day were an Olive Warbler at the top of Carr Canyon, a Greater Pewee and a Yellow eyed Junco. I hope to see him again in August.

June is a FANTASTIC time to bird in Arizona. I do not understand why it is a slow month. June is the best month to see breeding birds, including owl fledglings and all of the SE AZ specialties. Give me a call if you would like to set something up. 828-575-3107.

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