06 June 2009

QUETZAL

OK, so here goes....

I know I have not completely told the story of last weekend, so I have to sum it up to tell the story of this weekend: from where I left off, we got Berylline Hummingbird, Lucifer Hummingbird, and then went to California Gulch and SAW Buff-collared Nightjar. It was incredible. The next day, we got Five-striped Sparrow, Flame-colored Tanager, and Common Black-Hawk. I will try to post pictures eventually, but this weekend started to interfere with that.

On Friday, I was forced to cancel work due to the wind. I don't usually mind a single day off, but my boss called and told me to just take the entire weekend off - the weather was not going to improve. So I took his advice, and began the long drive to Portal. When I was about a third of the way there, however, I received a phone call from Chris West. There was a GRAY-COLLARED BECARD near Portal! A first United States record for the species. I began to drive a little bit faster, and called up Tyler Loomis (who I later picked up) and Andrew Spencer, and we all began to move in on Portal. On the way down, we took a slight detour for the flock of 11 White-rumped Sandpipers, and then continued on. Unfortunately, we got there too late in the evening to see this incredible bird (and never did find it), but got Whiskered Screech-Owl, awesome looks at Whip-poor-will, Spotted Owl, and Great Horned Owl. The next morning, we woke up at 3:30 and drove over to Chriricahua National Monument, where we had an incredible bird. At 4:45, the previously reported Eared Quetzal began to call down canyon. One of less than twenty ever recorded in the United States, it was truly a remarkable thing to hear.

Now, off to catch up on sleep.

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