Sunday, September 03, 2006

Aztec Thrush is in the house!!!

Today was a typical "birder day."

We got into Phoenix late last night. Our flight was late. The rest of our group was coming in on a different flight. Can't find any info on the arrival of the other flight. Finally realize that their flight is coming into a different terminal. Take bus to stupid Garage Mahal rental car terminal that we're paying for with our 45% taxes on our rental car. Get to pick our own SUV-Hooray! They only have one SUV to choose from --Boo!!! The truck's thermometer reads 115 degrees at 11:00 p.m.--is that even possible? How do people live here?

Arrive in our hotel in Tuscon at around 1:30 am -- which would be 3:30 am Chicago time. Only make one wrong turn and end up near strip club. Up at 5:45 in the morning, bird the parking lot a bit, buy gas/water/etc. at Madera Canyon by about 8:00. Hike up the canyon, wherewe blow by the original Aztec Thrush site and continue uphill until we luckily meet a friendly photographer who shows us the female Berryline Hummingbird *tick* on the nest. Head back downhill and wander around for a about an hour at the Choke Cherry tree until another birder spots the Aztec Thrush *tick* fly into the tree.

Proctor road---get the funky-looking Black-capped Gnatcatcher almost immediately after walking down the wrong trail and ending up at an unmarked shack or outhouse or something.

Lunch at KFC. See a bird, eat a bird.

Drive towards Nogales and head to Sycamore Canyon. Someone's passed out in the back seat already. Ruby Road will wake them up. On the way to Sycamore, pass Border Patrol with their machine guns out and at the ready. Let's not stop here. Miss the R-C Warbler by about ten minutes. Still, we savor the unexpected beauty and general birdiness of Sycamore Canyon.

Almost 5:00 now. Haul ass to beat a storm and head towards Patagonia. Skip Paton's, Patagonia Lake, etc. Stop at Roadside Rest area, Zone-tailed Hawk *tick* and Thick-billed Kingbird *tick*.

Very tired. More Coke and gas station coffee. Get to Sierra Vista to find our hotel. Dark now. See sign for Ramsey Canyon. *Shit* Finally realize that unless we're staying in Mexico we missed our hotel. Turn around. Check into hotel.

Chase a nighthawk around a mall parking lot. End the night at a filthy Pizza Hut. Our waitress tells us about her recent experiences at a Slayer/Slipknot concert. She makes our pizza for us, too. Get directions to nearest Whataburger for future reference.

Head back to the hotel and catch up on e-mail.

Do the same thing tomorrow.

Birding is easy, right?

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