Thursday, July 31, 2008

So-So Sort of A Day

Sun up was spent birding the park on foot. All the usual suspects where there, but no Montezuma Quail. The bird guides recommend a 60-mile drive through the mountains so I certainly took it. There was nice picnic area along the way where the birding was shaping up to be good, but the flies there were too much for me. No quail. No Band-tailed Pigeon. Western Wood-Pewee, Western Bluebird, Violet-green Swallow, White-throated Swift, Say’s Phoebe, and Canyon Towhee where all cool, but I was a bit disappointed. I, unfortunately, did not allow myself much time to check out the McDonald Observatory. I spent some time walking the road just outside the park in hopes of finding the Common Black-Hawk that was known to be nesting there. Knowing that this bird only sometimes soars and spends more time running in creeks catching snakes and crayfish did not make me think my chances were high, but it was worth a shot. No luck. The Gray Hawk (total surprise!) and Zone-tailed Hawk were nice consolation prizes, but I had already seen them elsewhere in my travels.

The threat of afternoon thunderstorms convinced me to eat at the lodge. After dinner, I birded the park again (the photo on the left is the park as seen from the Skyline Drive). No quail. I knew this bird was going to be tough (despite what some of the literature says) and they seemed to have evaded me. Driving over 70 miles and hiking 3 or 4 miles in prime habitat and I missed ‘em. This was the only part of my trip where I could get them and it appeared I would not. The javelina wandered through again at some point during the night. No belching.

No comments: