Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, I left the plains and deserts to look for birds in the Chiricahua Mountains. The volcanic rhyolite rocks weather into shapes that look like skyscrapers, leaving small rocks precariously balanced on larger columns. We went up to about 6800 feet and worked our way back down. The leader warned us that since the weather has been so warm lately, the birding might be hit or miss, and he was right. We did not see a lot of birds, and he worked hard to call in the birds we did see. Pine and fir trees murmured in the wind, even if the birds did not sing though. We saw some birds found only in these Sky Islands of Arizona, such as the Mexican Chickadee and the Yellow-eyed Junco. These are small birds, perching as high as they can in the branches, and I didn't get very good pictures. Acorn Woodpeckers sounded like parrots when we first heard them, and they look a bit like clowns. Bridled Titmice are real cuties, but move to fast for me to photo. Here is some of what I was able to capture.
White Breasted Nuthatch
Rose Breasted Nuthatch
Birding is a religious experience for me. First, I love wandering around listening to them sing, and finding them as they hide. Taking photos of them takes a lot of faith - I never know if it's going to work or not, but I take them anyway. Finally, our trip down the icy mountain road on a school bus, fer cryin' out loud, involved a lot of praying. The kids will probably wonder why there is a large dent in the back of the seat. Well, that was me, trying to keep the bus on the road by grasping the seat in front of me!