Friday, February 17, 2012

Birding Synchronicity

It strikes again! You can go for years without seeing a bird, or never see it at all. Then, as the British say, you finally break your duck (an awkward expression for birders, to be sure) and the sightings come left and right. It was just a few days ago that I was perusing through some old blurry photos and I realized I had a new bird on my hands, the Vesper Sparrow. This weekend I'm on a trip down to some of the fantastic Tucson birding hotspots with BiF  Editor Robert Mortensen and BiF Author Jeremy Medina, and one of the first birds Robert and I saw on the drive down was, of course, the Vesper Sparrow!

You can find Sparrows in a variety of habitats, and that's part of their appeal. But I think one of my favorite things about the Sparrows is how they can really enliven and transform a landscape. We can be observing a simple arid dirt lot on the side of the road, much like this one. All of the sudden we notice movement, dare we say a little bit of color. It's not a barren strip of land after all. There are intricately patterned and determined wee birds flitting all over. The Sparrows bring liveliness to these desolate places, and where there is life there is beauty.

This was only the beginning of some excellent birding Robert and I fit in on the way down to Tucson. Soon after the Vesper Sparrows we found Chipping Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, and the first Lifer of the trip, a flock of Lark Buntings!

We stopped around the Picacho Peak area to scan for some Crested Caracaras. While these regal buzzards were nowhere to be found, the Red-Tailed Hawks and Loggerhead Shrikes were out in force. We also came across Western Bluebirds, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, and some lovely Lark Sparrows.

But best of all, the best birding is yet to come.