Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arriving in Arizona with 379 but without a dipper

As I've mentioned previously, today on my way to Tucson AZ I would leave the Denver airport for a while and go to a park (called Lair 'O The Bear Park) to try for an American Dipper.  We got to the park, looked in the places that dippers are known to be.  No dipper.  We drove up the road a little bit and searched along the creek but most of the creek was frozen (not good!)  We hiked a trail along a portion of the creek with open water.  No dipper.  We decided to try Lair 'O The Bear Park one more time.  My dad stayed back and rested but I want walking, looking for a dipper.  No dipper.  Then I saw a bird fly over my head and I saw the black in the wings and large bill, I was 80 percent that it was a Clark's Nutcracker but that would have been a good bird and as all birders know - you can't count it until you're SURE.  So of course I had to re-find the bird.  I spent the following 18 minutes trompsing around a foot of snow in sandals, freezing my feet off to look for a jay-like gray bird.  How many people would do that?  But I'm doing a Big Year, and that would be a terrific life bird and well make up for the loss of the dipper.  At the 18 minute mark (I timed it with my dad's watch) I spotted the bird fly up out of some brush.  I got another in-flight look.  Then it perched atop a tree.  B I N G O!  There was a Clark's Nutcracker perched beautifully.  Number 379 at dipper park but not a dipper.  Colorado was breathtaking with the fresh snow and the foothills of the rockies.  I saw some excellent raptors including both eagles (Bald and Golden).

Now I'm in Tucson Arizona at the Hilton Hotel and tomorrow morning we have a morning bird walk at a local park, followed by an afternoon spent birding in the Santa Catalina Mountains.  4 full days of birding in southeast Arizona..I can't wait!


  1. what an awesome adventure you on ...... i can't wait to read your daily reports! mama bear on papa's computer

  2. You will have so much fun in AZ! My first trip there was in August 2009 and we saw 151 species of which over 50 were lifers! I'm pretty sure you will go well over 400 because everything down there is so different from what you've been seeing here in the east. Have fun!