|where we gathered people to do the intro prior to the Rotunda-Throne Room tours|
|Melissa and her best pal Bogey|
|after last tour of the day, coming back down from the cave entrance; Melissa driving|
Several volunteers from the previous season had returned including our friend Mike Doyle in his new fifth wheel and truck. And there were several new faces including a handful of seasonal park rangers.
|always happy to dine with Jim and Erika Wilson!|
|Don and Anne at the Bisbee Breakfast Club then sampling expresso|
|Dave, Mary, Houdi, Carol|
|Diane and Glenn - where else but at the Bisbee Breakfast club!|
|hiking with Delia, Chuck and Spree|
|lunch with Nancy|
|Dick and Sally|
|Ron, Tom, Julie, Mike, Renell|
|road to, and hiking to, Chico Canyon|
|California Gulch crew|
|white-nosed coatimundi in Ramsey|
This wasn’t the first report of tufted flycatchers at Ramsey. But they are a rare in the ABA area. A pair has been found in other years but it required a hours long slog up a steep trail - having one so low was a blessing! Typically one has to go to northwestern Mexico, Central America, Panama and Ecuador to see one. Another ABA tick!
When we learned of a streak-backed oriole being seen in a small park in Yuma, we again teamed up with Bill Brown and Erika Wilson for an overnight trip to Yuma. Arriving late in the afternoon we failed to locate the bird. But no matter. We had made plans for an overnight in Yuma in order to make a bid for the bird early in the next morning when chances of seeing the oriole were far better. After about an hour of searching along with several other birders the next morning, the oriole finally made an appearance. Wow! Another ABA tick! And in addition to the oriole making an appearance, we happened upon more birding friends, Claire and Bob Romanak! And, we still had plenty of time to get back to Sierra Vista that included another stop at Dateland, a small date grove known for their date milk shakes, followed by lunch on Erika at an incredible restaurant (Feast) in Tucson. Good birds, friends and food - it's what keeps us going!
|searching and finding the oriole; Claire and Bob|
Coulmbia, SA was our 2016 annual out of country birding destination so in March we took a break from our lead guide duties at Kartchner in exchange for tropical birding (the subject of an upcoming blog).
Upon our return, we had one month remaining on our commitment at Kartchner and the much anticipated arrival of Wisconsin birding friends.
Vicki and Lynn have gone on several of our tropical birding trips. Vicki had birded AZ a few years earlier with friends from the NEW Birding Club, but this was a first time AZ visit for Lynn. Lynn, her partner Laurel, and Vicki flew out in late April, just as we were moving our RV from Kartchner to Tombstone Territory RV.
|Lynn and Laurel at Laurel's booksigning|
|birding the feeders at George Walker House|
Wasting no time, we hit the highlights around the Huachuca Mountains area. A trip to Miller Canyon where we (Tom and Carol) finally broke our personal jinx of never seeing a spotted owl at Miller. We stopped at the San Pedro House for a staked out western screech-owl and covey of inca doves. We drove into Fort Huachuca for elegant trogon and as long as we were on that side of town, made a stop at the Ash Canyon B and B feeders (Lucifer hummingbird). We had talked about making the long drive up Carr Canyon but given the time, and realizing we wouldn’t have gotten much in the way of new birds, we instead opted for a drive to Patagonia and the Paton’s feeders (now operated by Tucson Audubon). A drive skirting the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve Nature Conservancy property netted us great looks at a pair of thick-billed kingbirds followed by celebratory beers at the Wagon Wheel Saloon in Patagonia.
|spotted owl, Miller Canyon|
|dinner at Lori and Mark's; elf owl|
Before closing out this blog entry we need to make note of the passing of two dear friends. Late November we received the unexpected news that Tom's Army buddy friend, Cecil Pendleton died. Tom and Cecil had trained together as dog handlers at Fort Benning in 1967, then served together in Vietnam at the 48th Scout Dog Platoon in 1968. They stayed in touch over the years through thick and thin. Cecil had come to Wisconsin twice for visits and we managed to get together with him in California as well as at a Vietnam Dog Handler Association reunion in Washington, DC. Cecil was instrumental in providing background information for the 48th's web site.
|Cecil and "Lady", LZ Baldy, 1968|
|Cecil in Wisconsin, Door County, 2007|
In February we got word that long time friend and birding buddy Dave Dunsmore passed away after a lengthy illness while staying in Florida with family. Tom first met Dave during an Audubon chapter meeting in 1971 when dave brought photos of a heron rookery to display. They became fast friends and he and Tom spent many memoriable years birding together, including Mexico. Most recently, in spite of failing health, Betty and Dave managed a week long visit while we were in Costa Rica in 2014...so glad he finally got to see so many of the birds he had so long had wanted to see.
|Dave and Betty in Costa Rica|