Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Tufted Flycatcher in Arizona!

For as long as I can remember, birders in Arizona have been wondering when a Tufted Flycatcher would finally show up in the state. Texas got its first in 1991, and another in 1993. With this species occurring just a few hundred miles south of the border, it seemed as though Arizona would soon end up with one. There were some tantalizing reports, including a well described bird from Tucson in April 1999, and another yet to be submitted report of one from Patagonia in January 1992. Then in February 2005, one was photographed along the Colorado River in northwestern Arizona. This finally added the species to the state list in a surprising manner, but unfortunately, it could not be relocated. Fortunately, birders got another chance this week when another Tufted Flycatcher was discovered in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona on May 5th. Once the bird was relocated and confirmed, word spread quickly throughout the birding networks. Fortunately, I was home and able to get out and see this wonderful bird the following day. After a bit of searching, the bird was relocated, and friends and I were able to enjoy it for about fifteen minutes or so before we lost sight of it. During that time, I was able to get a voice recording of it as well as some pictures. A wonderful bird in a wonderful place! 

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mops and Porcupine Trees

Meet the Mop Twins. While traveling through the Texas Hill Country a few weeks back, I stopped in Leakey (pronounced LAKE-EE) for a great meal at Vinny's Italian Restaurant. Outside were three mops and a broom. I thought to myself, that would make an amusing album (CD) cover. Below is detail of two of the mops.

The next day, while birding at Lost Maples State Natural Area, we came across a tree with a resting porcupine, making it for a moment at least, a porcupine tree.

There are some fantastic sights in west Texas and the Hill Country. It was a treat to get back there.