Monday, September 30, 2013

Dispatches from the 2013 Sky Islands Birding Cup: No Egrets

As reported by Tice Supplee, captain of Team 'No Egrets'

Tice Supplee of No Egrets
Over dinner in Tucson, Magill Weber, Andree Tarbee and I planned out our route on a pizza box top. We "slept" a few hours before setting off spotlighting ducks and wading birds on Tucson lakes. Zooming around town after midnight with no traffic was a kick! We then owled our way to the top of the mountain, where we heard a begging juvenile and adult Spotted Owls at Ski Valley. 

As we left Rose Canyon, I spotted a large bird in a ponderosa pine was a juvenile Northern Goshawk. Sweet! 

Our next raptor was a juvenile Cooper's Hawk being dive-bombed and hit by Purple Martins. We then saw a martin family coming in and out of holes in a saguaro, a real treat.

Our final raptor saga was watching an adult Red-tailed Hawk fly by followed by a juvenile. The adult had a mouse in her talons and as she flew above junior, she dropped the mouse into the air. The young hawk grabbed it with skill.

We sat through a rain and hail storm at Kino Springs where our reward was a look at a rain-soaked male Painted Bunting, a life bird for me! Later on we called it quits when torrents of rain swept across Lake Cochise at Willcox. We had a great time!  

Monsoon storm looms at Cochise Lake, Willcox
Final total: 136 species  (3rd place)

Click here to learn more about the Sky Islands Birding Cup, a bold Big Day event!

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