Days 37 & 38 – California Gulch, Patagonia Lake SP, Sonoita, AZ

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Bird count: 373 species!

Yesterday I found a 3 week old banana in my backpack that had melted all over my electronics. Not a good omen.

I had a bad feeling all day. Met my compadre and birding guide, Ken Blankenship early for a long day of birding in the California Gulch. This area is so remote and the dirt roads are so bad that I wouldn’t dare take anybody’s car out there but Enterprise’s!

We hiked for 5 hours looking for Nutting’s Flycatcher with no luck. We’re out in the middle of nowhere and I run into birders I know! We banded together but still came up empty.

Ken and I managed to salvage the day by going to Rio Rico and finding the Ruddy Ground Doves. What little beauties!

Today started with a beautiful sunrise on my way to Patagonia Lake SP to meet Ken. Gorgeous place with plenty of birds. Our main target was Black-capped Gnatcatcher which we found easily and then managed to add a couple more life birds for me. Rest of the day is a gimme now!

Patagonia has a quaint little town where we had a nice, healthy meal. I’ve been eating Mexican for almost a month and when I see Quinoa on the menu, I almost shed a tear.

We then head to the grasslands of Sonoita, AZ. Here I see my first Pronghorns (American Antelopes) of the trip. They take off lightning fast. As we search for Sparrows and Longspurs, we find an Antelope horn which I immediately take as my lucky charm.

We end the day in Carr Canyon in Sierra Vista, AZ looking for Whiskered Screech Owls. As we’re about to give up, Ken makes a joke about my horn not being so lucky and right then, we hear them!

Any day ending in Owl is a great day and a life bird to boot!

Today I added Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Lazuli Bunting, Botteri’s Sparrow and Whiskered Screech Owl. What a day!


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