After running into fellow Arizona blogger Laurence Butler, the booby did a fly-by. For the next half hour I enjoyed watching it fly around the lake, dive for fish, and even scratch an itch in mid-air! I wonder how long it will stick around, there's plenty of fish to eat.
Later I was joined by Will Russell of WINGS Birding Tours. It was a pleasure talking with him. He amazed me when he identified a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flying 100 feet away in the sun, a bird I wouldn't have even tried to ID. We watched the booby make passes with a backdrop of cactus, pretty cool!
Will and I also enjoyed close views of an Osprey.
We watched one have a face-off with a Turkey Vulture, but not much happened.
My next stop was the Patagonia Roadside Rest Area to try to photograph a Thick-billed Kingbird. They were very cooperative and even seemed to be wearing their brighter fall feathers. Check out that massive bill!
A Blue Grosbeak shared a nearby perch.
There were also a few beautiful Varied and Lazuli Bunting, but they weren't cooperative for photos.
No trip to Patagonia would be complete without a stop at the Paton's yard, the most reliable spot to find the Violet-crowned Hummingbird.
The Paton's property is now up for sale. The American Bird Conservancy, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, and the Tucson Audubon Society are trying to acquire it to preserve it as a sanctuary for birds and birders. For more details and a way to contribute, visit here.
Here are a few other birds that were in the yard.
|a young Abert's Towhee|
On my way back to Tucson I visited the grasslands north of Sonoita in hopes of finding a Grasshopper Sparrow. The first birds I heard were Botteri's Sparrow, but then the grasshoppers chimed in and a few even posed for me.
A few Eastern Meadowlark also made an appearance.
I tried to find a Grasshopper Sparrow a little further north for my Pima County list without any luck. But I did enjoy the views of the mountains.
All in all it was a much needed soul-satisfying day.