Saturday, November 24, 2012

Third Time's A Charm

Imagine you're leading a Tucson Audubon birding field trip when two of your participants ask, "What's that black bird?"  As you get your bins on it, your heart drops.  It's a Groove-billed Ani!  That's exactly what happened to Michael Skinner at Sweetwater Wetlands on Monday.  This is an extremely rare bird in Pima County with fewer than 20 records for the state.

For two days in a row I had missed it.  After an hour of searching this morning, I was having doubts I would see it.  But I walked up to few birders that had seen it across the pond.  It showed itself briefly to me but was far away.  We waited a while to see it again, but it didn't show.  I decided to walk around to the other side of the pond where I thought it might be.  When I got there, I heard an unfamiliar call.  I looked for a few minutes and finally got great looks at the bird foraging in a willow at eye level.  And it was a lifer for me!

Groove-billed Ani
CERange Map for Groove-billed Ani


  1. Sweet! The only time I've seen either ani is when I was in Costa Rica, but I was deeply impressed by them.

  2. Big, big congrats on this rarity Jeremy! I've only seen them in the Carribbean and Costa Rica and didn't get any great shots of them, these are great.

  3. Jeremy, so glad you got it! I saw you walking around and we had great views on Friday. It was my 2nd attempt but I was disgusted with the photos I took. Saturday, family, birding. Today, I prepped. The Ani came back and I was FINALLY able to get the shots. What an incredible bird.....the sounds, the movement......Sweetwater had a bit of the tropics going much excitement around the area with all the birders. Happy you found the Ani and those shots are great! Have a good week. Chris

  4. I'm so sad I missed spotting this fabulous visitor, but so happy YOU guys got to capture some wonderful images. I'm sure he will visit again and I will be ready and waiting! Great shots, and thank you for posting them, Jeremy!