Number 396 was the beautiful Tricolored Heron. It showed up at the Gilbert Water Ranch in late August, and is continuing there as of today (10 October).
|Tricolored Heron - Gilbert Water Ranch, Arizona|
|Wedge-Rumped Storm-Petrel - Mesa, Arizona|
|Red-Necked Phalarope - Gila Bend, AZ|
|Blackpoll Warbler - Chandler, AZ|
I spent most of the rest of September looking for a Sora. I tried a few different places, but no luck. Even one spot where 4 were seen at the same time in the middle of the afternoon out in the open. But on 3 or 4 separate trips I never saw or heard any. Then my kids started a long Autumn break at the beginning of October, 2 weeks off school. So the family decided to go back to Albuquerque to see the International Balloon Fiesta and visit some old friends. On Sunday October 2nd a report of a Lesser (aka Mongollian) Sand-Plover was seen in Northern Arizona, just east of Flagstaff. This bird is rare for Attu, let alone the middle of Arizona. A first state record and the first inland record of the Asian Species in the USA. It also happened to be just off I-40, the route that we would be taking home from ABQ. I spent the next day watching the reports still coming in and crossing my fingers that it would remain for just one more day, which it did.
Tuesday morning, October 4th, we left New Mexico after spending the morning watching the balloons launching on a beautiful fall day. We made our way West and I kept an eye on my inbox and talked my wife into making a quick detour. After leaving I-40 and driving through the Navajo Nation and town of Leupp, we left the paved road and followed a sandy track to the muddy puddles where the bird was located. We pulled up and my kids jumped out to run around. I begged them to stay away from the water and not to throw any rocks in. I also noticed a couple of other birders already there. I walked up and anticlimatically saw my 400th ABA bird, it was the only wader near the water.
|Lesser Sand-Plover - Round Ceder Lake, Leupp AZ|
|Round Ceder Lake - Navajo Nation, Arizona|
|Chestnut-Sided Warbler - Chandler, AZ|
I do want to apologize for sounding like such a lister, but we move so often that I want to see what I can see in as short a time as possible. But it is really fun to twitch those rare-birds.
Thanks for making it this far.