The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. We finally finished working on the van and it looks awesome, in our unbiased opinion. We are really happy with how it turned out (check out the birding mobile page for more photos and updates) and we cannot wait to be in Colombia. In other exciting news Josh’s article is out in The American Birding Associations Birder’s Guide Magazine. Check out his article about finding the rarest of the rare birds in Middle America. http://bg.aba.org/i/477970-mar-2015/12
Before we hit the road we could not resist a quick trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit our favorite haunts. We had incredible weather and enjoyed it immensely. When we got back to San Diego we had just a few days to wrap everything up and head to Houston to ship the van. En route we stopped in Tucson to visit friends and see a few birds. We both were on a mission to see Bendire’s Thrasher which has sort of been my nemesis bird. A quick check of eBird showed that Bendire’s Thrasher’s are seen with some regularity west of Tucson on Mile Wide Road west of Saguaro National Park. By the time we made it out to the area the wind picked up but I could hear a faint song of a thrasher in the distance. As we walked closer we found the culprit sitting high in a mesquite tree singing away. A double and triple check of the field marks revealed a Bendire’s Thrasher! Nice!
I even managed to get a decent recording despite the strong winds by using the van as a wind shield (another nice feature of the new birding mobile). We also stopped for a quick walk in Saguaro National Park. We saw all of the local highlights including Gilded Flicker, Pyrrhuloxia, Cactus Wren, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Black-throated Sparrow.
We were also rewarded with a migrant Gray Vireo! Not a very common sighting out in the desert.
We bid farewell to all in Tucson and made a pit-stop in the Chiracahua Mountains before starting the long 2-day drive to Houston. The Chiracahuas never disappoint; what a lovely place. We were treated to several Arizona Woodpeckers and a few first of spring Painted Redstarts, a Blue-throated Hummingbird as well as Green-tailed Towhee, Yellow-eyed Junco, Bridled Titmice, and more.
I am really glad we got a little bit of birding in before the long grueling drive to Houston. As soon as we arrived we met the shippers and started the paperwork. We worked with Horizon Auto Shipping to ship the van and everyone at Horizon was super helpful. We will post more shipping details for those interested when the whole process is finished. But in bigger news, We loaded the van into a container today and said goodbye to our birding mobile until Cartagena, Colombia.
We will be arriving in Cartagena on the 29th and will pick up the van on the 5th. Then let the birding adventures begin!