David's Photos

Texas, New Mexico, Arizona - July 2007

July is a great time to bird these areas, but then again they are great at any time of year. One thing you should know though, the LRGV is like a sauna in summer. During our visit, the temperature ranged from 75F (24C) on rainy mornings to 100F (38C) on sunny afternoons. The humidity was always between 60 and 100%, causing heat indexes up to 110F (43C). In the deserts of the three states, early mornings were about 70F (21C), and sunny afternoons were usually 100-110F (38-43C), although there is little humidity, and it doesn't feel as bad. It really heats up fast though, and by 10 a.m. it can be well above 90F (32C). The lowest temperature during our trip was 65F (18C), up in the mountains, and the highest was over 110F (43C). Make sure to have a lot of liquids if you go. As for sunscreen, we didn't bring any, and we didn't get burnt, although if you don't have a tan, or plan on going swimming a lot in the afternoon, I'd definitely recommend bringing some.

15 days isn't all that long, especially when you have that much ground to cover, and the trip was mostly to see as much as possible, not for any one species. For the trip, I used the "FalconGuide: Birding Texas", which covers all of Texas. I would recommend the ABA's Birding the LRGV though, it was sold out when we tried to order it. In Arizona, I used the "Birder's Guide to Southeastern Arizona", also from the ABA. Both were very useful for finding the birds, as well as www.birdingonthe.net for info on rarities. I've included the driving distances as usual. We ended up driving 1940 miles (3123 km) on one car, and 578 miles (931 km) on the other, for a total of 2518 miles (4054 km) driven, plus the 48 miles (77 km) we did in the taxi on the way to and from the airport. All flying distances are approximate, as we don't have access to an odometer (if planes even have them). The total flying distance was about 3895 miles (6271 km).

The scenery for the trip went from not much in Texas, to pretty nice in New Mexico, to spectacular in Arizona. The 'sky islands' of SE Arizona create not only a unique place for birds, but a unique scenery as well. With the very local thunderstorms, rainbows, flats, and mountains, it's just incredible.

July 3 - Sault Ste. Marie, ON - Chippewa Co. Airport, MI - Detroit, MI - Houston, TX - Corpus Christi, TX - South Padre Island, TX - 24+284+1096+195+170 mi.

We got up at 3:45 a.m., to be picked up at 4:15, and off to the airport. Our flight was at 6:30, but you're supposed to be there at least an hour in advance. While sitting in the airport, the sun rose, and the first bird of the trip was a Sandhill Crane lifting off from beside the tarmac. After three flights, and 8 hours, we were in Corpus Christi, and renting the car - a Ford Taurus. Not exactly the greatest vehicle on earth, but it got us at least partway through the trip. You'll soon find out why I say partway... Along the way, from airport to airport, I managed to pick up Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow (Detroit), European Starling, Great-tailed Grackle, Rock Pigeon, and Cattle Egret (Houston). Not exactly mind-boggling birds, but at least the Great-tailed Grackle was a lifer, and #350 for my ABA list. Cattle Egret was also new for the year. Once on the road, in the rain no less, the birding began to pick up. Between Corpus Christi and Harlingen, I managed to pick up 26 additional species for the trip, and nine lifers. Some of the better birds along this stretch of road were Chihuahuan Raven, Couch's Kingbird, Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Cave Swallow, Harris's Hawk, and Crested Caracara, all lifers for me. Then it was into Harlingen to buy groceries, and check Pendleton Park for parrots. We had no luck with the parrots, as it was a bit early, but we still had a ways to drive, and couldn't wait until dark. I managed to find three lifers in the park however; Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Inca Dove, and Great Kiskadee, which would prove to be fairly common birds in the valley.
Once we were closer to the island, some water birds became apparent, as huge flocks of Cattle Egrets went by to roost, and Brown Pelicans flew over the car. Crossing the bridge found Royal, Least, and Forster's Terns, and the hotel looked out over a mudflat, which had Willet and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Laughing Gulls were also everywhere around the coast. The day ended with 41 species, and 15 lifers.

July 4 - South Padre Island + Sabal Palm Grove Sanctuary - 100 mi.

Today started a little later than I would have liked, as the hotel didn't serve breakfast until 7. I was up around 5:30, finding it hard to sleep, and was out scanning the mudflats for birds. I did manage to find several shorebirds; Willet, Long-billed Curlew, Wilson's Plover, Snowy Plover, and Killdeer, as well as a few peeps that were too far to see, as well as a few waders; Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and Cattle Egret. We went for breakfast at the 7 a.m. opening time, only to find the door locked. By the way, breakfast was on the 4th floor, not the bottom as is usual. So we went to the front desk to ask if they had moved the breakfast. They said no, it's in the room on the 4th floor. We asked why it was locked, and she told us they were having some problem with the juice, so they couldn't open it. They were going to take another 40 mins to get it opened, so we just left. We ended up eating at a Whataburger, which I would recommend you don't try...it was pretty gross. On the drive to Brownsville, we passed a huge marshy area, where I saw Roseate Spoonbill, Snowy and Great Egret, White-faced Ibis, and many other birds. We got into Brownsville shortly after 8, to try and find the Tamaulipas Crow pair which was nesting. After a few minutes, a guy drove into the parking lot and threw out some food, which got the crows to come in right away. Had good looks, but not so good shots, as the camera needed some time to get used to the humidity, and the crows wouldn't allow close approach (by me at least). I decided to skip the Yellow-green Vireo spot, as I could probably see at Sabal Palm, where I immediately didn't find it... Our time at Sabal Palm wasn't all that pleasant, paying $13 for three people to be sucked dry by mosquitos for an hour as we almost ran through the park. The only place where the mosquitos didn't bother us was at the blind over the resaca, where there was some wind. The reason for all the mosquitos was that southern Texas had been receiving huge amounts of rain from massive thunderstorms which had come in two weeks before we got there...and are still there as I am writing this (July 19). They caused quite a bit of flooding, and we did see some houses partially submerged. It also created a few tornados, one of which touched down just 10 miles from where we were, although it was a few hours after we were there. The rain also meant that the 'dry' resaca had tons of water in it, and it harboured Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Green Heron, Great Kiskadee, and the only Green Kingfisher of the trip, as well as the only Least Grebes of the trip, two families of them. Some other lifers from here, primarily heard, were Bronzed Cowbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Olive Sparrow, Green Jay, White-tipped Dove, Black-crested Titmouse, and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. I also managed to find my first White-eyed Vireo of the year here. On the way out, we stopped at a field to take a picture of some crop, which we still don't know what it is, and I saw my first Common Ground-Dove for the ABA. As we pulled back on to the road, we saw flashing lights behind us. It was a border patrol car, and they pulled us over and asked for our passports. Then, seeing that we were Canadians, the person asked us to pop the trunk. We did, and asked why we had been pulled over. They explained that it was a high-risk area for people picking up aliens, and since we had pulled off beside a field, assumed that was what we were doing. Then they said goodbye, and went off to find some aliens. We headed back to South Padre. On the way, we stopped by a bunch of fishermen, who were working near a large mudflat. Out on the flat were Black-necked Stilts, Great and Snowy Egrets, Black Skimmers, Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls, and a lone Herring Gull. In a field nearby was the Lillian's race of Eastern Meadowlark. Back on the island, we found a Reddish Egret sitting near the bridge, and at the top end of the island, Gull-billed, Royal, Sandwich, Least, and Forster's Terns, along with Willet and American Oystercatcher flew by within a few feet, of course when I didn't have the camera on me... Then Jason and Lisa went parasailing, while I sat on the boat and took photos of them. Later, at the Convention Centre, I managed to find Common Moorhen, Sandwich, Royal, and Least Terns, Tricolored Heron, Black-necked Stilt, Snowy Egret, and a few Killdeer and Willets working the flats. Then it was back to the hotel, and off to the 4th of July fireworks show. It was pretty incredible, especially since the population of South Padre Island is only 2 400, and their fireworks were about 100 times better than ours, in a town of 75 000 people. The population of South Padre grows overnight, as thousands of people come to see the fireworks, from the nearby towns that don't have any. Today ended with 66 species, and 24 lifers.

July 5 - South Padre Island + Laguna Atascosa - Santa Ana + Weslaco - 176 mi.

I was up early again, and out scanning the mudflats. Seemingly all of the waders and shorebirds had disappeared, being replaced with a juvenile White Ibis. This may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that it was raining...again. It managed to rain all morning, and didn't stop until just after we left Laguna Atascosa. Some of the other birds on or over the flats were Common Nighthawk, Cave and Cliff Swallows, Royal Tern, and Brown Pelican. Then it was off to the refuge. Along the way we found a few Harris's Hawks in the rain. At the refuge, we paid the fee, and decided to go on the 15-mile wildlife drive, instead of walking around in the rain. Some of the birds near the start of the drive were Common Ground-Dove, White-faced Ibis, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, White-tipped Dove, and Olive Sparrow. On the drive itself, my first lifer was a Greater Roadrunner, running along the road. Some other birds along the road were Horned Lark, White-eyed Vireo, and many Eastern Meadowlarks. Then we came upon a flooded field on one side, and a small lake with many mudflats on the other. There were quite a few waders here, including Tricolored Heron, Snowy and Great Egrets, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Wilson's Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Willet, and Greater Yellowlegs. Further along, some Long-billed Thrashers and Inca Doves showed up, and at the next water, now along Laguna Madre, were Least Tern, Great Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Cattle and Reddish Egrets, Black Skimmer, and Black-bellied Plover. Back inland, some new birds for my life list were Northern Bobwhite, Botteri's Sparrow, White-tailed Hawk, and Brown-crested Flycatcher, along with some new ones for the day - Long-billed Curlew, White-tailed Kite, Lark Sparrow, and Gull-billed Tern. The drive out to Osprey Overlook yielded Plain Chachalaca, Groove-billed Ani, Mottled Duck, and Crested Caracara. Then it was back to the island to pick up our stuff, and off to the Casa Santa Ana. Along the way, we saw American Oystercatcher, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Sandwich Tern, and some other less noteworthy birds. Around the Casa were Dickcissel, many Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, and an adult male Altamira Oriole. We went into Weslaco to try and find the parrots, which we did. Green Parakeets were nesting, and a single Red-crowned Parrot was present just before sunset. 81 species, 11 lifers.

July 6 - Santa Ana - Mission + Bentsen - 59 mi.

The day started out with a Dickcissel, singing outside the Casa in the early morning. It was quickly followed by Couch's Kingbird, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Common Nighthawk, and Red-winged Blackbird. After a quick breakfast, we headed off to Santa Ana NWR, where we found Plain Chachalaca, Black-crested Titmouse, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, and Purple Martin right at the entrance, along with a lot of House Sparrows. We paid the fee, and were soon on the trails. Some of the birds along the dike were White-tipped, Inca, and White-winged Doves, Olive Sparrow, White-eyed Vireo, Groove-billed Ani, and Carolina Wren. On the Willow Lakes trail, I found a pair of Clay-colored Robins, with the male singing. This was my #400 for the ABA area, and a much better milestone than the grackle. At Willow Lake, some of the birds present were Tricolored Heron, American Coot, Sora, and Snowy Egret. Further along, we had our first view of the Rio Grande river, Mexico, and with it, a Neotropic Cormorant that flew across the border, allowing it onto my Mexico list as well. On Pintail Lake was a Ringed Kingfisher, a flying(!) Least Bittern, and a Mottled Duck. This was my only good view of a Least Bittern (ever), and I watched it fly almost all the way across the lake. Back near the entrance was an Altamira Oriole. Then it was off to Mission, and Bentsen State Park. We stayed in and around Mission for the afternoon, then went to Bentsen a little before sunset, to try for some night birds. Some of the pre-dark birds there were Common Ground-Dove, Cave Swallow, Green Jay, Altamira Oriole, and Olive Sparrow. Once it got dark, Lesser Nighthawk, Great Horned Owl, Common Pauraque, and Eastern Screech-Owl came out and started calling. I managed to call in the Great Horned, allowing me my first-ever looks at this great bird. Walking along the road flushed two Pauraques, which flew right past my head in the twilight. The nighthawk and screech-owl remained heard-only. 50 species, 4 lifers.

July 7 - Mission + Bentsen - Del Rio - 340 mi.

Today started out with a few Common Nighthawks flying around the hotel, along with Purple Martin, and the usual 'dirt birds'. We then drove back to Bentsen, to try our luck with the morning birds. Along the way, we managed to find Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mourning and White-winged Doves, and many Couch's Kingbirds. Near the entrance to Bentsen were Killdeer, Olive Sparrow, Cave and Bank Swallows, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Green Jay. Walking down the road into the park found us White-tipped Dove, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, a family of Gray Hawks, and a few of the more common Valley birds. We decided to walk along the main road, all the way down to the river. Along the way, the resaca wasn't very productive, with only a Green Heron on it, and an Altamira Oriole in a nearby tree. Further down the road, we heard two Clay-colored Robins singing, and a few Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets. In a scrubby field off of the main road, two Painted Buntings were singing, allowing decent looks. Some other birds along the road were Greater Roadrunner, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Common Ground-Dove, and Long-billed Thrasher. Then we took the trail down to the river, hoping to see a Muscovy or an Anhinga. It didn't happen, although I did get one lifer - Bewick's Wren, and a few Groove-billed Anis. By this time it was insanely hot, and as we had been forced to wear jeans to keep off the bugs, we were all drenched. It was literally like I had been swimming in my clothes. We headed back to the car, to get changed and have a cold drink (our bottles were empty by this time). Then it was on the road again, headed for Del Rio. Along the way, we stopped at Los Ebanos, and crossed into Mexico on the only hand-pulled ferry left in the world. On the way back to the highway, in Sullivan City, we stopped for gas. Now, normally this would be of no interest, except that a pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves came in for a drink at a puddle nearby, which were a lifer for me. The next stop was Roma, to try and find some interesting birds at the Roma Bluffs World Birding Centre. The only birds there were a Great Egret and the first Black Vulture of the trip. Not exactly the Red-billed Pigeons I had been hoping for, but still decent, as I only saw two Black Vultures on the entire trip. Then it was off to San Ygnacio, where we didn't find the seedeaters, but did get our shoes covered in a few inches of mud. Some other birds along the highway were Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris's Hawk, Crested Caracara, White-tailed Kite, Ringed Kingfisher, and Western Kingbird. Close to Del Rio, I got my last lifer of the day, a Black-throated Sparrow by the roadside. 57 species, 6 lifers.

July 8 - Del Rio - Carlsbad - 415 mi.

Today was pretty much spent driving, didn't get much birding in except what I could see from the car. Some of the more interesting birds in Texas were Chimney Swift, Cave Swallow, Pyrrhuloxia, Loggerhead Shrike, Lesser Goldfinch, Cassin's Sparrow, Scaled Quail, Burrowing Owl, Bullock's Oriole, and Cassin's Kingbird, most of which were lifers. We did stop to see the Burrowing Owls, I saw one perched on top of a pole near where they were supposed to be. Once we crossed into New Mexico, the birds were pretty much the same as in the deserts of west Texas, three additions to the day list were Barn Swallow, Western Meadowlark, and Eurasian Collared-Dove. Our priority now was to go and see the famous Carlsbad Caverns. On the entrance road, a Canyon Wren sang, and near the caves were a lot of Cave Swallows (go figure). As for the caves, they were absolutely incredible. The cave goes 750 ft. underground, and more than a mile into the hillside. We decided to start at the natural entrance, so we could walk down instead of taking the elevator. The cave was nice on that side, but the main attraction was the Big Room. This is the best you can get without booking a tour, and it in itself was definitely worth the entrance fee. There were a ton of different formations, and the main ones are somewhat lit up for the tourists. It took me a while to get the hang of photography down there, as I didn't have a tripod with me, and you need a 4-8 second exposure to get enough light into the camera. The solution I came up with was to put the camera down on a rock, and try not to shake it. This worked most of the time, as long as there were level rocks to put the camera on, but when there weren't, I couldn't take any pics. I'll put some of the cave photos up on the travel site, see the link on the home page. The day ended with the after-sunset bat flight, which was pretty incredible as well, with hundreds of thousands of tiny bats coming out of the cave, making a vortex to gain altitude, and then flying off to catch bugs. 36 species, 8 lifers.

July 9 - Carlsbad - Portal - 418 mi.

This was another day that was mostly spent driving, with more stops though. Some of the more interesting birds around the town of Carlsbad as we were leaving were Eurasian Collared-Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Loggerhead Shrike, Western Meadowlark, Swainson's Hawk, and Cave Swallow. On the road, the first town we went through was Artesia, which was our turnoff to head for Arizona. Two lifers that I saw in this small town were Mississippi Kite and Black-chinned Hummingbird. On the road, heading for White Sands as our first stop of the day, I picked up Cassin's Sparrow, American Avocet, and some of the more common desert birds, and once in the mountains saw Violet-Green Swallows and Chipping Sparrows. Coming back down, over the other side of the mountains, there was a 6 or 7% downgrade for 16 miles! The interesting part was that there was only one runaway truck ramp, and it was 10 miles down the hill, not much use if your truck's brakes don't work at mile 6 or 7... Anyway, back in the desert, some new birds for the day were Scaled Quail, American Kestrel, and Chihuahuan Raven. Then we stopped at White Sands National Monument, which is right beside White Sands missile range... The sand there really is white, and once you are in the middle of the monument, it is blinding. It's just like the snow up here in the winter, people were even sledding on it, and a grader was plowing the roads. I only saw a few birds in the monument, probably due to the heat and lack of food, being Say's Phoebe and a Black-throated Sparrow family. Then it was back on the road, where we were soon in Arizona, heading up the road to Portal. We checked in at the Portal Peak Lodge, and I was quickly out finding new birds. Gambel's Quail, Acorn Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, White-throated Swifts, Lucy's Warbler, Bell's Vireo, and Curve-billed Thrashers were all easy to find around the lodge, as well as the common House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, and Northern Cardinals. After we had something to eat, we headed up into the famous Cave Creek Canyon to look for owls. On the way up, the road was a good spot for cottontail rabbits, and a herd of about ten Javelinas went across the road in front of us. In the canyon, we managed to see some Bridled Titmice, Black Phoebes, Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Mexican Jays, Dusky-capped and Brown-crested Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, a Blue-throated Hummingbird, and some Western Wood-Pewees. It was supposed to get dark around 8:30, but our clocks said 9:30 by the time it got dark, and as we later found out, Arizona is actually 3 hours behind Eastern time, not 2 as Mountain time would suggest, as they don't like Daylight Savings Time for some reason... So we gave up on the owls, as we had to be up early the next morning. On the way out, we managed to hear the arizonae subspecies of the Whip-poor-will, which does sound a lot different from the eastern one. The day ended with 56 species, and 15 lifers.

July 10 - Portal + Chiricahuas - Sierra Vista - 177 mi.

I got up at what we thought was 5:15 this morning (actually 4:15), and went out to hear the dawn chorus around the lodge, while waiting for mom to get ready. Some of the birds around between 5:30 and 6 (4:30 and 5), when it was starting to get light, were Bullock's Oriole, Acorn Woodpecker, Canyon Towhee, Gambel's Quail, Violet-Green Swallow, Say's Phoebe, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, and Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Once mom was out, we walked down the road to Dave Jasper's house and the Big Thicket. We had decided to let my brother sleep in for once, and took this nice little side trip. Some birds along the road were Bell's Vireo, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Blue Grosbeak, Bushtit, Lucy's Warbler, Pyrrhuloxia, and a lot of Gambel's Quail. We got to Dave's place just after 7 (6). The sign on the fence said that it was open at 6:30 a.m., so we walked in. He met us coming down the driveway, and said "You're early!". We asked him about this, as our watch said 7, and he asked if we had come from New Mexico. We said yes, and he explained that Arizona doesn't recognize Daylight Savings Time, and it was actually 6 a.m. He then said that we were still welcome to watch the feeders, to try and see the Crissal Thrashers, this being pretty much the only reliable spot to actually see them. We didn't see the thrashers, but did hear some. Some other birds at the feeders were Western Scrub-Jay, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Bronzed Cowbird, and Hooded Oriole. Then it was actually 7, and we had to leave, to get back for the 7:30 breakfast. Dave asked if we were staying in Portal for a while, as he was heading to Tucson to pick up the kids for Camp Chiricahua, and would be back later with a bunch of people my age. Unfortunately, we weren't and we had to keep going to keep up the schedule. He offered us a ride back to town, which we declined, as we wanted to walk. One new bird for the day was all we got on the way back, a singing Botteri's Sparrow. In town, we ate breakfast, and checked out, then headed to the post office to look for the Elf Owl, which we immediately found, with his little head poking out of the nest hole. Then it was off to hit the road to Paradise, where we found Scott's Oriole and Juniper Titmouse right where the book said, along with Canyon Wren, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Loggerhead Shrike. Then we headed back down the road, and up into Cave Creek Canyon, heading towards the South Fork. The birds along the main road were pretty much the same as the evening before, but as always in the morning, there was more activity. Some additions to the evening before were: Plumbeous Vireo, Band-tailed Pigeon, Bewick's Wren, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Arizona Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, Western Tanager, and Northern Flicker. Then it was up the road to the South Fork, where I managed to find Hutton's Vireo, heard a calling Elegant Trogon, and found a Warbling Vireo. Then it was up the road, to the famous Rustler Park. We stopped near the junction to eat lunch, and I wandered back down the road a bit to where I had heard some birds calling. It turned out to be a fairly large mixed flock of Grace's Warblers, Brown Creepers, Mexican Chickadees, Red Crossbills, Pygmy and Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins. Mexican Chickadees and Grace's Warblers were two species I had been hoping to see, so I was pretty excited. Then we got into Rustler Park itself, and quickly found Yellow-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warblers, House Wrens, Hermit Thrushes, Steller's Jays, more Mexican Chickadees, and a pair of Olive Warblers, another one I'd been hoping to find. One unexpected species was a Wild Turkey, probably one of the re-introduced ones. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, and didn't get to Barfoot to try and find a Short-tailed Hawk...maybe next time. As it was, we headed off to spend a few hours at Chiricahua National Monument. On the way there, a Virginia's Warbler was heard out the window. The monument, once in, is pretty spectacular, with pillars of rock everywhere. When the time came, it was hard to leave, but we had to get to Sierra Vista before it got too dark. Some of the interesting birds at the monument were Mexican Chickadee, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and my #450 for the ABA area - a singing Black-chinned Sparrow that I didn't get to see, and which, according to the guidebook, is only reliable in the Chiricahuas, but not at this site. On the way to Sierra Vista, I picked up four new birds for the day, being Swainson's Hawk, Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel, and Lesser Nighthawk. Today was the highest single-day species count for the entire trip, with 86, and 18 lifers.

July 11 - San Pedro River + Carr Canyon - 41 mi.

We were again up early, to be at the San Pedro House by about 6:45. We lucked out, and just as we were heading out on the trail, a guy met up with us and asked if we were there for the 7 a.m. birding walk (held on the second Wednesday of each month). We said sure, might as well since we're here, which proved to be a very good decision. He had only been into birding/nature for a few years, but he knew quite a bit, and he knew a lot about the plants, insects, mammals, reptiles, etc, and how they were all related and worked together. Our group was also great, with a lot of humour going around, and making it an all-round enjoyable morning. He asked where everyone was from -- mostly around Southeast Arizona, us being the exception. He asked if there was anything I especially wanted to see, which there was, being Tropical Kingbird. He said that we'd definitely see them, there was a pair nesting at one of the ponds. Some of the birds around the house and the flats were Gila Woodpecker, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Canyon Towhee, Vermilion Flycatcher, Say's Phoebe, Blue Grosbeak, and the regulars. Once we got into the cottonwoods, the birds changed, as expected. Bewick's Wren, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Yellow-breasted Chat were all present, along with a few juvie Great Horned Owls that gave everyone great views. Back out in the scrub, some additions for the day list were Swainson's Hawk, Botteri's Sparrow, and an unexpected flock of Phainopepla. A little further, we got to the pond where the kingbirds were hanging out. Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Lesser Nighthawk, and Abert's Towhees were all new for the day. Then we did find the Tropical Kingbird pair, flycatching over the pond. Also on and around the pond were American Kestrel, Black Phoebe, Great Blue Heron, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Lucy's Warbler, and Northern Flicker. Then we met the banders, and watched them for a while, banding Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Abert's Towhee, Yellow Warbler, and Lucy's Warbler. Then it was back into the cottonwoods where a male Summer Tanager was singing. We heard a Gray Hawk, and looked up to find it engaging a Red-tail in a dogfight. We watched that for quite a while, until the Red-tail gave up and flew away. Shortly after, a Western Wood-Pewee was singing in a tree, and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker was working nearby. Back at the pond, I got my first views of the 'Mexican' Mallard, which is only found in Arizona north of Mexico. By this time it was getting pretty hot, and we decided to head back. Turkey Vulture and Curve-billed Thrasher were the only birds of note around the House. We thanked Alan, who mentioned that he was leading a hike the next morning over at Ramsey Canyon, which was where we were going anyways, so we took him up on his offer. But, that's tomorrow. We headed back to the hotel to cool off and get something to eat, then headed back out, this time to Carr Canyon, a short drive south of Sierra Vista. As we climbed in elevation, the Huachuca birds started becoming apparent, as well as the road becoming worse. Mexican Jays, Acorn Woodpeckers, Canyon Wrens, Dusky-capped Flycatchers, White-throated Swifts, and Bridled Titmice were all seen along the road. Also seen on the road was the pavement becoming gravel, and then the gravel becoming bumpy, with largish rocks sticking out. We made it almost to the top in the Taurus, before having to give up on one particularly bad spot -- turns out it was the worst on the road. Talking to people afterwords, they all agreed it was a terrible road and were somewhat surprised we had made it that far -- even tried it in -- a Taurus... Anyway, my target birds for up here were Hepatic Tanager, Red-faced Warbler, and Buff-breasted Flycatcher...of which I managed to find one, being the Buff-breasted Flycatcher on the way into the campground. They are easy to find by their call, and unlike most Empidonax flycatchers, really stand out in a crowd. Some of the other higher-elevation species present were Western Tanager, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-eyed Junco, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, and Band-tailed Pigeon. Then it was time to go before it started raining, as a large thunderstorm was coming over the mountains. We headed back to the hotel to get supper, groceries, and some much-needed sleep. Today yielded 68 species and 6 lifers.

July 12 - Sierra Vista + Miller, Ramsey Canyons - Patagonia - 109 mi.

Today was another early one, as I was hoping to get in at least an hour at Miller Canyon before getting to Ramsey at 8:30 a.m. to meet Alan for the 9 a.m. walk. The birds around the hotel were pretty much what I expected in the middle of a city -- House Sparrow, European Starling, Great-tailed Grackle, Rock Pigeon, White-winged Dove, but with the exception being a Curve-billed Thrasher hanging around the parking lot. After a 15-20 min. drive, we were heading into Miller Canyon. Mexican Jays, Spotted Towhees, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, and Plumbeous Vireos were all around the entrance to the Beatty's Guest Ranch and orchard. We payed the $5 fee to go to the C.A.S. (controlled access site), to try and see the White-eared Hummingbird that had been there all spring and summer. After a 40-minute wait, and very few hummingbirds -- a couple Broad-billed, Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, and one Magnificent -- the male White-eared Hummingbird came in and sat on a branch, giving great looks, and even a decent photo op.  Some of the other birds around this part of the property were Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, Western Wood-Pewee, Bridled Titmouse, and Cassin's Kingbird. Then it was 8, and time to head out. We thanked the owner, Tom Beatty, and headed for the famous Ramsey Canyon. Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Northern Flicker were all seen on the entrance road or around the parking lot. Then we met up with Alan and went down to the hummingbird feeders to look for the Berylline Hummingbird that had been there the day before. We had no luck with it, but did find Acorn Woodpeckers and a Blue-throated Hummingbird. We headed back to the visitor centre, where he showed, and named, most of the bugs on the doorways. Then we went and waited for the rest of the group behind the centre, and he showed me a pewee nest, and both black-chinned and blue-throated hummer nests -- huge size difference. The group eventually showed up, and most of them were birders, from Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, and us from Ontario. We headed up the trail, where we found Painted Redstart, Bewick's Wren, Arizona Woodpecker, and some Bushtits, along with the same species that were around the visitor centre. The couple from Michigan found a male Hepatic Tanager, one of my targets, high up in a tree singing. Everyone got good views, and we continued up the trail to find Canyon Wren, White-throated Swifts, a few juvenile Cooper's Hawks that posed nicely, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher. Alan talked about all the other things that were going on in the canyon, and how they were hoping for a major flood so that more cottonwoods could grow. He showed us some of the Ramsey Canyon subsp. of the Leopard Frog, that sing underwater, and were almost completely wiped out by a deadly fungus. This used to be the only place in the world that you could find them, but as a precaution against disease, some were moved to other canyons nearby. There are also a lot of deer in Ramsey Canyon, and they are very tame, you can walk almost right up to them. Then the walk was over, and we decided to keep going up the trail with the couple from Michigan to try and find some Red-faced Warblers. We didn't see many birds on the steep hike up, but had eye-level views of a nice Hutton's Vireo. Once we were over the top, the hiking was all downhill, and we met some people heading back who had seen them just a few minutes ago, and told us where to look. This proved very useful, and right when we got there, I heard some chipping from the trees, and caught a glimpse of a male Red-faced Warbler. We waited around to try and get better views, which we did after about 10 mintues, and while waiting had a Canyon Wren hopping around some boulders nearby, and got another target, being a Cordilleran Flycatcher who stopped in briefly. The views from this spot were very nice, looking up the canyon towards some cliffs with a lot of White-throated Swifts flying around. Then we had to head back down the mountain, as we hadn't eaten anything since about 6 a.m., and it was now 1:30 p.m. I went back to the feeders for a while, where I again had no luck with the Berylline, but did see a family of Wild Turkeys. Then we headed out, and south, to Coronado National Monument, and Montezuma Pass. The views from up here were spectacular, looking both down across the Sonoran Desert into Mexico and over to the Sierra Madres, and back towards Sierra Vista and the Chiricahuas. You remember back at the start of this, when I said that the car got us at least partway through the trip? Well, this was where it finally gave up. The Hertz people had overfilled the coolant container, and the housing managed to crack all the way through, spilling quite a bit of engine coolant all over the place. Luckily, there were some border guards up there who weren't doing much, and let us use their cell phone to call Hertz and arrange something. We eventually got through to someone who could help us, and we decided to head back down the mountain, to the visitor centre, as the place was closing soon and there was a thunderstorm pouring rain on us. We waited at the ranger station, where they were expecting us, and worked something out with the rental agents. They tried to get us to come back to Tucson in a taxi, to pick up another car, but we managed to convince them to send us another car, as we didn't want to go to Tucson, as we already had a hotel booked in Patagonia. They eventually agreed, and said that it would take a few hours. They eventually arrived, an hour ahead of schedule, and we got switched into another Taurus, but we had been downgraded...this one had no remote, no temperature gauge, and no gps system...the only one that really mattered was the remote, but it was merely an inconvenience to us. Then, in the rain, we headed back to Sierra Vista for supper, and drove to Patagonia in the dark. When we got there, we found that the hotel office was closed, and locked up for the night. The sign on the door said "closed at 9", and it was 9:10...they couldn't wait even though we had reservations and they knew we were coming...after much door banging and yelling, we eventually got somebody to call the owner to let us in, and they were a little upset that we hadn't called to let them know we'd be 10 mins. late...even though we had no phone, and our car had broken down. By the way, the name of the hotel is the Stage Stop Inn, I'd definitely recommend you do not stay there (Nogales is only 18 miles away!!!) -- it was the most expensive place we stayed, by over $30 a night, and it had no fridge, an expensive breakfast, a pool that hadn't been cleaned for months, only 1 towel -- we rented a room for 3 people -- and bad customer service...more on that later though. Today started out pretty good, didn't end so well, but did find me 46 species and 6 lifers.

July 13 - Patagonia + Ramsey, Ash Canyons - 156 mi.

We were again up early (but let the brother sleep in), to be at the famous Patagonia Roadside Rest Stop before it got very warm out. The only bird of interest on the way down were some Phainopeplas, and there were a lot of them at the rest stop as well. The list grew quickly, as the stop has a lot of birds on any given day, and as soon as I stepped out of the car, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Lucy's Warbler, Bell's Vireo, Gray Hawk, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bewick's Wren, Thick-billed Kingbird, Summer Tanager, and Hooded Oriole all made themselves apparent. My only two targets for here were Thick-billed Kingbird and Varied Bunting, both of which I saw within about 5 minutes, and both were nice adults, the bunting being a male. In the 20 minutes or so that I was at the stop, I managed to find over 30 species, pretty good for July in Arizona. Some of the other, more interesting ones, were: Broad-billed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Peregrine Falcon, Black-throated Sparrow, and Yellow-breasted Chat. I spent some time across the road, looking for the becards, but there weren't any this year, and no rarities that I could see to make up for that. Then we headed back to Patagonia to eat breakfast, at the expensive hotel restaurant, which actually had good food, one redeeming quality. Then it was off to the Paton's, to look for hummers. They have a nice property, all the feeders are numbered, and the have a lot of trees and seed feeders around too. As with Miller and Ramsey Canyons, there weren't many hummers around, owing to the monsoons being over two weeks late. Black-chinned, Broad-billed, and a single Violet-crowned Hummingbird made up the group. Some of the other yard birds were Northern Beardless-Tyrranulet, Western Wood-Pewee, Song Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, and Bronzed Cowbird. Then we headed off to Lake Patagonia, where I picked up some waterbirds, being American Coot, 'Mexican' Mallards, Pied-billed Grebe, Green and Great Blue Herons, Double-crested and Neotropic Cormorants, and some Red-winged Blackbirds. Some of the land birds were Common Ground-Dove, Verdin, Cactus Wren, and Red-tailed Hawk, with the Verdin being a lifer. We went down to the other end of the lake, where there was a desert, a lot of cacti, some dung beetles rolling around their poo balls, and quite a few Varied Buntings singing. Then, as it was getting very hot, we drove back out to Sierra Vista, and ate lunch in the air-conditioned mall, before heading out to Ash Canyon (the place we missed yesterday due to car troubles), to try and find a Lucifer Hummingbird. No luck on the Lucifer, but did have Anna's, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, Black-chinned, Rufous, and an unexpected Violet-crowned Hummingbird. Some other species around the feeders were: Mexican Jays, Greater Roadrunner (attacking chairs), Arizona Woodpecker, Canyon Towhee, and the regular feeder species. Then it was back to Ramsey Canyon, to sit and wait for the Berylline to show up. I waited by the feeders for around two hours, but with no luck. We met up with the couple from Michigan again, who let me in to the guest house, so I could sit right beside the feeders. In the two hours, the better non-hummers were Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Mexican Jay, Painted Redstart, Cooper's Hawk, Plumbeous Vireo, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and the Ramsey usuals. The hummers that came to the feeders were mainly Black-chinned, with a few Broad-billed, Anna's, and singles of Magnificent and Blue-throated. Sitting this close allowed for great looks, and some decent photos, and watching the hummers is fairly amusing, as they battle for feeder rights, sometimes even taking a few feathers out in their fights. If you're ever in SE AZ in the summer, definitely sit near a hummer feeder, and just watch. Unless you don't like hummers, I pretty much guarantee that you won't get bored. Then it was closing time for the park, and we headed back to Patagonia, picking up Swainson's Hawk, Lesser Nighthawk, Cliff Swallow, and a few others on the way back. We tried to get the owners of the hotel to freeze a jug of water for us, as there was no fridge to cool drinks down in, so ice water was the next best thing. They refused for some reason, so we got the dining room to do it for us instead. They were happy to, and we went to bed early, to try and get a good sleep after many days of walking a lot in the heat, on little sleep. Another thing, we had asked for more towels (to add to the one) in the morning, and when they came to clean the room, they had taken them, and replaced them with two towels...even though they knew there were three people staying in the room. You also couldn't watch TV and use a hair dryer or appliance at the same time, as it would blow the circuit. The day ended with 77 species, and 4 lifers.

July 14 - Patagonia - Madera Canyon - 95 mi.

Since I really had nothing left to see around Patagonia, we took it easy today, not birding until we got into Madera. But, that's a ways away. I went to check out of the hotel, and the person at the desk said she needed my mom to sign something. So I went and got her, and it turned out they were trying to charge us an additional $24 for something, apparently they didn't charge us enough at the start ($125 per night). She refused to sign it, and we left, to get our water. The dining room was all locked up, even though it was supposed to be open, due to a water leak. We went around back, and found the kitchen door open. We got someone to get our water, which the person had stuck in the fridge, instead of the freezer...so no cold drinks today. Definitely not a place I'd stay again. A guy noticed we were looking in the window of the dining room, and told us that his place just a few doors down was open. We opted to eat there, instead of waiting around. The food was very good, not expensive, and the people were very friendly, asking us about Ontario and what birds I was seeing down here. We asked them about how to get into Nogales, and they told us just to park at one of the guarded lots that are everywhere (they are). We thanked them, and headed out. Along the road, some of the species were Phainopepla, Black-throated Sparrow, Swainson's Hawk, Curve-billed Thrasher, Bronzed Cowbird, Cassin's Kingbird, and Blue Grosbeak. We parked on the U.S. side at Nogales, and walked across into Mexico, to see the open-air markets. All you have to do is walk through a little turny-thing, like you walk through to get on the subway, except bigger. There's no ID check or anything. We wandered around the downtown area, looking at what people had to sell, mainly touristy-type stuff. They see that you are not Mexican, and try very hard to get you to look at their wares, and buy things. We did end up buying some t-shirts after a while, but politely declined for the most part. After an hour or so, we headed back across to the U.S. side. There really is a fence there, pretty high with barbed wire on the top. There are a lot of crosses on the Mexican side of the fence, probably for everyone who's died trying to get across. On the U.S. side, there are no houses within 200 metres or so of the fence, but the Mexican side is built up right to the fence, showing which side is more concerned. Coming back, the border guards just check to see that you aren't a Mexican citizen, they don't even ask if you bought anything or how long you were there. Then we headed north, on the only highway in the U.S. marked in metric (I-19 south of Tucson), instead of imperial. Apparently they are changing this soon though, so if you want to see it, go now. We stopped in at Green Valley to eat and get some groceries. At the information centre, the lady recommended that we go to the Titan II missile site. It was one of 54 nuclear missile launch sites (18 in AZ, 18 in KS, and 18 in TX), used during the Cold War. They never had to use it, and it's decommissioned now, turned into a tourist site. It's pretty impressive, completely earthquake-proof, even though it's underground, and it's huge. To actually launch the missile takes a lot of work and organization, along with multiple people to ensure it doesn't happen on accident. Definitely recommended for anyone whos interested in that kind of thing. Then we headed up to Madera Canyon, arguably the best and most famous single birding site in Arizona. We stopped at the Proctor Rd. site to find the Black-capped Gnatcatchers, which weren't too hard to find, and didn't seem too concerned that most of the area had been burnt in a recent (less than two weeks before) fire. The whole family was there, and the male wandered around, not at all minding me being there. I just stood still, and he came within 5 feet of me! Unfortunately, he didn't sit still very often, so only one decent pic of him. Some other birds in the area were Bell's Vireo, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Canyon Towhee, and Bewick's Wren. Then we headed up the canyon, to check into the Santa Rita Lodge (highly recommended). They have a lot of feeders up around the place, which attracted Acorn Woodpeckers, Mexican Jays, Broad-billed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, and the usual finches. I ran into a young birder from California there as well, and we wandered up the canyon to look for the Flame-colored Tanager. We heard him singing almost right away just past the Kubos, but it took some searching to find it. We both got great views through his scope (I didn't have mine), but he was too high up for any decent pics without a digiscoping setup. Some other birds in the area were Hutton's Vireo, Hooded Oriole, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Western Tanager, Band-tailed Pigeon, and Cooper's Hawk. We headed back down the canyon, where we waited for a while to see if the resident Elf Owl would poke his head out. He didn't, and Alex had to head off to Scottsdale, and get some supper. I also had to go and eat, after talking to another fellow from California for a while. He showed us some shots of an Elegant Trogon, and a rattlesnake he had found. After supper, I came back out to wait, and this time a guy named Steve from Melbourne, Australia had joined the guy from California, whos name I have forgotten unfortunately. We waited, and waited, and waited...for a while, then it started getting dark. By this time there was a fairly large group of people, most of them non-birders, waiting for the owl to peek out, and take off for the night. For some reason, it didn't happen tonight, although we stayed until it got too dark to see through binocs. A listen outside the cabin managed to find both Whiskered and Western Screech-Owls, but no Elf Owls, although one guy said he'd heard them that night. Today ended with 47 species, and 4 lifers.

July 15 - Madera Canyon - Tucson + Kitt Peak - 137 mi.

Got up early, to be on a guided bird walk. It was just me, Steve from Australia, and the guy who was guiding us (Bob, if I remember correctly). We headed down the canyon, to the Proctor Rd. site, to see the Gnatcatchers. Along the way, and near the cabins, we picked up all three Myiarchus flycatchers that are found in AZ, Bridled Titmouse, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mexican Jay, Canyon Towhee, Broad-billed, Rufous, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Say's Phoebe, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bell's Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Bewick's Wren, and a few others. After we got the gnatcatchers for the day, we wandered around the streambed, and down Proctor Rd. a bit. In doing so, we picked up Bullock's Oriole, Varied Bunting, Black-headed Grosbeak, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Cooper's Hawk, Bushtit, and a Zone-tailed Hawk in with some Turkey Vultures. We went up one of the trails, back towards the lodge, and in a grassy area, heard a Montezuma Quail calling. Bob went back to get the truck, and Steve and I continued up the trail, and then down and across the streambed, to try and see it. It called for a minute, then stopped calling, then called twice more after about 5 minutes, then stopped again. Apparently it didn't want us to find it. We also picked up an Arizona Woodpecker along this stretch. Then we headed back upcanyon, towards the Flame-colored Tanager spot. We found him right away, giving us good looks, but again he was too high up for any decent pictures. Some other birds around were Western Wood-Pewee, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Western Tanager, Hutton's Vireo, and the usual hummers at the feeders. Then the tour was over, and I went back to grab a snack, and we headed up to the top of the road. I had heard that this was the spot to look for Elegant Trogons in the canyon, and within a few minutes, barely 200 m out of the parking lot, I heard one calling, and managed to find it fairly quickly. He didn't sit still, and didn't want me anywhere near him, so no pics, but definitely a great bird. Then we headed out of Madera, towards Tucson. We stopped at the Kitt Peak Observatory on the way, to check out the big telescopes. If you are interested in that type of thing, it'd be pretty cool, and if you reserve a spot, you can go in at night and look through one. As it was, we wandered around, and looked at all the ones that were open to the public. They have a huge underground one that takes pictures of the sun, and it explains how they do it. There weren't all that many birds around, probably due to the number of people and lack of habitat, but the ones I did see were Mexican Jay, Spotted Towhee, Turkey Vulture, and Rock Wren. Then we headed into Tucson, to find our hotel, take a break, get some supper, and some sleep. The day ended with 56 species, 2 lifers.

July 16 - Tucson + Biosphere 2 - 120 mi.

We were again up fairly early, so that we could be at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum right when it opened, and before it got too hot. Along the way, we stopped at the Shannon-Broadway Desert, so that I could find a Rufous-winged Sparrow. Within moments of stepping out of the car, I heard one singing, and walked over to find it. It turned out there were about 4 pairs of them just at this intersection, and I managed to get a decent shot of one, showing the rufous shoulder-patch. Some other birds around were Gila Woodpecker, Gambel's Quail, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, and Curve-billed Thrasher. Then we headed over to the museum. Once you get into the desert, the saguaro cacti are everywhere. It's like a forest of cacti. The desert race of Purple Martins were along the road, along with Cactus Wrens and Northern Cardinals. Once in the museum (actually more like an outdoor zoo/display place), I went to the hummingbird aviary, to get some shots. None of these birds counted on any lists, but it was cool to see them all up close, and get some decent shots. Then I wandered around the desert loop, trying to find two specific birds. I did find them, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and Gilded Flicker, along with Abert's Towhee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Verdin, and Cassin's Kingbird. Then I went into the walk-in aviary, to get some shots of (mainly) desert birds. A lot of the birds in there are pretty ragged, or have toes missing, probably due to all the people that go through it. We stayed here until just after lunch, then headed north of Tucson to the Biosphere 2. It was where some people went and lived in it for 2 years without help from the outside (until the oxygen ran out when the trees didn't produce enough). It was fairly interesting, and it is the only thing like it in the world. Why is it named Biosphere 2 then? Earth is number 1. If you go, definitely take a tour. It can be a little crowded, depending on the day, but it was ok for us, and it was very good. After the tour was done, we wandered around a bit, then headed back towards Tucson, stopping at Sweetwater Wetlands, to try and pick up my last lifer of the trip. There was a massive thunderstorm heading right towards us when we got there, so I didn't bring my camera with me, but instead just ran around the trail until I found a pond. On the way, I almost stepped on a snake, which coiled up, and wasn't a poisonous one fortunately. At the first cell, there were a lot of cattails in the way, but I managed to see 'Mexican' Mallards, Common Moorhens, American Coots, and some Red-winged Blackbirds, one of which was singing a Yellow-headed's song for some reason. At the second cell, I had better luck, and managed to find a pair of my targets -- Cinnamon Teal. There was another pair in the next cell over, and a thorough scan of the very back cell, the overflow ones, managed to find me several hundred 'Mexican' Mallards, along with one normal one, which shouldn't be there, 7 more Cinnamon Teals, quite a few Killdeer, and some peeps that were way over on the other side, too far for binocs. Other birds around the wetlands (sewage lagoons), were some Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats, Barn Swallows, the resident Harris's Hawk, and several hundred House Finches that were eating seeds off some of the reeds. So ended our last day here, with 39 species, and 4 lifers.

July 17 - Tucson - Houston - Detroit - Chippewa Co. Airport - Sault Ste. Marie - 5+940
+1096+195+24 mi.

Today can't really be counted as a day in Arizona, as we had to be at the airport by 8:30 a.m., so didn't get anything done except sleeping and packing up. It was a very long day in airports and on planes, and all of our flights were late for one reason or another. Our plane from Tucson left alright, but coming into Houston, some thunderstorms forced us to circle, and we landed late. These thunderstorms were the same ones that poured on us 2 weeks earlier, and had already been there for the 2 weeks prior to our visit. Since we were late, and didn't have much time between connections anyway, we had to run through Houston, and switch terminals (grr). We got lost trying to find the shuttle between terminals, as everyone we asked gave us different directions, and told us to go different ways... We eventually found it, and got on it just in time. We made it onto our flight just minutes before they closed the doors, and then....sat on the runway for half an hour waiting for the thunderstorm to pass. So, we were late getting into Detroit, and since there was no time to eat in Houston, we hadn't eaten anything since about 7 a.m (it was now after 9 p.m. (6 p.m. in AZ)). We grabbed a sandwich and a drink from a store near our gate, but it wasn't all that filling... Anyway, we made it back to the Sault, just a little late, and got home after midnight. The birds today were just the common ones, plus Curve-billed Thrasher and Cassin's Kingbird. 8 species, 0 lifers.

This amazing trip ended with 232 species, 172 year birds, and 128 lifers. The list is below, with year birds in bold, and ABA lifers marked with a *. Heard-only birds have an (H) after them, and I also marked which state (or country) each species was seen in.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck* TX AZ
Fulvous Whistling-Duck* TX

Mallard (Mexican Duck) AZ
Mottled Duck* TX
Cinnamon Teal* AZ
Plain Chachalaca* TX
Wild Turkey AZ
Scaled Quail* TX NM
Gambel's Quail* AZ
Northern Bobwhite* TX
Montezuma Quail* (H) AZ
Least Grebe* TX
Pied-billed Grebe TX AZ
Brown Pelican TX
Neotropic Cormorant* TX AZ MEX
Double-crested Cormorant AZ
Least Bittern TX
Great Blue Heron TX AZ
Great Egret TX
Snowy Egret TX
Little Blue Heron TX
Tricolored Heron* TX
Reddish Egret* TX
Cattle Egret TX
Green Heron TX AZ
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron TX
White Ibis TX
White-faced Ibis TX
Roseate Spoonbill* TX
Black Vulture TX
Turkey Vulture TX NM AZ MEX
White-tailed Kite* TX
Mississippi Kite* NM
Cooper's Hawk AZ
Harris's Hawk* TX NM AZ
Gray Hawk* TX AZ
Swainson's Hawk NM AZ
White-tailed Hawk* TX
Zone-tailed Hawk* AZ
Red-tailed Hawk (some Krider's, as well as normal and southwest subsp.) TX NM AZ
Crested Caracara* TX
American Kestrel TX NM AZ
Peregrine Falcon AZ
Sora (H) TX
Common Moorhen TX AZ
American Coot TX AZ
Sandhill Crane (in Michigan, but was the first bird of the trip, so I counted it) MI
Black-bellied Plover TX
Snowy Plover* TX
Wilson's Plover* TX (#250 for the year)
Killdeer TX NM AZ
American Oystercatcher* TX
Black-necked Stilt* TX
American Avocet NM
Greater Yellowlegs TX
Willet TX
Long-billed Curlew TX
Laughing Gull TX
Herring Gull TX
Least Tern* TX
Gull-billed Tern* TX
Caspian Tern TX
Black Tern TX
Forster's Tern TX
Royal Tern* TX
Sandwich Tern* TX
Black Skimmer* TX
Rock Pigeon TX NM AZ MEX
Band-tailed Pigeon AZ
Eurasian Collared-Dove* TX NM
White-winged Dove TX NM AZ MEX
Mourning Dove TX NM AZ MEX
Inca Dove* TX AZ MEX
Common Ground-Dove* TX AZ
White-tipped Dove* TX
Green Parakeet* TX
Red-crowned Parrot* TX
Yellow-billed Cuckoo TX NM AZ
Greater Roadrunner* TX NM AZ
Groove-billed Ani* TX
Western Screech-Owl* (H) AZ
Eastern Screech-Owl (H) TX
Whiskered Screech-Owl* (H) AZ
Great Horned Owl TX
Elf Owl* AZ
Burrowing Owl* TX NM
Lesser Nighthawk* TX AZ
Common Nighthawk TX
Common Pauraque* TX
Whip-poor-will (arizonae subsp.) (H) AZ
Chimney Swift TX
White-throated Swift AZ
Broad-billed Hummingbird* AZ
White-eared Hummingbird* AZ
Buff-bellied Hummingbird* TX
Violet-crowned Hummingbird* AZ
Blue-throated Hummingbird* AZ
Magnificent Hummingbird* AZ
Black-chinned Hummingbird* NM AZ
Anna's Hummingbird AZ
Broad-tailed Hummingbird* AZ
Rufous Hummingbird AZ
Elegant Trogon* AZ
Ringed Kingfisher* TX
Green Kingfisher* TX
Acorn Woodpecker AZ
Gila Woodpecker* AZ
Golden-fronted Woodpecker* TX MEX
Ladder-backed Woodpecker* TX NM AZ
Hairy Woodpecker (H) AZ
Arizona Woodpecker* AZ
Northern Flicker (red-shafted) AZ
Gilded Flicker* AZ
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet* TX AZ
Greater Pewee* AZ
Western Wood-Pewee AZ
Cordilleran Flycatcher* AZ
Buff-breasted Flycatcher* AZ
Black Phoebe* AZ
Eastern Phoebe TX
Say's Phoebe* NM AZ
Vermilion Flycatcher AZ
Dusky-capped Flycatcher* AZ
Ash-throated Flycatcher* AZ
Brown-crested Flycatcher* TX AZ MEX
Great Kiskadee* TX MEX
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher* AZ
Tropical Kingbird* AZ
Couch's Kingbird* TX MEX
Cassin's Kingbird* TX NM AZ
Thick-billed Kingbird* AZ
Western Kingbird TX NM AZ
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher* TX NM
Loggerhead Shrike* TX NM AZ
White-eyed Vireo TX
Bell's Vireo* AZ
Plumbeous Vireo AZ
Hutton's Vireo* AZ
Warbling Vireo AZ
Steller's Jay (H) AZ
Green Jay* TX
Western Scrub-Jay AZ
Mexican Jay* AZ
Tamaulipas Crow* TX
Chihuahuan Raven* TX NM AZ MEX
Common Raven TX NM AZ
Horned Lark TX
Purple Martin TX AZ
Violet-green Swallow NM AZ
Northern Rough-winged Swallow TX AZ
Bank Swallow TX
Cliff Swallow TX NM AZ
Cave Swallow* TX NM
Barn Swallow TX NM AZ MEX
Mexican Chickadee* AZ
Bridled Titmouse* AZ
Juniper Titmouse* (H) AZ
Black-crested Titmouse* TX
Verdin* AZ
Bushtit* AZ
Red-breasted Nuthatch AZ
White-breasted Nuthatch AZ
Pygmy Nuthatch AZ
Brown Creeper AZ
Cactus Wren* AZ
Rock Wren AZ
Canyon Wren* NM AZ
Carolina Wren* TX
Bewick's Wren* TX AZ
House Wren (Brown-throated) AZ
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher* AZ
Black-capped Gnatcatcher* AZ

Hermit Thrush AZ
Clay-colored Robin* (#400 ABA) TX
American Robin NM AZ
Northern Mockingbird TX NM AZ MEX
Long-billed Thrasher* TX
Curve-billed Thrasher* AZ (both subsp.)
Crissal Thrasher* (H) AZ
European Starling TX NM AZ MEX
Phainopepla* AZ
Olive Warbler* AZ
Virginia's Warbler* (H) AZ
Lucy's Warbler* AZ
Yellow Warbler AZ
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) (H) AZ
Black-throated Gray Warbler* AZ
Grace's Warbler* AZ
Common Yellowthroat TX AZ MEX
Red-faced Warbler* AZ
Painted Redstart* AZ
Yellow-breasted Chat AZ
Hepatic Tanager* AZ
Summer Tanager AZ
Western Tanager AZ
Flame-colored Tanager* AZ
Olive Sparrow* TX MEX
Spotted Towhee AZ (#350 for the year)
Canyon Towhee* AZ
Abert's Towhee* AZ
Rufous-winged Sparrow* AZ
Cassin's Sparrow* (H) TX NM
Botteri's Sparrow* (H) TX AZ
Rufous-crowned Sparrow AZ

Chipping Sparrow NM
Black-chinned Sparrow* (#450 ABA) (H) AZ
Lark Sparrow TX NM
Black-throated Sparrow* TX NM AZ
Song Sparrow AZ
Yellow-eyed Junco* AZ
Northern Cardinal TX NM AZ MEX
Pyrrhuloxia* TX NM AZ
Black-headed Grosbeak* AZ
Blue Grosbeak AZ
Varied Bunting* AZ
Painted Bunting* TX (#300 for the year)
Dickcissel TX
Red-winged Blackbird TX NM AZ
Eastern Meadowlark TX NM AZ
Western Meadowlark NM
Great-tailed Grackle* (#350 ABA) TX NM AZ MEX
Bronzed Cowbird* TX NM AZ MEX
Brown-headed Cowbird TX AZ
Hooded Oriole* AZ
Bullock's Oriole* TX AZ
Altamira Oriole* TX
Scott's Oriole* (H) AZ
House Finch TX NM AZ
Red Crossbill AZ
Pine Siskin AZ
Lesser Goldfinch TX NM AZ MEX
House Sparrow TX NM AZ MEX
Number of Species: 232