We are presently situated at Patagonia Lake State Park, which is beautiful in an Arizona high desert fashion and home to a nice variety of birds, but lacks wifi or cell coverage. There is no tv and FM radio is all from Mexico. The view from our park site makes up for a lot – this is the hill we see each morning.
Two weeks ago, in an email exchange with the assistant park manager, I learned that she had seen an Elegant Trogan – a spectacular bird that is a target for most birders. I’ve been out with Penny and picked up three or four new life birds: western birds that are often pretty common here – but I’ve not been this far west birding. I’ve added Gray Phoebe, Bridled Titmouse, White-throated Swift, Hammond’s Flycatcher, and Gila Woodpecker in two days.
Last night, we met with neighbors to discuss options for our future stops and the first thing that Donna, our new friend, did was to pick up her camera and said "Let me show you a picture." My response was, "I don’t know that I want to se it." Sure enough, she and her husband had seen and photographed a beautiful male trogon yesterday afternoon, I was truly happy for them but motivated.
This morning, a bird walk was scheduled for nine AM and Mary was planning to go (we take turns dog-sitting.). I decided to go out early for an hour or so before the thundering herd took to the paths.
I took the tags off Penny to quiet her and we walked the half-mile or so, seeing some nice morning activity. The lake was active with Northern Shovelers, grebes, Cinnamon Teal, and Ruddy Ducks while dozens of Ruby-crowned Kinglets worked the trees. I saw eight Western Bluebirds and many woodpeckers as we worked our way toward the creek where thr trogon had been spotted the day before.
I was just about ready to head back, knowing the group was getting ready, when a flash of color popped on to a low bush ahead. A male Elegant Trogon was looking at us, as Penny strained at the leash. I watched, tried a few photos, and handled the dog as the bird hopped to the ground, flew up to another tree, and challenged my camera/dog balancing abilities. The autofocus was going crazy with the brush and I didn’t want to spook the bird, which was rather calm.
I quit without a "great" shot and quietly retreated, happy to have seen this great lifer. As things happen, Mary’s large bird group did not see this guy but found the juvenile/female companion so they too all got their trogon.
So we have to drive four miles to check email – birds like this are why folks love southern Arizona.