Let me start with the past few days. Monday afternoon I come home after a few hours of birding in Madera Canyon to e-mail stating that Evening Grosbeaks were seen and photographed in the morning along Santa Gertrudis Lane. While I had seen Evening Grosbeaks in Arizona before, it was a long time ago and I only vaguely remember. So this was ”almost a state bird” within thirty minutes from home. The only problem was that I had made some commitments that were to keep me tied up all afternoon. I find myself on the Anza Trail at Santa Gertrudis Lane on Tuesday morning. Several others and myself birded until about 11am and then headed to Tubac to look for the Lewis’ Woodpecker, leaving more birders to take up the search. Less than an hour after we left the grosbeaks were seen. Oh well, so goes the nature of rare bird chasing.
Now it is Wednesday morning, I’m on the Anza Trail again. I find a Black-and-white Warbler with a flock of Bridled Titmouse near where Brian Walsh found it yesterday. I meet and bird with Kate Reynolds (previous TAS fieldtrip coordinator) and her mother Virginia. We are looking at a Hammond’s Flycatcher when instinct tells me to turn around. In the top of one of the nearby hackberry trees is a female Evening Grosbeak (09:52). I get Kate & Virginia on the bird and try to get myself into position to take some documentary photographs. Now there are four Evening Grosbeaks foraging near the tops of a clump of hackberry trees. And one is the richly plumaged male. Kate, Virginia, and I are joined Marty Sewell and Bill Higgins. The shutters were flapping; I took more than a hundred and eighty images of the four birds, most are better than “documentary” quality. I yelled out several times trying to get the attention of any other nearby birders – no responses. After about fifty minutes of consuming hackberries, the four grosbeaks flew off together towards the Santa Cruz River. It was a good time for me to leave.
I again stopped by the Tubac Golf Resort, today the Lewis’s Woodpecker sitting up in his favorite tree. A few quick photographs and then off to home.