Well, I'll start out with letting you know that everyone has a nemesis bird. Whether they have looked for it four times or twenty times birds like to make people bang their heads on trees and other stuff while out in the field! Most of the time those nemesis birds aren't even rare, often the people that help you try to find that bird have seen it all over the place and they think it's crazy that you haven't seen it, they don't understand until they actually go and look for it with that person though. In my case it is the Black-and-white Warbler, now chuckle all you want but once you hear my story you might be able to at least hold back most of your laughs. Ever since seeing the BAWW in my field guide I was hooked on the black-and-white streaked plumage, but I got even more attached when I saw that it acts like a nuthatch! There are some awesome things about that bird, and I wanted to see it badly. I have searched many times and one of the most frustrating times was when my Mom and I were birding at Legg Lake a birding hotspot in Los Angeles. We meet a bird guide that was out birding and some other birders that told me they had found a Golden-crowned Kinglet, so I walked off with the people to try to relocate it while my Mom stayed back with the guide. After about a half hour I gave up and returned to my Mom, and guess what she told me they saw, a BAWW!!! Since then I have searched for the BAWW about ten times and on those trips I have found birds that are far more rare then the BAWW. Now lets finally get to the trip. On November 22nd, Mr. John Kafel and I met up with Mr. Tommy D. to search for some of the rarities that have been seen around the Hassayampa River Preserve. Last time I took a trip out here I found a Rufous-backed Robin, a Varied Thrush, I heard a Winter Wren, and I found a Red Fox Sparrow. The Varied Thrush is a bird Mr. Tommy wanted badly for his Maricopa list so that was one of our target birds along with the BAWW. Last week over the weekend there were five birders that searched for the birds I had found but they missed all of them, but of course they got a BAWW!!! Can you believe that?! I think that bird knows who I am. We started birding the River Ramble and Lykes Lookout trails first. As soon as we started birding the River Ramble Mr. Tommy and I heard an Evening Grosbeak calling (a lifer for me), unfortunately the bird must have been flying over because before long we couldn't hear it. What a way to start the morning! As we continued down the trail we could hear many House Wrens calling from all directions but things got exiting when Mr. Tommy pointed out a calling Winter Wren from upstream, so we tried to get a visual and came up successful! This rail-acting-wren can be very frustrating if one is wanting to get photos. Luckily I was able to get a few diagnostic photos.
While we were trying to keep track of the wren Mr. Tommy and I were able to hear a single call from a Red-shouldered Hawk from way up the river, but we never heard it again. We then hiked the Lion Trail for my first time, but the only notable bird was a Pine Sisken that was giving its flight calls. After we birded the Lion Trail, Mr. John and I drove up into Wickenburg to get a quick bite to eat before returning to the preserve. Once we were done eating our taco's and enchiladas we returned to the preserve to bird it for a second time. Only Mr. John stayed back at the visitor center to rest, it was up to Mr. Tommy and I to get a Varied Thrush or Black-and-white Warbler. We met up near the picnic area and started birding the Palm Lake Loop. It didn't take us long to find a Rufous-backed Robin mixed with the American's. There was also a posing Ladder-backed Woodpecker with the thrushes.
By now we were at a four-thrush-day, the same amount as last time. We just needed the VATH, after birding the Palm Lake Loop and the Mesquite Meander trails Mr. Tommy and I decided to end my day with one more attempt at the River Ramble and Lyke's Lookout trails. Once we arrived at the area where I had seen the thrush last, I must admit we were not really birding hard, we were more like laughing our heads off on dumb jokes and stuff like that. But while we were laughing and having a good time I noticed a bird flew to a very high perch up in the canopy, when I put my binocs on it I noticed it was the Varied Thrush!!! After the bird flew to another perch Mr. Tommy was finally able to get his Maricoper (first for Maricopa) Varied Thrush, #364! The bird was being quite skittish like the last time and I wasn't trying for photos too much, but I got at least one diagnostic photo of the bird.
It was awesome getting to watch Mr. Tommy get his 364th Maricoper. Thanks Mr. John and Mr. Tommy for the awesome day of birding! Here is one last photo to end this post.
Mr. Tommy on right and Mr. John on left