After doing a little birding at Sweetwater we drove over to the Gilbert Ray Campground near the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum where we were going to set up camp and stay overnight. While Mr. John was signing in at the desk I heard what sounded like a cardinal but it didn't sound right, and that was when I realized it was my lifer Pyrrhuloxia! I then got some okay views of the bird but it stayed back in the brush. We then found our camping site and I did a little birding in a nearby wash where I heard and then saw another lifer, a couple of Rufous-winged Sparrows!
Rufous-winged Sparrow (Bird #1)
If you look at the birds shoulder you will see a little rufous coloring on it. thus came the name "Rufous-winged Sparrow".
After I was done studying my lifer Mr. John and I started setting up camp when his family arrived. We then drove over to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum where I saw some amazing (non-wild) mammals, birds, reptiles, and more!
Mexican Gray Wolf
Yellow X Black-headed Grosbeak Hybrid
Pyrrhuloxia X Northern Cardinal Hybrid
After eating at a nice mexican restaurant in Tucson I had the privilege of leading Ren (who is 9 years old) on his first ever birding adventure. We hiked around in the nearby wash and I was able to show him some long named desert birds like Pyrrhuloxia and Phainopepla. While we were hiking through the wash keeping our eyes peeled for birds and other wildlife Ren spotted an awesome Long-nosed Snake slithering right by our feet!
Mr. John and I started the next morning early when we woke up at 12:30AM to the sound of Western Screech, and Great Horned Owls, as well as a Common Poorwill. We then went back to sleep and woke up to officially started the day at 5:30AM. However, I had to settle the score with one bird before leaving the campground and that was to get at least one decent photo of the Pyrrhuloxia! So after stripping down the tents, rolling up the sleeping bags, and saying farewell to Mrs. Janet, Mrs. Jennifer, and Ren I started my trek to crush the "Desert Cardinal". I started by searching in the very birdy wash. I could hear a Northern Cardinal calling but I couldn't hear any PYRRs, so I hiked further down to where I could hear one singing, and I walked up to the saguaro that it was singing on and had great views.
The bird then flew down low into the brush chasing what I believe was his mate. So I followed the call and eventually got an eye level photo!
Once I was done photographing this amazingly beautiful bird I walked back to camp when Mr. John and I decided it was about time to head to Florida Canyon to search for my main target bird for the trip, the Black-capped Gnatcatcher. Stay tuned to find out how my gnatcatcher quest goes!