Recently, I've been sick quite a bit. However, just a few days ago I finally got better and was able to chase my lifer and Maricoper Northern Parula. While I was watching the parula my birding friends Ms. Susan Fishburn and Ms. Laura Ellis pulled up and we birded a bit together. After birding I mentioned to Ms. Susan about chasing a recently found Rose-throated Becard near Thatcher, AZ. Now the Rose-throated Becard has always been a dream bird of mine but they have become increasingly hard to find in the USA lately, so I contacted most everyone I knew to try to chase this bird yet no one was willing to take me out there. However, Ms. Susan saved the day and we quickly made plans to chase the bird on April 5th! I was so anxious to chase this bird, and when I get my mind fixed on something I become almost addicted! And before long I was getting ready the night before the big day when I went to the dreaded Texas Roadhouse with my family. Now I haven't had any good experiences at this restaurant but I honestly didn't mind where we ate. After eating out I returned to my house and all the sudden felt sick, long story short the ribs which my taste buds thought were great, my stomach didn't and they came back up! Now I was whooped! Dehydrated and worn out, I knew that I had gotten food poisoning! However, the food was out and I knew I would survive so after two hours of sleep I headed out to meet Susan Fishburn, Laura Ellis, and Steve and Joan Hosmer to chase one of my many dream birds! After an exhausting three hour drive to Cluff Ranch where the Rose-throated Becard had been seen I exited the car and was pumped! I immediately walked down the trail to where the bird had been seen near pond #3 and started scanning the area. Although, I was pumped I was still tired and dehydrated and my senses didn't feel altogether, so overall I wasn't really altogether. Minutes of scanning the area quickly turned to hours and I was getting really tired and worn down. Mr. Steve and I had heard a call that sounded exactly like the becard's but we couldn't find anything but a bunch of Yellow Warblers! Three hours had passed and I had checked the same quarter mile of river like six times at least! I was losing hope and getting really hungry and even more tired! Would this be a failed chase??? Would we have to make the three hour drive back to Phoenix without saying a word??? The thoughts of failure were going through my mind. No! I must not think this way! I had to carry on and find the bird! I returned to where the bird was usually seen and there it was again, the descending whistle of the Rose-throated Becard! This time I knew it was the bird! So I ran to where I thought the bird was and many birders were going crazy trying to spot the bird. All of the sudden a medium sized songbird flew down to a low tree and I had thoughts on what it was and once I put my binocs on it I confirmed that it was the Rose-throated Becard!!! I yelled out to the birders that I could see the bird from where I was and in the rush of getting to me the bird flew. I then got to a different angle to where I thought I might be able to see the bird and after a little owl whistling and pishing the bird flew up and out in the open! Instead of lifting my camera and taking pictures I described where in the tree the bird was and made sure everyone were to see it. After about ten minutes of chasing the bird around and describing where the bird was I was able to shoot one distant diagnostic shot of the bird's head.
It was awesome getting to see this dream bird of mine and hearing it call several times. It made it all the better that everyone got decent views too! This trip was a great one and it was a good lesson on where bird hardness will bring me!
God Bless and BIRD HARD!!!