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ABA Convention 2005

Part 3: The Huachucas

The next sales day picked up a little, as I sold several calendars and card sets (including from my friend Liz Melson, who dropped by with her friend Arlene about 4:00). Took Lydia "out" to the Cactus Rose for her birthday lunch, then joined Liz and Arlene at the Javelina Cantina and just had dessert since I was still full from lunch.  Had to cut it short as I had to get ready for a 4:00 departure time, as we decided to go to the Huachucas: Radeaux had gotten a commission to do a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, so he wanted to go somewhere to observe them, and talk about a jackpot! God really blessed: we went after one we heard in Miller Canyon (along with a Monty Quail), but at Ramsey they were all over the place; I even managed to get a decent picture!

But I’m getting ahead of myself again: on the way down picked up several Chihuahuan Ravens for the trip, and several Swainson’s Hawks as well (although I never got a countable look until the drive back). I ended up not driving this time as we had a small crowd (just me, the Yaegers, the Sills, and Lydia; Doug decided to go on the ABA field trip he had signed up for), and at Beatty’s we had the usual contingent of hummers, including Blue-throated, which was a lifer for Rad and a new bird for the trip. Nothing unusual (Anna’s were all over the place), so shortly after the ABA crowd showed up we headed up to Ramsey after stopping again at the restrooms and going up the wash a little (that’s when we had the quail and the flycatcher).


At Miller Canyon, we hike up the wash in search of an elusive Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. 


Shortly after we get to Beatty's, the ABA crowd arrives in force! 


Left:  Lesser Goldfinch.  Back along the entrance road, we search for the flycatcher again with Radeaux, John, and Lydia leading the charge!...


Lydia stands in the shade of the oaks while Radeaux gathers several sycamore leaves to use in his SB Fly painting!

Most of the gang bushbeats back to the van in hopes of kicking up Monty Quail...

For a Saturday, I was shocked: there was plenty of parking, and we hardly ran into anyone on the trail! Like I said, Sulphurbellies were all over, along with Painted Redstarts, some very frolicky White-tailed Deer, several lizards and butterflies, and a cute little Canyon Wren nesting in a "flammable" building! A vireo was singing that sounded awfully "sweet" and fast for a Plumbeous, but I just couldn’t get it to come out, so I gave up on it. We sat for a long time at the Leopard Frog Pond (guess there haven’t been any there since 2001), enjoying a Black Phoebe whacking the snot out of a huge grub! We also had both Hepatic and Western Tanagers, and just as we started back a family of Arizona Woodpeckers came tearing in! A fluffy White-breasted Nuthatch was quite cute, too… Nothing unusual showed up at the hummer feeders, but Radeaux did get a more satisfying look at the Bluethroat, plus a nice male Rufous Hummer came in. There was a tremendous Sphinx Moth at the door to the visitor’s center that Radeaux later identified as a Falcon Sphinx, as well as a huge Daddy Longlegs!


Looking for goodies at Ramsey Canyon:  Hepatic Tanager (center) and Black Phoebe (right)


Camera-shy Painted Redstarts


Where the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher at Miller Canyon was elusive, at Ramsey they were in your face!



This Canyon Wren made his nest in a hazardous spot! (Look hard for him in the upper left picture!)



Left and center:  Another Clark Spiny Lizard (note the bars on his front legs!)  Right:  Mountain Spiny Lizard


Left:  White-tailed Deer  Center:  Blue holly-like berries.  Right:  By the time we make it to the Leopard Frog Pond we’re pooped!


L-R:  Ayres Metalmark, Common Buckeye, Falcon Sphinx, and Daddy-long-legs


Left:  Tiger Moth sp.  Right:  Beats me, but it was big and fuzzy! (Prominent sp.?)

We were shot after that, so since we had to set up early, we headed back, narrowly missing the monsoon (it had been pouring rain shortly before we set off). I was beginning to sweat that I wasn’t going to sell any drawings this time, when at the 11th hour the husband of the gal who was eyeing the Scaled Quail came back to buy it! Thankfully he had a check (he wanted to give me a credit card; I learned from both Radeaux and Ray that unless you make enough sales during the year to pay for the annual fee and then some, it’s not worth making that available to people), so I at least sold one! We said our goodbyes to those who were headed to dinner, then packed up our vehicles, said goodbye again, and went our separate ways (me to the room and dinner, and catching up on this)!

Had breakfast the next morning, said goodbye to Terry, then headed over to Bisbee via the beautiful road south of Benson (no Mississippi Kites this time). I got there in plenty of time to meet Judy and her family for church at Covenant Presbyterian, which was great: it's an old church building in the heart of Old Bisbee!  David, their young minister (I know I'm getting old when most of the pastors I meet are younger than me...), spoke on prayer, and how important it is to learn to let it be a spontaneous communication with our loving heavenly Father.

Afterwards we had coffee hour and got to chat a bit, and then after that we went for lunch at the coffee house (where the visitor’s center was) and had just a delightful time chatting! Janelle spotted a local homeless guy who was rather a celebrity in those parts: he had a dog, and a cat riding on the dog, and a mouse riding on the cat! So we went up afterwards to visit him (he used to make the circuit in Tombstone as well but he was asked to leave…) and left a few bucks; I thought that was fascinating that the cat didn’t go after the mouse! They were all pretty laid-back (just like the town, probably)!

After exchanging birthday gifts (our B-days are both in August) we said our goodbyes and I headed back to Tucson, skirting all the monsoons firing off all over! After a shower I finally cleaned out the e-mail, crashed, then headed back home the next day without incident (Jip got a little warm going over the Jacumba Mountains, but that's not surprising along a grade where they have radiator water every five feet...)

Ended up with 124 species for the trip.

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