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Copper Canyon Adventure

21-31 March 2003

Day 8: Creel to Chihuahua City

All photographs ©2003 by Mary Beth Stowe

   

After a light buffet the next morning we were off to Chihuahua City in hopes of picking up Striped Sparrow on the way. This was a bird Barry said they found accidentally on one of their trips, so the deal was to keep an eye on the open areas with fence posts, and sure enough, we eventually spotted one! So we all piled out and got great looks, in addition to Western Meadowlark, Brewer’s Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbirds, all new for the trip! Unfortunately the bird flew before I could sneak up on him (he stuck around quite awhile, but I wanted to make sure everyone had a good look before I started stalking), but the Lord compensated with a more cooperative Curve-billed Thrasher and a stunning Western Bluebird on a post (although not as stunning as the one at my feet at Roberts Ranch)! And just for grins a Zone-tailed Hawk zoomed in and buzzed the blackbirds just before we drove off!

              

L-R:  Curve-billed Thrasher, Striped Sparrow (trust me...), Zone-tailed Hawk, and Western Bluebird

    

L:  Habitat favored by the endemic Striped Sparrow.  R:  Scenic drive to Chihuahua City...

      

Common Ravens ride the winds above the cliffs on the east side of the Sierra Madre Occidental

        

We eventually make it into Scrub Jay territory

     

Oak savannah-like habitat and interesting granary  

From there we headed to a lovely apple orchard for lunch (after first stopping for Scrub Jay). There was a little stream outside that had a couple of Gadwall, and upon closer scrutiny we scared up a couple of Mexican Ducks and a Greater Yellowlegs! There was also a distant Snowy Egret and Bufflehead. Then we went to kick up sparrows, and got one that Barry thought was Savannah but I thought was a Vesper (it did have a short tail, and that bothered me), so Brian broke the tie when he saw the chestnut shoulders and white outer tail feathers. One of the participants said he learned a lot just listening to our dialogue!

         

Stream at the apple orchard where we had lunch while Mark chats with the owner outside their fabulous building  

After a marvelous lunch at this fabulous place (and the artwork they had on display was exquisite) we continued east, stopping for a Chihuahuan Raven whose white ruff was really blowing in the breeze, right next to the bus and in great light (and the cameras were clicking away)! Had some great scenery all the way in (parts of it looked like good Monty Quail habitat), and checked into our magnificent hotel with a magnificent room with a magnificent view on the 14th floor (they always outdo themselves on the last night)! Couldn’t ask for a finer ending to the trip!

     

Descending into the desert into what looks like good Monty Quail habitat!

         

Two views of Chihuahuan Raven: what they normally look like (left) and with their white ruff showing (right) hence the old name "White-necked Raven"  

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