Southeast Arizona, a true Mecca for birders from around the world. Montezuma quail, Lucifer’s hummingbird, black-capped gnatcatcher, rufous-capped warbler, five-striped sparrow are all highly sought after birds which many birders, after many visits, have failed to add to their lifelists. These are some of the needles in the haystacks that birders dream about. And my dreams were about to become a reality.
I have birded Southeastern Arizona twice before but only during the winter, when snowbirds double the populations of most towns and cities of the desert. Back then I added some of the most obvious and easiest to find species to my list. Now I have returned in the stifling temps of summer to try and add some of the most emblematic and rarest species to my ABA (American Birding Association) list. And to do this, I needed a little help.
Now driving on the rutted dirtroads of the boarder lands of the United States and Mexico, is not something one should do alone or at night so hiring a birder with knowledge of the area in a high clearance vehicle, is a must.
Enter a twitcher from Leicester, England who know California Gulch like the back of his hand and where individual five-striped sparrow pairs are to be located.