Len spent two weeks on a birding trip to Peru. He has graciously shared some of the most incredible bird photos. He wrote: "There were four of us with a guide and a driver. We started in Cuzco at 11,000 ft. We stayed at lodges at different elevation so we could see different birds. A research station at 9,000 ft, Cock of the Rock Lodge at 6,000 ft and at a tributary of the Amazon river lodge at 3,000 ft. We finished at a river lodge at 300 ft. When we were finished we traveled back to Cuzco going through a pass at 15,600 ft. The Cock of the Rock pictures were taken at a Lek where the male birds come to show off. There were no females but the testosterone level is still so high that these males continue to come to the Lek with high hopes of seeing a female. The Giant River Otter was at one of the Oxbow lakes at 300 ft." I have had the privilege of seeing these photos as he has sent them over the last several days. I am excited to publish them here.
Love it when really really good friends go on an adventure together, take fabulous photos and then share them with the rest of us. So, setting it up . . . four photographers, Portal AZ (premier birding location), in the Chiricahua Mountains (great landscape location) with about one week to capture great images. They stayed at the George Walker House B&B, which has just one of many designated feeder stations in the area.
Before we go further, let me share part of one photographer's notes to me. She wrote, "The first 'find of the trip’ was the Slate-throated Redstart. Per the Audubon Society, “The Slate-throated Redstart has wandered north from Mexico into the American Southwest only a few times…” So needless to say when it was spotted near Portal, the siting drew birders from far and wide. It’s location is off the bumpy, windy, dirt road called Pinery Road which leads ‘the back way’ to the Chiricahua National Monument. Birders try to be very specific about a special bird's location so it can be seen by other birders. One birder, after many tries to find it, finally placed a cairn made of rocks and sticks and marked it with STRE! Thanks to him we were able to find the spot and thanks to God we actually got to see him! He was quite busy gathering sticks for his nest so it made it very hard to photograph. Elaine, however was fairly successful! The down side, is that it has been reported that disrespectful birders are now tromping around disturbing the area to find the nest, a big no-no in the birding world."
On with more story. "The other find was the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We had been to certain feeders where it had been reported, but did not show up when we were there. So, one evening while we were sitting on the patio, here he comes! He sat at the feeders we were watching and stayed long enough to pose for us. That same evening we spotted a male and female Montezuma Quail sauntering down the hill right to the feeders! Very exciting. They are very skittish and hard to photograph."
More story . . . "The ‘interesting fact of the trip’ was the tidbit we learned about the quail. Both the Gambel’s Quail - which we see all the time here in the Valley - and the Scaled Quail are very common there. Well, they have intermingled and produced what the locals now call the “Scramble” Quail = Scaled/Gambel's Quail. I got photos of a couple of them. One has more markings of the Gambel's and one more of the Scaled!
The Chiricahua Mountains are a worthy destination even if you are not a passionate bird photographer. At every turn there are photo opportunities!
A very special thanks to my friends for their photographic prowess and generosity. I hope you return to Portal next year. . . and the next and the next! We will wait!
Len is treating us to a very nice selection of bird images taken at the Woodpecker Festival in Sisters, OR. He thoughtfully places the names of the birds on the image to help us out. As I looked over his metadata I can share that they were all taken with his Canon EOS 7D Mark II and his EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and about half had the +1.4x III in place as well. I know you will enjoy them.
Thanks so much Len. We appreciate and enjoy your images so much. Looking forward to having you back in the valley.