Portal Birding

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."

A technical note is needed here.  Jon and Phyllis both shoot the same make of camera, the Nikon P650.  Sometimes, if time permits, they are able to sort their shots and send them to me separately so they can each get their appropriate credit.  Giving appropriate credit is my issue, not theirs.  They don't compete and often tell me just to put Pardoll rather than each of their names.  This is one of those times.  They left for Europe this morning so it seems unnecessary to burden them with separating out their images.  Just know that each one is a great photographer.  When they collaborate it is wonderful.

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!