Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I have been thinking all day about what I could write about. I wanted it to be something wonderful, something joyful, and something to describe how great life has been lately. Yet, I can't come up with anything. The day started out as most days normally would - great! I was happy to be blessed with the breath of life and as always thankful for those sharing it with me! Unfortunately, today progressed a little differently than I had imagined, it took a turn, and without my permission, it veered in the direction of disappointment.
As I think about my trip to Goose Pond yesterday, I can't help but to think about the copious numbers of Tree and Savannah Sparrows that graced us with their presence. By the hundreds, these sparrows seemed to follow us everywhere we went, as if their mission was to keep an eye on us! With every step we took, the flocks flew just far enough away to land in the grasses and commence their post of staring back at us. At times, I wondered who was counting who!
One of my favorite songs is "His Eye is on the Sparrow". It become on my favorites many years ago at the funeral of one of my dearest friends, Laverna. Although the song has a special memory to me, I believe it is just recently that I realize the importance of its words. It made me realize, once again, of how important it is to know that when things aren't going right and it seems as nobody cares - God is always around.
Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for Heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
A constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches over me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
So even though I can’t seem to reach the world right now, I know that things will be better because his eye is on the sparrow and I KNOW, I BELIEVE he watches over me!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
It goes without saying that life has its ups and downs. I personally don’t know anyone who has gone through life without at least a few occasions of frustration, hurt, or disappointment. In fact, most people I know have unfortunately had more than just a few points of unhappiness. I for one have had more than I could ever care to try and recall. From tragic events, death, sudden losses of friendships and just days where hurt and confusion run so deep that life feels all but almost over. Life is great, but sometimes, life hurts.
As I look back over the years, I can’t help but wonder sometimes, what has kept me going? What prevents me from falling into a rut so deep that I can’t get out? Where do I go and where can I turn when things aren’t moving in my direction? What brings me back into the world of reality?
Naturally, like most people, I have my family and a few good friends that are always willing to help me when I’m in a troubled state of mind. Unfortunately though, sometimes, this doesn’t work. This is where the birds come in. Yes, selfishly, I sometimes use birds for personal gain.
It’s only been recently that I’ve realized why I have been so eager to get to such places as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Florida, etc. to see the creatures I love so much. I’m going because these creatures, the birds, mean something to me. Just like a stranger is able to wash away a problem with nothing more than a smile or the way that one of my children can make me feel like the most important person on earth just by saying the words “daddy” – birds take me away. Their beauty, their song, their simple presence can all be compared to that of the presence of God. I believe that they are MY connection to God – the line that he has given me to “let it go”.
So, while I know that there are many people out there that may laugh at me, talk about me, or disregard my passion for birds as a complete and ignorant waste of time, I personally don’t care. Sometimes life hurts and when it does I need my connection to something greater than me – I need my birds!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Since the first day I began my search for birds, there has probably not been a major birding conversation go by that somehow Southeast Arizona does not come up. I have never heard a bad story about the area and have always heard - "you have got to go birding in Southeast Arizona". I had researched the area multiple times over the past few years hoping that I would be able to get down there to experience what everyone was talking about. Well, the time finally came.
I was able to spend three days birding Tucson and vicinity on October 28, 29, and 30th. Although the time period of October is not known as the best time to bird the area, with it being my first visit, it promised to be a success - and a success it was! In total, I gained 40 life birds! A pretty respectable number if I do say so myself.
There were so many highlights on the trip; it is hard to narrow the visit down to just one or two. I will definitely have to post more than one blog to document the trip. A great place to gather information when planning your trip to S.E. Arizona is the Tucson Audubon Society. I highly recommend purchasing the book "Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona". You will not regret the purchase!
I visited several locations during my quick three days: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Sweetwater Wetlands, Patagonia (and vicinity), and Mt. Lemmon. Each of these areas was awesome in their own right!
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was my very first destination. What a great place to start if you have never been to Southeast Arizona! Aside from being a very informative area, I was able to see my first Gila Woodpecker and Cactus Wren.
Saguaro National Park was my second stop. The park entrance is located just down the road from the Desert Museum. A cool spot to stop and bird is just down the road from the visitor’s center. About ½ - 1 mile down the road on the left is a parking area. Once you get out and walk the trail about 50 yards, there will be a small water hole on the right. This area should naturally have a concentration of birds that are staying close to the water to withstand the desert heat. My highlight at this location was a Clay-colored Sparrow – my first official “uncommon” bird. Others in the area included Curve-billed Thrasher, House Finch, Black-throated Sparrow, Brewers Sparrow, and Gila Woodpecker.
Sweetwater Wetlands, stop 3. What a place, what a place, what a place. Here, I had the privilege to do some birding with John Yeager of Adventure Birding! John was pleasure to bird with and was a great resource of bird knowledge. It took all but about 5 minutes to figure out why Sweetwater is such a great place to birders in the area. Some of the highlights included: Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Abert’s Towhee, Sora, Eared Grebe, and Harris’s Hawk. Birds, birds, everywhere! Thanks John!I spent day two in the Patagonia area with Cliff Cathers of Economy Birding. Cliff too was a great birding guide and worked very hard to maximize my bird sightings. We visited multiple locations along the Mexico-U.S. Border. We ended the day at Patton’s feeders that unfortunately did not have the activity it had just the day before, however, a fantastic Violet-crowned and Rufous Hummingbird were still present. Other highlights included: Canyon Towhee, Bridled Titmouse, Western Tanager, Scott’s Oriole, Red-naped Sapsucker, Least Grebe, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Phainopepla, Lesser Goldfinch, and Brewers Blackbird. I was able to end the day in Cliff’s front yard with a Costa’s Hummingbird. Thanks Cliff!