Carrying our sleeping bags in our hands and our food and water in a small day pack, we hiked high to camp in the Chisos Mountain back-country. We decided to leave our tent behind and hoped there would be no thunder or lightning. The forest here is very dry and the fire danger extreme. Just as we were falling asleep we heard a chilling scream, most likely a mountain lion. All night we wondered if something was creeping around just beyond the reach of our flashlights. As a comfort, we heard tons of Whipoorwills and Flammulated Owls - both new birds for me.
When we woke up I caught a glimpse of what looked like a Flame-colored Tanager. It's a bird that's supposed to live in Mexico and has only been seen a 1/2 dozen times in Texas. However, the bird flew away before I could get a great look. After an hour of tramping around in the forest, we managed to hear a different Flame-colored Tanager singing - a female. I was able to get some good photos of this ultra-rarity.
Fortunately, the only fires in the forest were Flame-colored Tanagers and Flammulated Owls!
My total is now 545 species, 200 short of the Big Year record.
The picture was taken in the mountains SE of Albuquerque this spring using a motion sensor/camera.
Next week Malkolm, Ken & Wendy will bicycle down from the relatively cooler Chisos Basin to Rio Grande Village, where temperatures are 105 degrees F. They will be looking for the Black Hawk and Zone-tailed Hawk.
My thanks to the BBNP personnel who have been so helpful in getting phone messages to the Bird Year!