Adventure begins where civilization ends

Adventure begins where civilization ends
Adventure begins where civilization ends

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On top of the world

"You know you are a real birder if you've ever faked your own death to attract vultures."

I know that many of you read my father's blog (badweaherbigyear) and if you have you might remember him pretending to be a disabled camper in order to see a grassquit. While I am not sure how ethical this is or how similar it is in comparison to faking one's own death but it shows his devotion to this big year.

I am not nearly as hardcore as my dad is, although he will say he is taking it easy, and according to this quote I may not even be a true birder. While that may be true, I am enjoying seeing new birds and amazing places. One such place is Colorado. I had never been to Colorado before this weekend and was amazed by all the mountains. My dad, however, was on a mission. He had gotten to the airport earlier than us and the second we were in his sight he walked away. I found it to be quite rude that we didn't even get a hello or a hug since it had been at least a week since we had last seen him. He had plans for us and greetings had to wait.

When we finally caught up to my dad at the rental car, a jeep, we packed our stuff and drove (for hours). When we at last reached Silverthorn and started driving around the houses like creepers, looking for birds. I was only slightly concerned about someone calling the cops and helped my dad to find bird feeders around the neighborhood. The neighborhood was located on the side of a mountain overlooking a green valley. It was quite eerie when it started snowing and I saw the contrast between the green valley and the white snow. In this snow we saw a grey-crowned rosy-finch.

After seeing all we could at Silverthorn, we left (thankfully not in a cop car) and headed to Gunnison. At this point we had been driving since we left the airport and had yet to get out of the car. So you can imagine my boredom. It got better when we reached the road around which we might find a Gunnison sage-grouse. We looked until dark and all I found was my spirit cow, and yes I said spirit cow. I am sure you have heard of a spirit animal, so the idea of a spirit cow should not be a foreign concept. 

I created the idea of a spirit cow in order to distract myself from the post-plane exhaustion and to annoy my dad. I have to admit it was a lot of fun.

The next day we headed back to Gunnison and after much searching we got a bit of good luck when the grouse we were looking for flew over.

Our trip passes in a haze of driving with only the occasional stop every few hours. We eventually stopped at Colorado National Monument and I saw a juniper titmouse.

While in that area we also saw a herd of  mule deer.

 So far besides the driving it had been an enjoyable and very scenic trip. The part that made me wish for more happened at the top of a mountain in the snow. We were there to see a ptarmigan of some sort which lived in the high altitude. We hiked up a hill and I stood for a moment in the wind. I was on top of the world! However, as I looked out across the snow I saw hundreds of people snowboarding and skiing down the mountain. This caused a craving for my snowboard or even my skis. I missed them so badly as I watched all these other daredevils gliding down the white mountain. My love for the snow and all sports related to it was much greater than my love for birds and even though my dad yelled at me and tried to guilt me for not searching for his ptarmigan, I still sat there on the mountain watching and taking pictures of the boarders and skiers.

If only it was winter, I have told my dad and he reluctantly agreed that after his big year is over it will be his turn to be the follower on our trips. We decided that a ski/snowboard trip in Colorado would be an amazing adventure next year. I hope you all accomplish your dreams for the next year or two. 



Monday, March 14, 2016


This latest trip was to Tucson, Arizona. We stayed in Miller Canyon which was very beautiful. The one downside of the canyon was that it had no cell reception, but I adjusted and after the first day used my phone just a camera. However this turned out badly since I grew used to using my phone less, I did not notice later when it went missing. The location of my phone is still unknown, but besides that, the trip was one of the most vacation like of any birding trips I have been on this year.

I got to go on my first hawk watch this weekend. A hawk watch is a strange pastime where people sit in a clearing waiting for a hawk to fly by. I noticed that many people also brought their dogs with them which provided a great source of non hawk related entertainment.

This is Joey the dog, she was known by almost everyone at the hawk watch and had the unique skill of being able to jump out from the dog park. I had to laugh as she ran around saying hi to everyone. In addition to seeing Joey the jumping dog I got to see a common black hawk.

The best part of that day was convincing my dad to let us go shopping. We needed presents for my grandmother and great grandmother's birthdays. My dad gave us fifteen minutes to pick something out, but we able to evade my dad for thirty. It was fun and we found some really nice presents. After that we went to see some humming birds and I got three new birds to add to my list.

Broad billed hummingbirds

Broad tailed hummingbird

Violet crowned hummingbird

My parents practically had to drag me away from taking pictures of all of the hummingbirds. 
It was a lot of fun and I was quite happy on the ride back to our cabin. Later that night we went hiking to see the elusive spotted owls. We saw them and got a great view of the sunset over the canyon.

One of the people who owned the cabin we were staying at was kind enough to show me a ringed tailed cat. 

The next day we went hiking in the desert and saw a curved billed thrasher and a black tailed gnatcatcher.

This blog was mainly just pictures since not much of interest happened this weekend besides losing my phone (potentially while hiking in the desert). I hope you all have a great week