Hot Birds in a Hot Desert
The end of May and most of June are hot hot months. They also tend to be some of the best months to go birding in Southeastern Arizona. So many people come from all over to chase our specialties. I was one of them once. Not anymore. Birding begins VERY early in the morning and can be comfortable until 9 or 10 AM. Then it becomes an infierno. For people searching for their lifers, they forget to stop and drink water. And the heat can suck the life out of you as the sun strengthens in the desert sky. Temps begin to climb above 100 degrees. Local birders run back to their air conditioned homes. Meanwhile, the visiting birders are suffering from headaches and heatstroke because they didn't drink enough water or wear enough sunscreen. We remind them, buuuuuut the thrill of finding a lifer overrides their logic and common sense.
For this birder, you'll rarely find me out birding in May or June anymore. I don't want skin cancer which is a serious thing here. I hate the mornings especially because the sun rises so early and I want my morning to relax and sip my coffee. To get my birding done for the day, I fill my feeders the night before, make my coffee and crack my windows open to hear the dawn song in our garden. That's as far as the birding goes.
As monsoon begins to sneak into our state, you'll find the most gorgeous sunsets and cloud formations. That's probably one of the best things to observe this time of year. It's the hope that rain will be coming soon.
So, why is the hottest month of the year, the best time to come and visit? How about some of these rarities from Mexico? White-tipped Dove, Yellow Grosbeak, active Green Kingfishers, Rose-throated Becards, Least Grebe, Nutting's Flycatcher, Pine Flycatcher(only in AZ), Tufted Flycatcher, Buff-collared Nightjar, Clay-colored Thrush, Berylline Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, etc. All of these birds are Mexican breeders or visitors in their furthest northern ranges! Half of them are only found in Arizona right now. Sure, you could go to Texas for the other half, but it wouldn't be as scenic:) And it's also hot down there. For all these rarities and more, check out Andrew Core's RARE BIRD ALERT each week. I'll be back next month with reports from Central and Western Mexico as I explore some areas around Puebla, Tlaxcala, Jalisco and Nayarit. Stay tuned for more.....