Bunting hunting in the Baja arroyos


Water? Check.  Food?  Check.  Cameras? Check.  Extra batteries? Check.  Ready?  Let’s go!  We jump on the quads and with smiles on our faces, head out to go Bunting hunting.  Varied bunting hunting to be exact.  We have been fortunate enough to photograph the female Varied bunting but today, we are in search of the elusive male.

Seems like the arroyos have not run since hurricane John in 2006 so there are a lot of desert plants growing in the thick white sand.  Many of them, like the one shown above, flower and then go to seed, which many of the birds we see in Baja California Sur, Mexico love to feed on.  That is where we head, to the seed patch.

We had decided not to stop on the way, just head on up to the patch.  Well, our plans inevitably change when heading out birding.  We stop when we see something beautiful and photograph it!  That’s what we had to do when we saw these two Crested caracaras

sitting there posing for us.  Light’s just right, beautiful…hold it….don’t fly….click! click click click!  Another good one out of 50 shots.

We arrive at the patch.  Pretty quiet.  Oh!  Maybe that’s why!  We look up and see one of Southern Baja’s numerous Sparrow hawks


flying directly above our bunting hunting patch!  Guess we’ll have to wait a while before we see anything.  We find cover and shade in the tall green scrub brush and wait for the hawk to move on.  I’m thinking well, there must be birds in the patch if the hawk is here but while he’s there….nothing moves or it’s most likely dead if it does.

Oh!  Wait!  Here comes a Say’s Phoebe gliding above the tops of the scrub brush not 10

feet away from us!  All’s quiet but for the snapping of his beak as he collects his lunch above the scrub tops, swooping for each insect he sees.  Oh!  He’s landing!  Click…click click click….click click.  Yeah, another 200 phoebe shots.  We got him with his tail spread as he lands and looks back at us like….you aren’t lunch!  What are you doing here?

We never did see our male Varied bunting but we got some great phoebe shots, good enough to replace the ones we had.  Another great day was had in tranquil Baja.  All I could hear was the Say’s phoebe snapping his beak and camera shutters clicking away…..isn’t life grand.  We head home, big grins on our faces.  I sometimes wonder if passersby think we are always such a happy couple.  Indeed, they would be right.


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