Sometimes birding Baja can be a little sad.


One of our favorite places to go birding in Baja Sur is up the arroyos near Los Barriles.  So today Debbie and I got the quads ready for a day trip and away we went.  We always have plenty of water, spare batteries for the cameras, some snacks, sun screen, a phone and did I say spare batteries  with us?  Our goal today was to search an area we know is full of low brush that has gone to seed.  This is where we’ve seen the Varied Bunting before.  They love the seeds of these bushes.  Actually took some beautiful photos of the female there in the past but when I went to shoot the seldom-seen male, my camera’s batteries were dead.   To this day, I still don’t have any decent shots of the male Varied Bunting, just a purple blob.  So you guessed it, no Buntings this day.

We set up our chairs in a nice shady spot.  Debbie got out the iphone.  We have an iBird app that will play Varied Bunting songs hoping to lure a bunting close to us.  No luck so I, like I usually do, wandered off looking for who knows what.  As I approach this bush there’s a pair of suspicious eyes staring out at me not 10 feet away!

A Red-tailed Hawk, a Buteo( a soaring raptor) took off not flying but running up a hill away from me.  I take photos while I’m wondering why this bird is not flying.

I walk over to where the hawk had been waiting for me to find a sad site.  Two dead hawks, one a Red-tail and the other I couldn’t identify but not a Red-tail.  Both had apparently been shot, beheaded and had their claws removed.  So the hawk I saw was grieving over the loss of it’s sibling.  Thats why he didn’t fly off.  He was too young to fly more than a few feet at a time and he was confused.   I took a few more photos of the youngster and left the area wondering why people do things like this.  Such a beautiful animal.

When I start walking away I hear and see mother Red-tail flying above near the canyon rim screeching, warning and asking me to please go away.  I find Debbie and we leave.








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