If you remember back to my last post, I was finally able to photograph my birding nemesis, the male Varied Bunting sitting on a bush by our pool. Before that fateful day, Debbie and I had been returning time and time again to that same patch of desert weeds. Up the hot and dry arroyo where I missed a shot years earlier after my camera told me I would (dead batteries). Once in a while I’d even go up there by myself on a hunch. “I think I’m gonna see him today” and Debbie would shake her head from side-to-side knowing I had a fever to see this boy again.
So now, knowing I have a half decent photo of the male Varied Bunting, rehab can begin and I can move on. Debbie comes up with this terrific idea to go and have lunch at a restaurant in La Ribera. Boy, it’s windy as the dickens but knowing La Trinidad RV Ranch is a bird friendly place to eat we decide to grab mom and go anyway. We arrive and are cheerfully welcomed by Christy. She sees our cameras and immediately recognizes we’re not here just for lunch, but we wanted to see some birds. Christy says “oh, you’re the bird people” and points to a copy of Birds We See lying there on a table. She’s saying how much the customers like the book and we’re all smiles.
Christy takes down one of the wind screens so we can see the feeders better from our table. She puts out some bird food and all these birds are putting on a show for us. Way cool! Then Debbie says “is that an English Sparrow female?” The light from that angle was horrible but I could see no, “That’s a female Varied Bunting”! They do look similar at a glance. Didn’t even give it a thought a male could be around nearby. So we’re up trying to get better angles to shoot from. The waitress gives us some space after getting everyone something to drink. We’ed left the table and are too focused on the birds to order. Then I almost have a heart-attack. Is someone playing a joke on me? Is this a dream? There’s a male Varied Bunting at the feeder!
And then, there’s another one.
I feel like the spell these birds had on me was broken. This rehabilitating lunch break was just what the doctor ordered. I was free! After taking a few shots of the birds I could sit down for something to eat. I felt more at ease. And then,,,it’s happening again! What’s that? “Debbie, look over there”. What is that bird? No, it can’t be!!!!!
It’s a Blue Grosbeak!
This is just too much. He’s just sitting there on one of the feeders staring at me. What a beautiful bird. Like the male Varied Bunting, I’ve seen this bird once before in Baja Sur but never with camera in hand. The food is great, bean soup to die for but forget this, I’m moving in for a closer shot. As soon as I try to get closer all the birds take off to hide in this big bush. Pretty sure the bird food would win a waiting game. Sure enough, I stand still a bit and they re-appeared on the feeder. Click, click and I’m back to the human feeding table and back to reality. What a day!
Blue Grosbeaks are large finches that have powerful bills used for cracking tough seed shells. Like most seed-eating birds they also feed on insects and sing musical songs. Fairly common in much of the southern U.S. and Mexico they are seldom seen in most of Baja California, Sur.