Once again, I spent the day after Christmas participating in Superior, Arizona’s annual Christmas Bird Count. A big chunk of the morning was spent on a four-plus-mile hike into the backcountry, the route of which I mapped out above in blue. You can see the famous Boyce Thompson Arboretum at the top left, also part of the count circle, although not the area I was helping to cover. You can see two creeks in this map – they’re the corridors of green trees, mostly cottonwoods. The top one is Queen Creek, the one which flows through the Arboretum, and the bottom one is Arnett Creek, which we hiked up over a ridge and down again, scrambling down a dry wash when there was no trail, to get to. At this time of the year the cottonwoods aren’t green, they’re yellow. December is fall color season in the desert.
It was around forty-five degrees (Fahrenheit) when we started at sunrise, and I laughed at the other birders in their hats and mittens and scarves. Forty-five is not considered cold in the North Woods. Anyway, the bird of the day for me was my life Bridled Titmouse. This was my eighth year of Christmas counting, and I’ve managed to get at least one “lifer” every year.
Anyone else out there been Christmas counting this season?