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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Heard the Trogon Call My Name

This morning, for the 3rd day in a row, I entered Fort Huachuca Army base, winding my way up the rough Fort Huachuca Canyon Road. Even before I got out of my car, a Connecticut Birder, also hoping to find an Elegant Trogon came over & spoke to me. We headed up canyon, on the opposite side I'd traversed the previous morning. Soon outpaced, I found myself marching stoically along by myself, when I heard a loud and raucous call echoing on the canyon walls. Huh... oh yeah, TROGON!

The repeated Trogon calls may have come from any of a b'jillion trees that covered the hillside. As soon as I keyed in on a spot, the bird moved, and the call repeated from a different area. Excited I backtracked downhill to locate the bird. I felt a wave of disparagement, I mean, no way I, born a po' Black child in the streets of New York - OK, not exactly born on the streets, more like born in a Brooklyn hospital - would ever see something as cool as a Trogon. In short, the damned bird was toying with me. Then suddenly the calling ceased; the bird had flown. Maybe it would return? I dropped onto a large canyon stone in the middle of what must have once been a riverlet, and waited.

Nothing happened.
Female Trogon - photo
NOT mine

Yeah, no Trogon for me. I slowly headed back downhill, my face screwed up into a frown. Then I heard the Trogon again - was it closer? I looked up, and there it was...  I looked upon the beautiful back of a grayish & coppery tailed female Trogon. This was a landmark moment - I lifted my camera, taking careful aim - gently pushed the shutter, and nothing happened. Stunned I stared at the camera - no flash disk. I tell you, the dark thoughts that filled my mind would have made a banshee cry & bolt.

The female trogon was the prettiest thing I thought I'd ever seen. Her long coppery tail hung elegantly below her gray back and she ignored me. I took out my iPhone, the only other camera I had about me, and frantically took several shots in the direction of the bird who sat on a vertically hanging limb. Here's the shot - promise not to laugh?

Anything in there look like a Trogon to you?
She took off, and though I relocated her twice more, soon she flew off. With unexpected energy I bulleted downhill to my car, fetched the missing flash disk and bounded back uphill. An hour later, I still hadn't relocated the Trogon so gloomily I trudged back downhill; no exciting photo of my 'lifer' Trogon. Woa, is me, eh?

The second time I returned to my car, I again heard a Trogon. Soon I scrambled across a small creek, and treked a short distance uphill, staring eagerly towards the insistent barking of a Trogon. I spotted a bird! This one was a bright irridecent green, a male and though he was a speck in the tree brambles, any photo beats no photo and after I got several shots, as the bird traversed a few yards - called - traversed a few more yards - called - then flew off across the road to the opposite slope.

I followed the bird and joyfully, only a stone's throw away from it. Here are some of my shots.

View of his cherry red belly during take off
It isn't every new species on my life list that leaves me in such a state of HOLY CRAP! Uh... I meant, in such a state of joyful revery. Seeing tropical beauties I'd never thought I see, let alone find on my own, left me feeling like the luckiest grown up Brooklyn street urchin, E-VAH!

Lots of Bridled Titmouses in the Huachuca Mountains

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