My New Secret Weapon

It’s 3:05 PM and I’m 30,000 feet above Colorado Springs on United flight #6246 to Tucson.  To say I’m moving fast is an understatement. Last night at 11:55 PM I was still in Anchorage We arrived home in Niwot at 7:45 AM Mountain Time. Try sleeping on an airplane when you’re 6’ 5” tall – it’s not a whole lot of fun or a suggested solution for insomnia. But after a couple of hours of sleep in my own bed. Voila here I am.  How have I managed this? Am I a wealthy millionaire? Not at all. By the way, while in Denali NP some guy asked me if I was “some type of jet setter”? Let’s put this notion into the proper category right now. Preposterous! I may be on a bigger budget than Matt from Ohio, but if you were to compare me to one of the 1998 “Big Year” participants, I’d fall much closer to Greg Miller than either Al Levitan or Sandy Komito.  The real reason is I’m unleashing a new secret weapon in my “Big Year”. My son Scott, who’s in graduate school at Rice University is interning this summer as a financial analyst for United/Continental Airlines in Chicago.  So from now till September 1st I have free flight benefits (on a standby basis).  My buddy Bill Kaemfer said “This isn’t fair” when he learned of Scott’s summer position, but the way I figure there’s some ground to catch up on Sandy Komito, Bob Ake, and Lyn Barber so any advantage I can gain is just fine with me.

Why you may ask am I headed for Tucson?  Besides the fact that I’ve lost most of my marbles, there’s a Yellow Grosbeak in Ash Canyon and I’m chasing it! It’s been feeding at Mary Joe’s Ash Canyon B & B for the last three days.  Don’t know if it’s there, but I’ll find out in about four hours.  Yellow Grosebeak once when Don Desjardin and I filmed Plain-capped Starthroates near Alamos, Sonora, MX so it would be a new ABA lifer.  This is a pretty opportunistic secret weapon and I intend to utilize it as often as I can. I’ll report back this evening.

By the way a Streak-backed Oriole was seen at a feeder in Patagonia on Saturday and filmed by Charles Melton all morning on Sunday. Not seen Monday or Tuesday, but it could still be hanging around as well. Stay tuned.

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