It was pouring out. We needed a little of that Tebow magic. At the very least we needed the rain to stop so we could actually bird. Even that was looking pretty doubtful. It had been raining steadily since Bill V picked me up at the Tucson airport yesterday. This was Tucson for goodness sake not Houston or Miami. Adding to the depression from yesterday’s rain was the fact that we searched for the Rufous-capped Warbler in the wrong area for the first 1 ½ hours. We were both cold and wet –chilled to the bone. It was as miserable as I’ve felt while birding since standing in the Texas sun and 105° F back in June. So we decided to call it quits (actually we pretty much ran out of light anyway) and told ourselves that tomorrow would be a better day.
But when I awoke at 6:00 AM this morning, the rain was still coming down. What a drag! No way would we see the warbler. But we drove down to Florida Canyon anyway, stopping in Green Valley for to-go breakfast at McDonalds. That was a trip. The room was packed with senior citizens. I thought to myself, “Bet this place is empty at 7:00 PM. Oh well, I’ll be there myself soon enough…but not today and not this year.” So we drove up to the parking lot at Florida Canyon and waited in the car for it to let up a slightly, which it did around 8:45 AM. We hiked up the short distance to where the warbler was being seen regularly but again the rains came. S we sought shelter under a tin roof very close to the dam and waited. After about ten minutes the rain stopped and the sky lightened. Birds started flitting everywhere. Olive Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher, three species of towhees, Cardinal and Hermit Thrush. I suddenly had a feeling. Bill suggested we go up to the water tank and start searching. A minute later Bill stopped. He’d heard the warbler chattering close. There it was gleening food in a yucca maybe fifteen feet in from the trail, about three feet off the ground!
I ran back to the car for my camera while Bill stayed with the warbler. But by the time I returned, the sky had darkened and the rain resumed. We were lucky…though we had put ourselves into position to be in the right spot at the right time…for a little fourth quarter Tebow Magic! Number 740 and tomorrow morning I leave for Alaska. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a bumpy ride all the way to the goal line.