Saturday, March 18, 2006

Elegant Trogon #129

Lynn and I had made a trip down to the Sonoita-Patagonia area to see the incredible birds of Arizona. I believe this was our first adventure into this region. While visiting some areas we were told by the hordes of other birders that people were regularly seeing an Elegant Trogon in a grove of trees on the edge of Patagonia Lake.
That first night, we scrambled down to the lake and checked out the area. It was getting dark, so we scouted and planned for the following days adventures. At first light we headed back toward the lake and stopped to look at every bird along the way. We made our way slowly around that edge of the lake finding it very very birdy. We found lots of other birders and groups led by professional guides, but no one had seen the Elegant Trogon that day yet.
It was warming up and by about 10am that morning, Lynn and I started making our way back, when suddenly a red flash flew just feet over my head and it made a strange call that I had never heard before. It flew right into the grove of trees that others had been talking about. It continued calling and we tracked it down. There it was! An amazing sight to behold, the Elegant Trogon. A beautifully colored male. I have never found a picture that really does it justice. There are at least three shades of green on them, with the red being very brilliant. It is one of the most beautiful birds I have seen to date.
Two "more elderly" birding couples were nearby and I called to them to come and see the Trogon. We watched it for about 45 minutes and tried to sneak up close enough to get some pictures. It wasn't overly disturbed by our presence and it was fun to watch it spot a caterpillar 30 feet away on a branch, fly over, and munch on it.
Lynn has been birding for over 5o years, but had never been to this part of the country. We both saw lots of new life birds on this trip. I remember him exclaiming with a lot of emotion, "I have been reading about these birds for years in my bird books, but I never thought I'd see the day when I would get to see them in person." It was very fullfilling for him and for me.