This weekend is the yearly birding festival in our nearby town. People do come from all over the nation for WOW, and although we have visited the exhibits and booths before, this was our first year on a field trip.
We chose the Half-Day Hawk Stalk because we see so many raptors in our valley, and we have a difficult time telling one kind from another, leave alone members within a family. We had to be in Willcox at 7 am, a feat for us who don't set an alarm any more, but we made it.
There were 3 vans, and ours had only 1 person besides us, the guide and the driver. We went north of Willcox and had a great time sighting the various raptors, as well as other birds. On our way back the guide was able to check off 27 different bird species including a bald eagle, several thousand sandhill cranes (these are the main attraction for the WOW festival), numerous redtailed hawks and ferruginous hawks, a couple of prairie falcons, a northern harrier, and many other species that we find around the house here and that other people stopped the vans for: white-crowned sparrows, scaled quail (we feed them by the hundred), a roadrunner (we have one roost in the barn every night), a canyon towhee, curved-bill thrashers. It made me realize again that we live in a very special place.
One of the exhibit attractions for me is Liberty Wildlife, a rehabilitation organization from Scottsdale that brings birds to see up close and personal. This is the first year I have seen them bring a bald eagle.