On my first day in Arizona, my friend Deb and I went in search of a Rufous-capped Warbler, a bird that lives in Mexico but from time to time pops over the border. This bird had flown north, to Florida Canyon, a small canyon just north of Madera Canyon, one of Southern Arizona’s birding hotspots. The Arizona birding community was in motion to see this special yellow bird with its rufous cap.
That day, we had had no luck finding the bird. No one that day found it, not even the friendly couple who had driven down from Tempe. They helped us identify the Hammond’s flycatcher, and when I pointed toward the sky he was the first to call it: Golden Eagle. Later, we joined this couple sitting on a bench and watching one of the famous feeders in Madera Canyon as Lesser Goldfinch and Bridled Titmouse came and went. Everyone but me drove home disappointed. I hardly cared about finding such a special bird—I was still intent on orienting myself in this new birding landscape, on finding the usual birds. I was happy—no, thrilled--with my Black-throated Sparrow (not to be confused with the Black-chinned Sparrow) and with the Lesser Goldfinch, and the Bridled Titmouse birds I had never seen before.