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Groove-billed Anu

Groove-billed Anu

A vagrant Groove-billed Ani was in town. That was enough to change all Sunday plans! At 7:30 am, We were the first to arrive at Whitewater Draw, in time to see the local Barn Owl take off and head into the grove of trees where it spends its days. That was the first lifer for me.

Others were kind enough to share the precise area where the Ani had been seen for the past five days, so that is where we waited. A rare (for this time of year) Green-tailed Towhee played in the ground foliage, peeking out one moment and then daring back to cover. Red-winged Blackbirds did what Red-winged Blackbirds do, flying here and there and making lots of noise. There was no sign of our bird. So we kept waiting.

Two hours later, seemingly out of nowhere, a black streak with a naturally long tail, darted across the sky and into a small willow. Our bird had arrived. By that time about a dozen people were waiting and watching. The bird had disappeared into the thicket but this was now a group effort. We all took up positions around the tree at a respectable distance and, yup waited some more. Only this time it was a short wait. The bird was calling from the tree and soon flew across the path and perched, in glorious view, on the branch of a dying willow. Birders oohed and aghed, shutters clicked. Then, as if to fully acknowledge its adoring crowd, the Ani sang. It was beautiful. It was 9:30 am and a second lifer had rewarded our wait.

We packed up to leave, as did most of the other birders. There was no reason to stay longer and harass the bird. Others would undoubtedly arrive throughout the day to glimpse this rarity. The ride home was consumed with buoyant discussion about the sighting and how excellent a passion Birding is to have.

What a perfect way to start the day.
Shoot Date: July 15, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₈₀₀ sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM +2x @ 800 mm
ISO: 640