Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Close encounters

A most interesting last couple days, both with friends Tom and Sheri and with the trip home. I will explain the latter first.

I wasn't even sure I'd make it home today. Not because of weather or other factors (the flights were pleasingly dull), but because of a surprising snafu in these days of heightened security. I got to Tucson airport quite early (7:30AM for an 11:00AM flight) because Tom and Sheri were both busy. I arrived so early, in fact, that the early flight to Denver had not yet left. I handed the agent my photo ID and my checked baggage and received my boarding pass. Went through security without a hitch. Was sitting quietly at the gate when I decided to look at my boarding pass to see what seats I had. To my surprise, the name said "BRUCE NELSON". So much for sitting quietly... Thankfully once the gate agent appeared at 8:30 everything got straightened out. But how could two sets of people, especially TSA who saw the pass and my photo ID, miss this? And how did I miss it until being at the gate? For a few brief sweaty-palmed moments I thought I'd be staying in AZ longer than anticipated, and not in a hotel... As a positive, I did receive a seat on the earlier flight.

On a more fun note, yesterday had wonderful times out traveling. In the morning I went with Sheri to both the San Pedro River and Huachuca Canyon. In the afternoon I went with Tom back to the Sulphur Springs Valley for another shrike banding attempt. This, thanks to volunteer mouse "Norman Bait" (Tom's pun, not mine), we were a trifle more successful:

This was one of four Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) trapped, banded and released. Two were a probable nesting pair and one was a nesting female (found the nest with at least two eggs). Considering what's happening with this species, let's hope for a successful season. For those concerned, Norman is alive and well.

At Huachuca Canyon, I happened across this resting-but-alert Whiskered Screech-Owl (Otus trichopsis):

And before I become a little owly myself, time to say good night...


Eamon said...

It looks like quite a big bird. How big is it?

MarkN said...

Average size of this species is about 23 cm. I was trying a "super-macro" setting on my camera, hence the seemingly large size. Thanks for stopping by!