Reports, with Bird Lists, of our Meetings, Walks and Outings

Coast, Cacti and Canyons
by Jill Carey

Date: Thursday 25 February 2016 at 19:30


59 people attended the meeting at which Jill Carey told the story of a birdwatching expedition in south west USA.  The tour began in Texas and encompassed New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Jill’s story brought back many childhood memories relating to famous events in the American “wild west”.  The Alamo in San Antonio where boyhood heroes like Davy Crockett perished at the hands of the Mexican army. The O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona where the famous shoot-out between the three Earp brothers with Doc Holliday, and a famous gang of Cowboy bandits, took place. 

Monument valley showed us where so many old westerns were made among the strange and wonderful landscapes of sandstone mountains carved by wind, rain and sandstorms.

The bird species count for this trip was high; a wide variety of herons, cormorants, flycatchers, sparrows, hummingbirds, egrets, vultures, caracaras, woodpeckers, orioles and cardinals, including whooper cranes which conservationists are trying to save from extinction.

Mammals were also included – bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelopes, longhorn cattle, squirrels, bobcat and cougar all got a showing.

The presentation closed with magnificent pictures of the Grand Canyon and a photograph of the extremely rare Californian Condor which was nesting in the canyon.

This was a very entertaining and varied presentation from an ever popular presenter.

Peter Gaines reported these birds in our area:

  • Dinton Pastures – Ferruginous Duck, Mediterranean Gull, Oystercatcher
  • Dorney Wetlands - four Cetti’s Warbler, three Snipe, three Water Rail
  • Theale Gravel Pits – seven Red Crested Pochard
  • Slough Sewage Works – 2,000 Ring-neck Parakeet
  • Wishmoor – Great Grey Shrike
  • Penn Wood – 29 Brambling
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Jill makes a welcome return visit to the East Berks RSPB Local Group. Her talk will focus on the wildlife and natural beauty of just part of the USA. Along with many resident birds we meet the spring migration as we move down the coast of Texas. Then on into the desert areas of Arizona where the spring flowers bring out the humming birds among many others. We then move north into the mountains and find canyon country where we see birds and flowers amid the spectacular formations of Utah.

About Jill

I am an ex-teacher and since retiring have travelled extensively around the world with my husband.  During the last twenty years in our quest to discover the beauty of the natural world, we have sought out some of the birds and mammals, plants and history of these places and now enjoy sharing our experiences with fellow travellers.