Today, a departure from my usual daily bird...
The Desert Botanical Garden birder & volunteer family got the sad news that our senior bird expert Charlie had passed away overnight after a brief illness. Charlie was 90 years young and full of spirit. Many of us had a hard time keeping up with him on the trails.
This is a photo of the last bird I spotted with Charlie, when he & I were walking the Wildflower Trail last September -- in search of a Spotted Towhee, I think. Instead, we (Charlie first) caught sight of this Black-chinned Sparrow, and though it was moving quickly, I was able to get a couple of ID photos.
At first, Charlie wasn't sure about my ID because this bird had never been recorded at DBG before. But I gave him prints of my photos, and then he was convinced of the ID and conveyed the news to the Bird Walk leaders, who keep track of such things.
Charlie always seemed to know exactly where to look for birds and nests. He could find the daytime roosts of Lesser Nighthawks. He knew where the Greater Roadrunners nested. He spotted the rare Elf Owls last fall. He knew which saguaro holes housed the Western Screech Owls. And best of all, he willingly shared his knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone who was interested.
Rest in peace, Charlie. May your spirit happily roam the bird trails of this magical universe forevermore.