When we drove out of Cave Creek into the desert, we didn’t expect much. But a few years ago Dave Jasper set up bird feeders in his backyard known as the “Big Thicket.” They attract desert residents and migrants that don’t venture up into the canyon.
Dave Jasper is a naturalist guide, one who is respected enough to have a chapter in a book that I just finished reading, Good Birders Don’t Wear White: 50 Tips from North America’s Top Birders. Each year more than 3,000 people visit the feeders he set up at his house. A couple of years ago he sold the property, which is still known in birding circles as “Jasper’s Feeders.”
The new owner, Bob Rodrigues, continues to make them available to all comers. I met Bob and asked if he was the owner of the property. He said he was and introduced himself. When he told me his name, inquisitive reporter that I am, I asked if he were of Spanish or Portuguese descent.
“Portuguese,” he replied. “My ancestors came from the Azores.”
I told him that half of mine did too. We bonded. “Countryman,” he called me.
But even before we got to his wonderful backyard, Sharon and I saw one of the birds that we had most wanted to see in Southeast Arizona. After turning north off the main road from Cave Creek, we came to a rough dirt road. On a post next to the road was a Gambel’s Quail.
Click on the picture above to enlarge
This was the lookout bird. Several of them scampered across the road when we stopped.