To wrap it up, Cozumel is great for a cheap thrill in
tropical birding. These days one person can visit the island
as we did for under $300 (including round-trip airfare, hotel
accommodations, transportation and meals). Although it is not
well represented with the great diversity of tropical families,
it does offer certain species virtually impossible from
San Luis Potosi northward (areas in Mesico most often visited
by UTC birders). I would recommend it to anyone as an introduction to tropical birding or to those with experience limited to
•HIGH COUNTRY PEREGRINES
Dr. Larry N. White
From December 29 thru January 3, I had the pleasure of
visiting Dr. James Enderson of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Enderson, Professor of Biology at Colorado College, has been
actively working for the last 20 years helping restore the
Peregrine Falcon to its former range in the Rocky Mountains.
Since my arrival was only a few days after the great
Denver blizzard, I wasn't very optimistic about seeing many
birds. However, as a neophyte birder nearly anything that I
saw would more than likely be a lifer. So, while accompanying
Dr. Enderson on his routine errands around Colorado Springs, I
made sure to carry my binoculars. This wasn't a bad idea, since
just driving through town allowed me to see Black-billed Magpie,
Gray headed Junco, Dark eyed Junco, Tree Sparrow, House Finch,
and Scrub Jay.
Friday morning, New Year's Eve, dawn clear and cool
(about 2°F). Dr. Enderson decided that we would ride out west
of town on the prairie and try to capture a Prairie Falcon or
Merlin. While cruising the roads across the snow covered prairie
we found four or five Prairie Falcons perched atop the telephone
poles as well as an occasional Rough-legged Hawk, but my greatest
tjj^.1 was seeing a large adult Golden Eagle perched in a tree
100 yards off the road. Merlin appeared to be much more
plentiful on the Colorado prairies than along the coast here
in Texas. In our two or three hours of cruising the roads,
we saw four birds, whereas I've only seen one in the last four
months along the coast. Horned Lark appeared to be the most
common bird on the prairie. We saw numerous flocks of 15-20
On New Year's Day we took a short trip into the foothills
of the Rockies to a scenic area known as Garden of the Gods.
Birding here was disappointing, but we did find Townsend's
Solitaire, Scrub Jay, Rufous-sided Towhee, Mountain and Black-
capped Chicakee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Shrike,
numerous Junco, and Common Raven.
Sunday, January 2 was another beautiful day so we took a
trip down to Royal Gorge, a large canyon along the Arkansas
River. The picnic grounds were our destination, and although
the scenery was breathtaking, the birding was again disappointing.
Mountain Bluebird was the only new finding. Before we left
the area we did drive down to Canyon City and walked the railroad
tracks adjacent to the Arkansas River. Here we found three
dippers, and watched as they plunged into the icy water for
food. In a thicket along the tracks we also saw several Song
Sparrows in a group of Grey-headed Juncos.
Monday January 3 was to be my last full day in Colorado.
Since Dr. Enderson and I are both pilots, he wanted to take
me for a short ride in his airplane. We took off from a small
airport west of town and headed out over the prairie and quickly
found four more Golden Eagles as well as several Rough-legged
Hawks. Enderson claims that there is no shortage of Golden
Eagles in Colorado. In fact they have been one of the biggest
problems with re-establishing the Peregrines in the Rockies.
Golden Eagles and Great Horned Owls are the major predators
of the young fledgling Peregrines.
Enderson has been studying egg shell problems in the
Peregrines for years. Even though DDT and its analogs are no
longer legal for use within the United States, many of our
neighbors to the south are still using it. Since the Peregrine