Grand Junction, CO - It was not looking good. It was 7:30 pm and the sun was disappearing over the juniper hills across from the Ute Canyon View and I had still not observed a Juniper Titmouse.
Earlier that evening I convinced five other workshop participants that we needed to go for a drive in the Colorado National Monument. They were all for it after spending the day in a hotel conference room and we headed out at the conclusion of our days work. The evening was gorgeous and we made numerous stops along Rimrock Drive to look over the wonderful canyon views (and look for birds for me). I really enjoyed watching the White-throated Swifts (one of my favorites) zooming over the red canyon rocks and the Ravens working their way along the rims. I even managed to pish in a dapper Black-throated Gray Warbler and got good looks at a pair of crayon blue Pinyon Jays. Of course I had put my small lens on the camera at that stop to take some scenic photos when they appeared so I missed what could have been a good warbler shot with my longer lens.
Still no Juniper Titmouse when we made our last stop of the evening at the Ute Canyon View. I wandered to the edge of the canyon, pished a few times, and I had a Chipping Sparrow respond and then I noticed the whirlwinds of White-throated Swifts above the canyon, swirling down to race along the red canyon wall. I tried to get some photos of the birds against that canyon and was concentrating on following the little speedsters with the camera when I heard a different "chip" from the small bush behind me. I turned around and there it was right behind me. A plain grayish brown bird with a nice little crest - a Juniper Titmouse. I really thought it was going to elude me again but there it was at the last stop in the fading light. Just one bird, but I got good looks and poor photos. I also had a pair of Ravens fly right over me and "cronk" at me then whirl up into the air over the canyon.
It was a great evening.