Actually, John has been home awhile. After two months on the road, he needed to recharge his batteries, literally and figuratively.
Turning back the calendar to July 1st, John birded again with Melody Kehl in Arizona. A great birder is like a Melody (sorry, couldn't resist). She helped John see or hear, Gilded Flicker, Rufous-Winged Sparrow, Varied Bunting, Buff-Bellied Flycatcher, Olive Warbler, Greater Peewee, Hepatic Tanager, Cordilleran Flycatcher and Red-Faced Warbler. That brought his total for the year to 575.
Buff-Bellied Flycatcher was a bird we first saw in 1971 in the south end of the Huachucas. Using our newly acquired Lane Guide, we hit all the hotspots and ran into the same birders everywhere. Birding wasn't quite as mainstream then. Before NARBA and ebird, rare birds were found by word of mouth. We heard about the BBFL at Mile High (no more) where we saw nine species of hummingbirds in one day. We also visited Madera Canyon, the picnic table, the Patton's, the Spofford's (also no more) in Portal, South Cave Creek, Rustler Park and practically every other place to bird around there. It was a wonderful trip.
For the second half of his big year, John is targeting fall migration, pelagics, and accidentals.