My favorite part about the Birder’s Corner series is getting to interview birder’s from all over the country! Living in Colorado, the birds I get to observe are vastly different than t he birds in New York or Florida.
Here is our interview with Jeremy Medina, a native of Tucson, AZ. Jeremy’s experiences watching birds in Southern Arizona paints a stark contrast to my experiences in Colorado. But after reading about his adventures, it sure makes me want to get out there!
Hope you enjoy this interview.
1. When did you first become interested in bird watching and what has kept you interested?
When I was younger, my dad would often take me on daytrips to explore Southern Arizona. We went to popular birding locations, explored old ghost towns, camped, or hiked. But we always had our Bushnell binoculars to look at birds and other wildlife. If we saw a new bird, my dad would circle it in his Peterson Field Guide. In 1996 my dad took me to Ramsey Canyon. While we were hiking we heard the distinct calls of an Elegant Trogon. It took a few minutes of searching, but I spotted it first and was able to point it out to a few others. That was my first taste of the thrill of birding. I didn’t do much birding in college, but in 2004 I started to keep track of the birds I saw in my own Peterson Field Guide. The rest, as they say, is history.
2. Where are you located and what species do you spend most of your time observing?
I was born, raised, and still live in Tucson, AZ. I enjoy the incredible diversity of birds Southeastern Arizona provides. The last few years I’ve enjoyed photographing birds. I’m not picky, I’ll watch or photograph anything that wants to cooperate.
3. Are you active in a local or online birding community?
I connect with a lot of birders on the Arizona-New Mexico listserv, Facebook, Flickr, and my birding blog- http://azbirdbrain.blogspot.com.
4. What is your favorite bird or your favorite birding moment? It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything rare, just something meaningful.
Seeing an Elegant Trogon in Ramsey Canyon with my dad was very special to me. It was the prettiest bird I had ever seen. It was exciting to locate it by its croaking call and be able to point it out to other birders. Another time we were driving some back roads and found a Golden Eagle sitting on a telephone pole. It was the first time I had ever seen an eagle. I remember being amazed how huge it was compared to a hawk.
5. Do you have a competitive birding interest ie a year list or life list?
I submit all my bird observations into eBird. Last year I set out to top my 2007 total of 198 species seen in Pima County. I was successful finishing with 212 species. I’m sitting at slightly north of 300 species on my Pima County life list.
6. What is your favorite place you’ve been bird watching? This includes a birding vacation or even your own backyard.
That’s an easy one, this June my wife Gaby and I went to Kauai. The scenery and birds were amazing! I saw 45 species of birds including 32 lifers. My favorite bird there was a Laysan Albatross. I also saw endangered forest birds like I’iwi and ‘Apapane.
7. What is the farthest you have traveled to see a particular bird?
The farthest I’ve driven to see a bird was 325 miles. In December of this year I drove from Tucson to the Lake Havasu area to see the Nutting’s Flycatcher. It was well worth the trip. But for the most part I stay close to home.
And because this is AllBestBinoculars.com, we have to ask….
8. What was your first pair of binoculars?
My dad and I had a couple of Bushnell 7 X 35’s. We used them mostly for bird watching and other wildlife but occasionally used them at University of Arizona basketball and football games.
9. What is the best pair of binocs you’ve ever owned?
My first and only pair of birding binoculars are Audubon Equinox HP 8 X 42’s. I’d like to upgrade to a more powerful pair in the near future.
10. The worst?
That would have to be a pair of Barska binoculars I picked up at a sporting goods store for $10 to keep in my truck. They were awful so now I just keep an old pair of Bushnell’s as a spare.