“During this time I pushed my US list over 400 to 408, the 400th bird being a grey jay. This was particularly satisfying because I had previously tried to search them out in the Pacific North-West.
“The highlight, though, I think must have been a couple of brown-capped rosy-finches on the summit of Mount Evans. God, it was cold (and windy) up there. That day was made even better with the addition of white-tailed ptarmigans on the way down.
“I’m doubly pleased because I found both species despite being the driver. In fact, I’d sort of taken over that job, being the only one with Stateside experience. I’d sort of also taken over the itinerary, to get us out of the immediate vicinity of Denver. This enabled us, one day, to get down to Pueblo in search of roadrunners.
“We didn’t find them but we did find lifers for me of Mississippi kite and scaled quail.
“Once the group had returned to Scotland, I caught the train to Salt Lake City. Then my drive to Wyoming produced flocks of Franklin’s gulls and the last morning at Grand Teton finally netted me a green-tailed towhee singing atop a burnt-out pine. I also added another race of dark-eyed junco with the pink-sided.
“Finally California predictably did not add any lifers but it was nice to catch up with old favourites like Nuttall’s woodpecker, bushtit, mockingbird, scrub jay, California towhee and black phoebe. In fact they moved the year list up to 375 and the month to 246, which is easily the most productive month I have ever had.”