Butcher Jones Trail

Along the Trail

We went looking for birds and stuff on Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake last week. It was supposed to be birdy. As usual, it wasn’t but it was nice anyway.

Osprey FlareOsprey

We saw more butterflies than I’ve ever seen in one place, many groups of several.

Butterfly GroupSouthern Dogface (open wings) and other Sulphurs 

Empress LeiliaEmpress Leilia (a first)

QueenQueen

Dfly 2

Clark's GrebeClark’s Grebe (lifer)

We saw this well-known guy with one foot in exactly the same place we saw him last November.

GBH BJ_edited-2

GBH One FootGreat Blue Heron

More of the trail:

Trail 2_edited-1

Trail 3

View

Cactus DetailSaguaro Detail

Mesquite BosqueMesquite Bosque

We briefly stopped at Coon Bluff Recreation Area on the Lower Salt River on the way back, hoping to see some eagles, wild horses, something, but no luck. It was a pretty view, though, and the fall colors were beginning so it was worth the stop.

Coon Bluf 11.19_edited-1

And now we’re on to December…

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Goldwater Lake

Acorn Woodpecker, female

If you don’t live in the purple range below at an elevation over 4500 feet, maybe you’ve never seen one of these comical woodpeckers before. I hadn’t~at least not since I’ve been paying attention to birds. So I was excited to see a lot of them the other day when we went to Goldwater Lake in Prescott, AZ.

This is a granary tree, above, the main food storage “pantry” created and used by communal groups of these fascinating woodpeckers. They have a complex social system where family groups hold territories, and young woodpeckers stay with their parents for several years and help the parents raise more young. Several different individuals of each sex may breed within one family, with up to seven breeding males and three breeding females in one group (Cornell Lab). There can be up to 50,000 holes in one tree!

Acorn Woodpecker, male

This whole area was very birdy and beautiful! The dam separates the upper and lower lakes.

Western Bluebird, female

Western Bluebird, male

The Bluebirds were also lifers and the female was very accommodating. I have many shots of her. Also easy to photograph were the Juncos. I got a new subspecies, below. I also got another lifer, a Bridled Titmouse, but my photos are very blurry.

Dark-eyed Junco, Red-backed

This is actually a Prescott city park but it is part of Prescott National Forest. Nice trails.

Common Raven, snacking

Ruddy Duck, with blue bill in breeding plumage

White-breasted Nuthatch

American Robin

Mallard, drake

Great Blue Heron

Chipping Sparrow

Marine Blue Butterfly

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Rarity #1

Mandarin Swim 2

Mandarin Swim 3

Last week I went in search of two rarities in town. Both are not only rare in AZ but rare in North America. This Mandarin Duck (drake) resides at Tempe Town Lake, just across the bridge in Tempe.

Drink

Mandarin Head On_edited-1

It’s a pretty big lake (for here) but he was the first duck I spotted in the water. No one quite knows his origins but I guess he has been there “awhile.”

Mandarin Mug

“Mandarin Ducks are found in southeast Russia, China, Japan, and Korea.  They were introduced into Britain and exported to many other countries. The largest populations are in Japan and Britain.  Ducks found in North America are usually escapees from collections or feral ducks in small numbers. There is a small colony of Mandarin Ducks in northern California. Their habitat is marshes, streams, and pools in wooded areas.  They are partial migrators, migrating in early September.” (Birding Information)

Mandarin Stand

Swim Other

I have about 80 shots of him but I whittled them down to these few. He was extremely handsome, colorful, and small.

Herring Gull 11.22.15

While there, I also spotted this immature Herring Gull, 1st winter, above. I stopped at another Tempe park after that, Evelyn Hallman Park, but spotted no more rarities or lifers, just these cute guys:

GrebePied-billed Grebe

Green Heron 11.15Green Heron

Stay tuned for the next rarity I saw last week…

Assorted Fall Birds

Muscovy

Muscovy HeadshotMuscovy Duck

WigeonAmerican Wigeon, female

Ring-Necked DuckRing-Necked Duck, drake

Lovebird 3

LovebirdRosy-Faced Lovebird

Mock Lantana 10.18.15Northern Mockingbird

H 10.14.15Anna’s Hummingbird, male

YRWAYellow-Rumped Warbler, female

Here are some baby birdies from late summer that I never posted. This is a Green Heron youngster, cartoonishly peeking out from the reeds:

GH 2

GH 1

GH Babe Peeking

And this is a Pied-Billed Grebe adolescent:

Grebe 1

Grebe

Fall’s in full swing here, finally!