Anna’s Hummingbirds, males
I’ve gone birding a few times lately with a new birder friend, Karen. We went to several places that Tony and I have actually been to so I didn’t take the lens I use for landscapes, only my birding lens. And, of course, I got very few birds at those places so this post is just a sample of some of those birds as well as a few in my yard. These first few are yard birds.
Gila Woodpeckers, male and female
One of the places Karen and I went to was Arlington, full of agricultural fields, where Tony and I were in January (post).
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
We saw about 12 cranes, they were lifers for me, as were Brewer’s Blackbirds (no pic).
The following 3 shots were taken at a strange and not very attractive place called Robbins Butte Wildlife Area, run by Arizona Game and Fish Department. The sound of gunfire accompanied us. We did both get a lifer there called Bell’s Sparrow but neither of us got photos. We just saw it briefly and clearly through her scope and then it took off.
Kestrel Nesting Box
We drove over to Lake Pleasant Regional Park in search of 2 particular rare waterbirds and found neither.
The other day Karen and I went to Seven Springs, where Tony and I went in December (post). It was cold, windy, raining and hailing and there were very few birds out. We did drive up Humboldt Mountain, where the FAA radar facility is, and it was a gorgeous drive on a narrow but paved road. Once again, I only had my birding lens so no photos. That is on my “return to” list.
Some rare birds have been at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve (Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch) for the last few weeks and are still there. They are very unusual for Arizona as they are eastern U.S. birds. My birding friend, Marika, and I went there two weeks ago. I knew exactly where they were reported in the preserve~down to the exact trees and bench by the trees. We sat on the bench and all 3 of them came to us. They were all extremely fast and flighty and blended in with the cottonwood leaves so it was still challenging to get some photos.
It was pretty exciting to find them all. There were a couple more rare birds also reported there but we were unable to find those. Nevertheless, we were very pleased. I still may go back there soon.
This bird, above, is not uncommon here in the winter but I always like to see them. Last March Marika and I also went birding at the preserve and didn’t have as lucky of a day but I never posted any photos from that visit, basically because I had so few but here they are…
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
And I also have a few photos from a trip I took to the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden back in late October. I was happy to see the bird below. It’s only the third time I’ve seen this species. They are not very common here but they are not considered rare. This particular bird posed very nicely for me for several minutes.
Here are a couple more from that day…
Trying to catch up with the surplus of photos I have from 2017…hard to believe the year is coming to a close, isn’t it?
Once you start getting into birding, it’s pretty hard to not keep a list of who you see and it’s pretty exciting to get a lifer (a bird when it is first seen and positively identified by a birder. To qualify as a lifer, birds must be observed in the wild and under appropriate conditions to be added to a life list).
So, I’ve had an exciting week where I’ve seen and photographed FOUR lifers! They’ve all been in Phoenix, in 3 different locations, and none are overly common.
Western Wood-Pewee, above
I only got one shot of that little guy but he’s (she’s?) awfully cute.
And I got 2 lifers today at the park I go to once every weekend, Granada Park, and where I see quite a few birds but haven’t seen any lifers lately.
Nighthawks are those birds you often see flying around at night at brightly lit stadiums or close to freeway lights, hunting insects. But, in the daytime, they lay low and are usually camouflaged. I was very surprised to see this guy just standing on the trail, posing for me. He did take off and fly into some brush after a few shots.
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
There was a small flock of these in a tree I passed by. I had heard they were in this park but I had never come across them in my frequent visits there.
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow, fledgling with adult
I hope my luck continues and I keep cranking out these lifers so that I can have a Big Year!