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.
Snoopy was our “target” on the day trip we took to Sedona, Jerome, and Prescott last week with Tony’s sister and her husband (Terri and Jim), visiting from Illinois. We found him pretty quickly and went on to see other sights.
Look at all the houses all over Sedona now! Every time we go, there are more and more houses 😦 littering the lovely landscape.
This was not a birding trip and I didn’t bring my long lens but I was still excited when Jim noticed a flash of blue. It was a beautiful Mountain Scrub Jay, a lifer!
I think he/she has babies tucked away in this little cave. See the bee? I think it became a meal a second later.
Not everyone gets to see the elusive Sedona Red Rock bird:
Then we were on to Jerome. Jerome is a former copper mining town turned ghost town turned artist/biker town turned tourist town. I used to find it very quaint; this time it just seemed more junky to me. Maybe it was just me. The drive up and down is still beautiful, though, complete with many switchbacks.
There are three wildfires burning now, the view from Jerome of one of them. That is why the sky is hazy in the Sedona photos…
On to Prescott:
I’ve never been this close to a raven, I guess, because I was shocked it was so huge! It also had a friend in a nearby tree in Prescott’s square. They were very bold; snacks must be bountiful when the tourists are around.
Leeeeezards! Lots of them at Watson Lake. Click photos for more detail.
Golden in the sunlight.
Blue-tailed Skink. This one’s tail wasn’t very blue. But this one’s was (and also very long):
They seem to be basically snakes with legs.
This is an Important Bird Area. Lots of them, too.
This finch was pensively looking out over the water before he hopped to another tree and started looking at me.
And then there were these little guys, a whole loud, chirping flock of them, darting from tree to tree, hanging upside down on branches, acting silly, barely holding still for a second so we could get some shots of them. They were so cute, fluffy and pudgy, and it turns out they are Bushtits, known for traveling in flocks, being loud, and hanging upside down to eat insects.
And we saw several very large black and yellow butterflies, a kind I’ve never seen before but they were very camera shy so we just got this guy, who is a Cabbage White Sulphur, I think.
This combined with my last post of dragonflies and ladybugs concludes the wildlife portion of my Watson Lake series. There may still be a flora post to come.
Who would have thought when Tony took this photo in our backyard a few days ago that the very next day we would come upon a ton more dragonflies at Watson Lake? This one above is a Variegated Meadowhawk…I’m amazed at the colors he has when studied closely. Click photos for more detail.
I love identifying unknown-to-me wildlife but I’m having difficulty ID’ing several of these dragonflies even on this site dedicated to Arizona Dragonflies (of which there are a countless amount).
These Familiar Bluets were all over the place. There are several varieties of bluets but I think I have correctly identified this type.
I am going to ask The Dragonfly Woman (an aquatic entomologist with a blogging habit) if she’ll drop over and tell me what they are…she used to live in AZ so I’m sure she can promptly identify them.
This one’s wings shimmered like diamonds in the sunlight.
And this little ladybug was originally going to be in my next post about other wildlife we saw at Watson Lake but she would have been the only insect represented so here she is now.