Those are Sandhill Cranes! My excellent birder friend, Karen, and I went birding the other day to Buckeye and Arlington, west of Phoenix, and had a very birdy day seeing at least 49 species and well over 1,000 birds. We saw 58 Sandhill Cranes in an agricultural field and this year we were able to get close enough to get decent photos. That alone was an awesome experience…but wait, there’s more…
We saw a Great Blue Heron rookery with many flying in and out. These 2 were on a nest together:
Long-billed Curlews in a flock of about 150
It’s very lush and pretty out in the agricultural fields, not something you usually associate with the Phoenix desert. I got 2 lifers, the Curlews as well as a Prairie Falcon that I only saw but did not photograph. We had a great birding experience.
We last went to the Verde River in early December 2017 when the fall colors were far more vivid. I guess we went a little too early this year and the birds were not cooperative either. We didn’t even see horses like we did that time. Oh, well, can’t complain too much because it was still very pretty…
Ugh, after living in Arizona for 45 years and going out in the wild fairly often, I finally saw my very first tarantula lumbering along a path we were on at Seven Springs. Interesting yet creepy to this arachnophobe. Of course, we did not get in its way.
One of my friends said she saw her first tarantula in the wild at the same place several years ago. Just a little earlier, I had mentioned to Tony that I thought the area seemed “tarantula-y.”
Woods Canyon Lake, east of Payson, that is. It’s one of our favorite places but we hadn’t been there yet this year. It didn’t disappoint and the temperature was 70°! We saw some areas of the lake we hadn’t seen before.
Some of the animals appreciated the peanuts (and a little popcorn) we brought for them.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Chipmunks have stripes through their faces, squirrels do not.
Hermit Thrushes (last one is a juvenile)
Okay, I’m sorry, I have way too many photos of the following birds but they were so loudly excited about the peanuts and so pretty that I couldn’t stop. I still have way more; maybe a post featuring just them will be forthcoming:
Almost as raucous as the jays were several of these guys: