Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day 3 - Up to the Desert

Black-throated Sparrow
On Day 3 of the Verde Valley Bird Festival, we headed to the high desert above Cottonwood, from a field across the street from houses to a dirt road up in the hills. There aren't any tall saguaro cactus, those are farther south, just lots of mesquite. Our tour leader Rich was 99% certain we would find the Black-throated Sparrow, which didn't actually appear until we started back to headquarters.
White-winged Dove
 We are used to the Eurasian and Mourning Doves, but today was our first White-winged Dove of the trip.
Brewer's Sparrow
I believe this plain little bird is the Brewer's Sparrow. I try to write down the names of the birds as we see them, so I can ID the ones in the photos, but it's not always easy, especially when you get two birds who don't exactly look the same.
Canyon Towhee
This Canyon Towhee is nesting in someone's yard, and carried a large piece of tissue around for nest building purposes, I suppose, unless it needed to sneeze.
Curve Billed Thrashers
Curve Billed Thrashers had actually built their nest in this cactus, rather low to the ground. Isn't that dangerous, I asked, building so close to the ground? Well, the nest is in the middle of a spiny cactus, so not too many predators would be willing to go for it.
Bullock's Oriole
Finally saw our first Oriole of the trip, and although this fellow was silent, his colors stood out.
Cactus Wren
I remembered the Cactus Wren from our birding trip in the Tuscon area, and this one looked funny to me. When I started working on the photos, I saw that it has a deformed beak. Not quite sure how it is even alive, since it should have a rather long beak for catching insects.
Gambel's Quail Pair
Gray Flycatcher
Scrub Jay
Along the gravel road we saw the Scrub Jay, Loggerhead Shrike and a pair of Gambel's Quail perched on fence posts. The leader said it was good we only saw two Shrikes, because three Shrikes and you are out!
Mourning Dove and Lark Sparrow
Sometimes you find unusual combination of birds sharing a perch. Don't know if they are friends, or just passing on their way someplace else. After our trip, I stopped by one of the vendors to have them clean my binoculars. The focus wheel is starting to lose it's cover so he taped it up too and suggested I send it back to Vortex for repairs. Then he casually showed me the new Vortex bins, and, you guessed it, I ended up buying a pair. This purchase entered me into a drawing for a new Vortex spotting scope though. Just as we were leaving the park at the end of the day, my phone ring with news that we had won the scope! Whoo-hoo!

1 comment:

dick dennis said...