Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Goose Chase

The antics of the Rosy-faced Lovebirds at Granada Park
So Magill texts me and the Gordon asking, "Hey are you both up for a White-eyed Vireo search?"  We say, "Yes." Will we find a White-eyed Vireo?  Who knows?  Prescott is an area full of secrets.  Rumor has it that there is a cult bird leader who keeps everything secret from the outside world. There's a special hotline for a special few in his group.  That's fine.  We're birders and we'll find them on our own. I love a good challenge. And it's fun to bird with Magill and Gordon.  Together we all find something rare no matter what. 



So Gordon says to me, "Hey do you want to check out Granada Park before we head up?"  I say, "Yeah.  Sounds like fun."  So I drive up to Phoenix from Tucson.  And I remember quickly that there is a person shooting at cars along the interstate. 



"Oh geez." I say to myself. "What is wrong with this world? Why are there so many stupid morons out there?"  I think about my odds as I drive the sparsely populated interstate during the early morning hours alone.  I safely reach Gordon's place and we take off quickly to survey Granada Park.  Holy cow!  There are lots and lots of Rock Pigeons and Rosy-faced Lovebirds flying around!



I swear these little cuties are taking over the Phoenix Metro area.  We get to Magill's place and see more Lovebirds flying over our heads!  


Then, I get excited spotting a Canada Goose.  There are not many of these birds down in Tucson, but in Phoenix, there are quite a few.  Why?  Phoenix people love their water.  And they have lots and lots of watering holes around the metro area creating perfect Canada goose habitat. 

Canada Geese are cool.  We don't see them often in Tucson
We get on the interstate and once again escape the shooter.  Now we're heading to Prescott.  But I have Catholic guilt.  I'm not Catholic anymore, but the brainwashing still works on me:)  Why?  Well, my bud Cynthia lives up in Prescott.  I was planning on going up there two weekends ago to hang out with her and Mr. Roger.  We were going to do some light birding and have some fun around town BUT a certain someone, ME, flaked!  I am not going to lie.  I have been exhausted lately.  It's the weather and the darned humidity.  And it probably has something to do with a wedding, a crazy neighbor, and work:) Plus I still need Sundays to get the laundry done!  

An early arriving Ring-necked Duck
Anyhow, we weren't going to be in Prescott for long, but I still felt guilty.  So Cynthia, I am going to apologize now to you..... I AM SO SORRY!  


This bee demonstrates pollination at work
We get to Granite Lake Basin and start looking for the White-eyed Vireo.  It starts off hotter than blazes.  But we hear lots of birds around a drainage ditch where this bird is supposedly hanging out. So we check out all the migrating warblers.  While doing so, we end up getting excited about the bugs flying around the area.  



Take for example this hummingbird imposter, the White-lined Sphinx Moth.  This is for my friend Ragged Robin who loves moths.  These bugs are often confused with hummingbirds because of the way they fly and look.  Fascinating critters!

White-lined Sphinx Moth
This is the caterpillar form(below) for that moth above.  I was watching a Robber Fly get close to this caterpillar.  When it "touched" the caterpillar, the caterpillar swung down and knocked it off the branch.   Magill says, "Um, hey can you guys help me over here?:)"  Oh that's right, we're birders. 

A Robber Fly gets smacked off the leaf by a Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar
So we start moving towards the area where birds are chirping and we find this Metalmark below.  Cool!  

Mormon Metalmark
We spot Wilson's and Townsend's Warblers.....and then a rare Chestnut-sided Warbler(below). I told you we'd spot something rare and not on the list:)  Magill commands me to take pics of the bird to post on the listserv:)  I lock on and get an ID-able photo.  It's cool but not as cool as a White-eyed Vireo.  Where is that bird??!!!  We inspect every plant around the area and just keep turning up Dark-eyed Juncos, Chipping and Rufous-crowned Sparrows and of course, more of the expected warblers. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Eventually, we give up and go for lunch.  By this time, the area has cooled down with thunder boomers growing above our heads.  We decide to head to Willow and Watson Lakes.  The shorebird activity is wonderful and we count the birds.  We notice another early bird for this area, the Greater White-fronted Goose making our day really....a goose chase:) 

An early arriving Greater White-fronted Goose sans the white front
As for the shooter?  Well it appears they've caught several of them.  But there are still a couple other incidents that need some explaining. Why do people do this kind of stuff?  It's bad having one person do it, but to have "copycats" just makes it worse.  Ahhh humanity. Anyhow, I'll stick to nature. It's a lot safer:)  Until next time.....

33 comments:

  1. Hey Chris! Just back from our cruise....we drove through Phoenix on our way out, worrying a bit over the car shooter on I-10 but made it fine as well. Had an amazing week and can't wait to post the photos (not many birds, unfortunately) Loved this posting...some lovely birds and insects! Get some rest! :-)

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    1. Hi Marie,
      I look forward to your postings. Sounds like a blast!

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  2. Those little love birds are so sweet looking. The Canadian Goose you can keep. They are such a pain here. The parks and inland lake shores are covered in poop.

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    1. I know! They've taken over my parent's yard in WI:) They are a winter bird for me. Winter and geese. What's more perfect than that?:)

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  3. Your day sounds much like mine did on the first (and last) day of my road trip last week!

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    1. Life can be very interesting sometimes:)

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  4. Hello Chris!:) Amazing shots of the Sphinx moth and the caterpillar with Robber fly Chris. Glad you saw the Canada Goose, nice to see something you don't get to see all that often, and the butterfly/moth don't know which, is really pretty. I hope you feel rested now, and have a good week.

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    1. Thank you Breathtaking. Things are starting to get better. For the last two weeks, it has been hell! I need to remember to take a breather once and awhile.

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  5. Those Lovebirds are pretty cute, Chris, but it's always a bit worrying when alien species start multiplying strongly. We're starting to get a big problem with Ring-necked Parakeets in UK!

    Your White-lined Sphinx Moth looks as if it's closely related to our Humming-bird Hawk-moth - always a delight to see!

    Best wishes - - - - Richard

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    1. Yes....we are wondering what is going to happen. Population crash or.....???!!! These birds continue to grow in great numbers but only around the Phoenix Metro area. The surveys are always interesting.

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  6. If aliens are invading I guess Rosy-faced Lovebirds are about as good as it gets!

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    1. They are cute. And much more colorful than those Rock Pigeons:)

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  7. Those lovebirds really do get lovey dove when I've seen them. Shame us humans can't be a little more loving to each other. Sorry Chris but Canada Geese are a bit of a pain in the proverbial here in the UK.

    Stay safe from the lunatics.

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    1. Lunatic is in jail right now. The big question for everyone is....for how long??

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  8. What a wonderful post Chris and thanks so much for the mention :) And yes, I do absolutely adore the White-lined Sphinx moth and its caterpillar :) Have seen a couple of Hummingbird Hawkmoths over here this year - when my son and daughter first saw the species on Jersey they really did think they were hummingbirds :) Love the Metalmark butterfly too and the Lovebirds are exceedingly cute :)

    Very relieved you didn't have any problems with shooters!

    Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful wildlife trip :)

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    1. They've caught the shooters now, thank goodness! If you ever make it to Arizona with the hubby or to visit, let me know. It would be my pleasure to show you both around our beautiful state.

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  9. Beautiful photos - so envious of the wild lovebirds! Glad you navigated the "gauntlet" safely with no one shooting. We had some of that here in So Cal years ago and it was awful. People are nutz!

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    1. People are seriously crazy. I feel sorry for the wildlife:(

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  10. Very entertaining post!
    Great bird photos! Bees, flowers, and moths, too!
    Lea

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  11. You have loverbirds, who has set them free? Invasive speecies can be interesting, but also a big problem. Great photos.

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    1. I think back in the 80's there were some escapees. They then spread since their habitat back in Africa is very similar to the Phoenix climate. And today they are taking over the metro area:)

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  12. Great photos of birds and insects. I especially like the Rosy-faced Lovebirds. They are definitely cute! Glad you avoided the shooter! Crazy people!!

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    1. Crazy indeed! Thankfully they caught everyone now.

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  13. A great series of shots. The love birds are...lovely!

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  14. What an eventful time. Look at all those lovebirds. You saw so much that was interesting. Well I am glad they caught the shooters. I often wonder if the world has gone mad.

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  15. those lovebirds are so darn cute! (and noisy). :)

    love the hummingbird moth!

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  16. Those birds are adorable. As always you have beautiful photos to share. I don't understand some people either.

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  17. Beautiful birds. I like those love birds.

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