Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Seek And You Shall Find


Brian searches for the distant Common Crane
Talk about a spontaneous and fun weekend!!  A Common Crane (rare to the US) was spotted at Mormon Lake near Flagstaff, AZ.  Every birder,both in and out of the state, came to view this rare Eurasian migrant.  A scope was needed to spot this bird.

A little help with a scope.
Now, I've seen this bird twice.  Once in Europe and the other time in Roswell, New Mexico.  But I needed it for a state bird.  Anytime a new bird arrives into Arizona (and I don't have it on my state list), I go chase it.
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Common Crane
It's a pretty amazing crane as far as cranes go.  Once we spotted the bird, we had to make a decision.  Bird Flagstaff or bird Oak Creek Canyon. 

West Fork Campground at Oak Creek Canyon/Haddie, the dog, takes Magill for a walk
We made a great decision and decided to explore the incredibly beautiful Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona.  This place was FULL of our Western Warblers!


Red-winged Blackbird
Along the way we counted birds in the often chilly and shaded canyon.


In fact, this week has been an amazing one in that the weather has been COLD!  We had rain and overcast skies allowing us to enjoy our birding treks.  It has been unbearably hot this winter with one May day reaching 106 degrees!  Way too early for those temps. 

Jon heads near an area searching for rarities

During the week, I noticed something happening everywhere.  Warbler fallout.  It was a visible sign that a storm was soon arriving to our state. And it was moving from the Gulf of Mexico!  So we kept our eyes out for Eastern rarities and migrants......

The brilliant colors of a Brewer's Blackbird in full sun
Back in the desert, little birds were beginning to leave their nests. 

Juvenile Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

It's easy to fall in love with the little fledglings as they learn how to become adult birds.  BUT, I have to be aware of the dangers around me.


I nearly messed myself when I saw this rattlesnake.  I like reptiles but snakes make my skin crawl.  Why was this snake hiding?


It was eyeing up these young Round-tailed Ground Squirrels nearby.  Meanwhile, the warblers began to grab my attention.  They were EVERYWHERE!  Every bush and every tree were full of them.  Normally they are difficult to spot but not this week!

Wilson's Warbler
Then it happened.  The second state bird arrived the following day after our Common Crane spot.  It was the rare and beautiful Blackpoll Warbler. 

Blackpoll Warbler
I stood for a couple hours trying to get these pictures of this very rare migrant.  This male is heading up to Alaska to breed but for some reason, he chose Tucson's Sweetwater Wetlands for a stop.


He stayed for several days and made several birders very happy.


After observing this bird for quite awhile, I packed up my gear and felt really happy. In fact I glowed for the next several days afterwards.  It's almost impossible to get two new state birds in one weekend anymore.  So it was a very satisfying weekend:)


Life is amazing.  And it's only getting better.  Until next time.....


18 comments:

  1. Wonderful sightings Chris - well perhaps apart from the Rattlesnake!! Love the last photo :)

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  2. Hi Chris, I'm back after a while, visiting my favourite Arizona birder blog! Wonderful photos, especially the one with the dragonfly.

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    1. Oh my!!!!! Hello there!!!! So glad to see you back. I'll be heading over now to catch up:) It's been a loooong time. Thanks for checking in! Chris

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  3. From a rattler in a pipe to a sweet guy in a round fence opening! :-) Loved the photo of you! Wow about that rare crane! Loved all the warblers and the redwinged blackbird shot, and of course those sweet ground squirrels. I have a dozen shots of those little cuties from when we lived there, and got a different kind (I think) at a rest stop in S Oregon on our way home. I haven't been posting birds of late because of our trip (there were so many other things to focus on) but I do have one future post taken near Death Valley that is birds and blooms (an oxymoron, you say? :-) )

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    1. Hi there! I'll be stopping by your blog this weekend. Sounds like you are enjoying life and most importantly you're new life:) Have a great weekend!!!

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  4. Love that last shot of you on the round and you are looking so well. Fabulous posts as usual and that Wilspn'sWarbler is a gorgeous bird. I am sorry these days I do not have the same time to comment on all your posts due to recent events but I appreaciae you posts and your comments on mine.

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    1. Margaret, no need to apologize. I completely understand! Thanks for stopping by. And if you ever visit Tucson, you know who to contact:)

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  5. How fun!
    This Gnatcatcher is quite a sweetie.

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    1. The little birds right now are so adorable!:)

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  6. The Blackpoll Warbler was certainly a stunning find -- and that mouth full of dragonfly lunch shot absolutely pricelelss. Wonderful Birding. Congrats on the State Bird additions -- you are one amazing birder!

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    1. I try my best. The Blackpoll was a thrill for so many of us. We have so many incredible birds. And there are always more to find:)

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  7. Nice post. Could not help but wonder if you allowed to tick birds you see at Roswell - they could have come from anywhere if you believe the internet!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. It's true. According to Trump, that bird would truly be an illegal alien of another kind. Glad ICE didn't get the bird:)

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  8. What a wonderful weekend you had with your friends, Chris! Great photos of great birds too. That Blackpoll Warbler is delightful!

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  9. Hello, Chris! awesome sightings. Congrats on the crane sighting! The warbler is pretty and I would stay far from the snake! Happy birding, enjoy your day.

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  10. I am very glad you were successful in 2 new great birds

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  11. Hello Chris!:) We are back home again, after a great time in the Algarve, so it is taking me a while to visit everyone. You are looking really well, and your exuberance is catching. Wonderful sightings of all the birds, and congrats on seeing the two state birds. Take care, keep watching your step when you are on the trail! Happy Birding!:=)

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  12. Quelle belle diversité ;-)
    Les Grues cendrées se rassemblent par millier chez nous à l'automne au lac du Der dans la région qui s'appelle Champagne
    Céline & Philippe

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Thanks for stopping by!