Monday, January 28, 2013

The Whispering Willows

Bridled Titmouse
Tic toc, tic toc.  Time is running short.  Just how many different bird species could I find in the state of Arizona before the end of January?  I'd read reports and have to carefully decide. Did I want the bird for my Pima list or Arizona list?  Ultimately it doesn't matter, but during the month of January, one has to pick and choose.  
Great Egret
Reports would come in and there were some nights I could not sleep at all.  This Pacific Loon reported in Tucson kept me up all night.  Sadly, this Mega-rare bird lived for one week before passing.  A birder found the loon floating near the reeds.  It was sent in and studied for the cause of death.  When I observed the bird, I didn't notice anything wrong with it.  Many birders around Southern Arizona were saddened by the news.  In November, Kathie and I spotted the Common Loon together.  It had difficulties getting out of a pond but eventually the loon made its way out.  This Pacific Loon did not.  I now have our local Wildlife Rescue number programmed into my cell phone in case I ever witness something like this in the field.  The bird will be preserved and studied by the University.  The autopsy had shown that the bird had died from starvation.  Mother Nature can be cruel sometimes.  But your memory dear Loon will be preserved on this blog.
Pacific Loon
Moving onto a happier report, I went onto the fabled Willow Lake of Prescott in Northern Arizona.  Home of the rare and special Tundra Swans.  It was a first for me as we scoured the lake for the Swans.  I had never seen wild swans before!
Northern Harrier
And along the way, I met my fabulous blogger friend Cynthia to find the swans!  We hiked through the cold and muddy fields full of goose $^&%$ and found our target bird.  It's more than just the birds.  Sometimes it's about the people and the experiences we have along the way.
So many wonderful birds can be seen around Willow Lake like Canadian Geese, Snow Geese, Ross's Geese, Mergansers, a couple Bald Eagles......and Swans!
Snow Geese mixed in with Ross's Geese.  There were 8 in the flock but mixed.  Possible hybrids. 
The Common Merganser took flight and I am now satisfied with a nice shot of this bird:)
Common Merganser
And then.....PAYDAY!  It took us one day to find the birds and a morning with Cynthia to get up close for those better observations and pictures. Thank you so much Cindy!
Tundra Swans
The hike was fun and the rock formations were extremely cool. If you're up in Northern Arizona, check out Watson and Willow Lakes.  The Big January report is coming up soon.
Willow Lake


  1. i am completely enamored with the bridled titmouse. :)

  2. Shame about the loon Rohrerbot :-( Great post today though. Love that Titmouse photo!

    1. It was terrible Warren. Birders who noticed the loon in decline felt terrible for not calling the hotline. Sometimes you don't know if there was an accident before the bird arrived to our area or if it was stress etc. Either way, I now have the number ready if I ever notice something like this out in the field.

  3. Great to see some of my favorite AZ Bird Bloggers getting together for birding! I sometimes long to be there.

  4. To smutne, że ten rzadki ptak umarł i do tego z głodu. Mam nadzieję, że inne piękne wodne ptaki są szczęśliwe. Pozdrawiam.
    It is sad that this rare bird died, and to that of hunger. I hope that other beautiful water birds are happy. Yours.

  5. I looking at these photos I notice the different behavior of each bird. Amazing.

  6. These are great photos Chris. It is so much fun meeting a blogging friend. I have met a couple of my blogging friends and talk on the phone with several.

  7. A fantastic selection of birds. I loved the Tundra Swans and hope to see one in the future. From Findlay

  8. It really is about who you meet when you are out as well as nature itself, it's great to share with like minded people. Some great birds and pics too :-)

  9. So sad about the loon. I am glad you got to see it. Birding is a wonderful excuse to get out into nature with friends.

  10. Very sad to hear about the loon. Great photos though especially love the Bridled Titmouse and the last shot. So pleased you are getting so much enjoyment out of your birding :)


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