Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Colorful Characters

Cedar Waxwing
My days are coming to an end in Guatemala.  But before I left on this trip, I tried to get in as much birding as I could around Southern Arizona.  Today I have a collection of special birds from around Pima County near the Proctor Road and higher elevations.
When it becomes too hot to bird in the desert, we rise to higher elevations.
Blue Grosbeak
The characters have all changed again.  The month of June is a slow one concerning birds.  But once the monsoon picks up, the rarities will begin to show up left and right.
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Up on Mt. Lemmon, the Cordilleran Flycatchers were everywhere with their green/yellow colors.
Pygmy Nuthatch
The lifebird, a Red-faced Warbler, made me think of the holiday season as he fed from the various trees up on Summerhaven on Mt. Lemmon. Talk about a gorgeous warbler!  Tricky bugger as well!!!
Red-faced Warbler
A lot of people always ask me why our North American birds are much more drab.   Well, birds have to blend in with their surroundings.  But I'd like to point out with this post that there are birds with color here. I couldn't stop taking pics of this tricky warbler!

Sorry....I went a little Red-faced Warbler nuts!  Lifebirds will do that:)
Cordilleran Flycatcher
The thing is....even colorful birds can blend in with their surroundings:)  My ears reveal their location and I am then able to locate the bird.  My partner in crime, Micheal, can locate the birds by eyesight alone.  That's how we found the Cedar Waxwing!  It was silent in the trees as I walked right by it.
Hooded Oriole
Even the browns of our many Northern American birds are attractive.  Take the Botteri's Sparrow below.  It has a rusty color.
Botteri's Sparrow
The Western Wood Pewee may be drab on the outside, but it's another beautiful bird as it flies from its' perch.
Western Wood Pewee
This little guy will normally have yellow on the underside of the breast covered by it's gray vest.  There is some slight yellow here, but the sun washed the color out.
I really enjoy watching the Pewees at work.  They have such a loud snap snap!  as they chase after the bugs.
Not enough color???  Okay let's get back to business.  I put two shots up of a Western Tanager using two different cameras.  We both trained our cameras on the bird.  I use a slightly different lens for my Canon than what Micheal uses for his Nikkon.  The Nikkon wins here.
Western Tanager(with Canon)
I like both shots, but the detail is better on his shot below.  Before going to Guatemala, I wanted to play around with the cameras to get a better idea on which one to bring.
Western Tanager(with Nikkon)
Once I have good ID shots, I'll start playing around with artsy photography part more.  I used to do that more but the having a solid bird ID photo is important.
As you can see in the pics above and below, the birds use the Saguaro Cactus for many different reasons. This cactus is very important to our habitat.
Northern Cardinal
In fact, with lifebird number 2 today(the Purple Martin), it is very important!  The bird nests in the cavity of this plant.
Purple Martin
The Purple Martin appears black here but I assure you, it's a shiny purple color.  The sun plays tricks on the eyes and camera. Plus the feathers are iridescent giving the bird the appearance of looking like a blackbird.
So why are there so many brown birds in North America?  Maybe I'm not understanding the question:)  We have lots of color out there, but the trick is to keep a look out for these characters.
On my next post, it's not about my photography at all.  It's a little about night birding and thanking the people responsible for my education in the birding world.  It's not an overnight thing and it does take time to learn this incredible hobby. All you need is a love for nature, some epic hiking, and a little patience.  I will be gone the first week of July to Mexico and I again apologize for my absence.  We are heading to Northern Mexico in the state of Sonora to study the birds at a large and private ranch.  This blog is an account of my adventures from around the world and at home.  Many times it's about birds but it's also about everything else. Life is an adventure.  All we have to do is step outside our doors to find it:) I'm out of town but will be back in July. 


  1. The first time I ever saw Cedar Wax Wings in California was in December 2006, the same year I came here to Sweden. There were actually several and they were feeding inside these fairly large Toyon or California Holly which were loaded with bright red berries. They were beautiful and looked like something out of Country's Magazines portfolio.

    The other bird on your list that is fun to watch is the Hooded Oriole. They are exceptionally shy though, so I would imagine any photos would have to be taken with Zoom Lense. This past visit there were a couple that loved the Bird of Paradise Bush (Caesalpinia gilliesii). They love nectar. Got one of those big Naval Orange looking Feeder Balls for them when I was in Anza.

    BTW, have you done any Common Grackle Stories ? Of course you'd have to add a sound audio to give the full flavour of who and what these birds are about. *smile*

  2. Chris, job well done! I hope you are having fun! See you soon!

  3. Your hobby will require me to come back with some leisure time to appreciate all the posts I have missed...

  4. Chris, I love all these colorful post. So many beautiful birds and wonderful photos. Great post. I know you are having a wonderful trip!

  5. Wonderful selection of birds there Chris and well done on the new life bird.

    Hope you are enjoying your holidays :)

  6. That Red-faced Warbler is a stunner Chris!!!

  7. beautiful birds, whether bright or brown. :)

  8. So many beautiful and interesting birds, Chris! I love the blue color of the grosbeak. Enjoy your traveling and birding adventures!

  9. Ciekawe, że ptaki dostosowują swój koloro piór do otoczenia. Pokazane są cudowne i te kolorowe i te mniej. Pozdrawiam.
    It is interesting that the birds adjust their feathers koloro the environment. Shown are wonderful and the color and the less. Yours.

  10. Beautiful shots of wonderful colorful birds.
    I love love love the new header!!!

  11. Qué colores tan bellos tiene algunas aves de por allí.. Qué chulada.. ( Very cool).. Bonitas imágenes. .Un saludillo desde Madrid.

  12. Hi Chris, I am in awe of these gorgeous birds you saw and photographed so beautifully.

    Especially the colorful Blue Grosbeak- Red-faced Warbler and the Western Tanager.

    Well done- thanks for sharing. Happy birding ~:)

  13. What a fabulous set of photos!

  14. Not many brown jobs there Chris, especially the amazingly blue Blue Grosbeak and the bright red Red-faced Warbler. Don't blame you for concentrating on that one. Enjoy the rest of your travels.

  15. A very fine selection of birds Chris, loved the 'walking off into the sunset' last shot :) enjoy your trip, catch you when you get back.

  16. You have captured such spectacularly colourful birds such as the Red-faced Warbler, Hoode Oriole, Tanager and Northern Cardinal.

    I like your sense of adventure. Have a good trip!

  17. Wow, you have captured some real beauties here, Chris! If I ever saw a gorgeous bird like the Red-faced Warbler, I would probably go nuts too. I ohhed and ahhed while scrolling through all your wonderful photographs. Oh how I would love to see a radiant Hooded Oriole, Western Tanager and little Pygmy Nuthatch. Until I head out west, at least I have your awesome blog to visit and view such beauty.

  18. Love the Western Tanager!!! So sweet! Happy 4th of July where you are!!! Happy travels!

  19. Fabulous birding shots! That red-faced warbler is amazing! Hope you are having an awesome trip! I couldn't find our email back & forth from before, so I will respond here to your proposal...I am tied up all next week with Vacation Bible School, but the week after I will be free and would LOVE to get together! Here's an email address. I hope it's the same one I gave you before. :-) I have three!!!! Anyway, email me again and I will send you my phone number via email so we can talk about when. mariecarmean97@gmail.com.

  20. Love that red-faced warbler! I am thoroughly enjoying all the birds I get to see on your blog, red, brown and everything in between. Enjoy your trip!

  21. What a treat to see these birds in a tropical location! You must be very patient to hear them in all that greenery and then try to locate them with your eyes.


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