I spent a whole week debating what I would do....chase birds or just relax and bird a favorite hotspot. There are more birds I need to find but they are simply too far out of range to observe properly within the short amount of time given. Everything now points to California but I only had the weekend for birding. And I didn't want to be on the road driving for most of it.
|Sparrow love.....Vesper Sparrow|
Now if we took the mountains out of the shot above, this could be a wetlands somewhere in central Wisconsin. During the winter months, this place becomes a hotspot for many birders as thousands of Sandhill Cranes congregate these waters and surrounding farmer's fields. As one might imagine, lots of waterfowl also hang out here.
It's a little too soon for all of these birds, but we did have one large flock of Cinnamon Teal hiding out in the reeds. We did a little walk around the area and flushed over 60 of these ducks!
It's still warm and it's still wet in Southern Arizona. Another storm passed through our area from the Pacific Northwest and it pushed down several more migrating Vaux's Swifts.
Vaux's Swifts are pudgy swifts with short tails that breed between Southern Alaska and central California during the summer. As they head back to Central and South America, several will pass through Arizona. Many times, this bird can be seen riding the winds in front of major storms around watering holes. In my case, Hurricane Odile helped me locate one around the Sweetwater Wetlands. This year has been a very good year for many birders in Southern Arizona with all of our monsoon storm activity.
There were lots of brown and gray birds from our adventures. From top to bottom and left to right.
Merlin, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Red-tailed Hawk
Loggerhead Shrike, Killdeer, Mississippi Kite
Common ground-dove, female Lazuli Bunting, Vaux's Swift
Perhaps the most significant part of this trek was observing migrating swallows as they gather in great numbers heading south. The highlight of our day is captured below on this fence line. Swallows tend to be tricky birds to capture on camera. And it's rare having 3 different swallows sit still long enough for a picture. As I've stated in previous posts, a lot of birders have a hard time id'ing swallows above them because they fly so fast. On this trek, they surrounded us in great numbers. We stood inside their cloud amazed by their acrobatics. There were lots of bugs....including chiggers.
|L to R- Bank Swallow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow|
And Arizona sunsets are always amazing. If you haven't birded Arizona, you're missing out. Over the next several weeks, my journeys will take me to Globe, Colorado and a return back to California. And the adventure continues.....
For more fascinating finds, check out Wild Bird Wednesday!