Monday, February 20, 2017

Drops Of Discovery

The very polluted Guy Tobin Trail of the DeAnza Trail.  It's here where the Ruddy Ground-Doves hung out.

This past weekend, another winter storm helped soften the moderate to severe drought in parts of our state.  At this time, all streams, washes and rivers are flowing at capacity....and then some!

male Ruddy Ground-Dove
Between the storm clouds, I decided to keep myself busy and revisit some very cool birds around the state. 

Female Ruddy Ground-Dove
It has been nearly two years since I last saw Ruddy Ground-Doves.  So I thought, why not? Here, near the US/Mexican border on a very littered DeAnza trail, I had very nice views of these two birds.

Sunset Point
But life.  Life has been crazy.  It gets in the way ALL the time.  Over the past few months, I have been planning two very big trips with my friend Gordon that could potentially propel us both closer to the 1000 life bird category.  Now remember, this blog is about the discovery and adventure leading to 10,000 lifebirds:)  And oh is it slow going right now. 

Inca Dove
The rain.  That beautiful and wonderful rain continued into my Sunday birding schedule.

near the Page Springs Fish Hatchery
So, Magill texted me and asked, "You up for finding a Tennessee Warbler?"  Since it was a lifer and I haven't had one in quite awhile, it was a no brainer.  On Sunday morning, I woke up to the cold rainy weather and just pulled the covers over my head. NOOOOO.  It's going to be such a long day driving back and forth from the Phoenix area! And to make things worse, my cat decided to snuggle with me.

American Kestrel
Then the text. "Are you coming up?"  Yes, but it's raining and snowing and cloudy and cold....and I'm lazy:) This is exactly why you need a birder friend to motivate:)

And what a gorgeous day it was around the Page Springs Fish Hatchery near Sedona.  It was a first for both of us.  We had heard about people birding there but we just never got around to exploring it. Which made us think....

a wintering Common Black Hawk! much of this state don't we know about?!!!  I mean, we're birders!  We thought we covered pretty much all of it.  It appears that there are still secrets and surprises waiting to be had.

As our winter winds down, there is a dramatic pause with wintering birds and a sense that migration has already begun.  It's a tad early this year.  We are seeing birds move in February that should be moving in mid to late March.  Take for example, the Common Black Hawk above.  As of this date, I have found all summer dwelling hawks(minus the Short-tailed and Swainson's Hawks) before their mass March migration.  That is a first in my nearly six years of birding!

Birding is not easy.  Well sometimes it is.  We had such a great time exploring the area that when we finally got to the Tennessee Warbler spot, we were in a good mood.  As we pointed to where we thought the warbler might hang out, the bird popped up on cue for us.  We had great views as it sat there watching us before joining the Ruby-crowned Kinglets down the river.  It was a lifebird.  Just one.  But enough to keep me going.

a rare Tennessee Warbler
This blog is a work of love.  Every life bird has a story.  Some are very hard to find while others, like this Tennessee Warbler, are easy. 

So another lifer down.  And another 9,253 to go! I leave you all with a look at Arizona's doves(minus the Pigeons).  I swear that if you live in Arizona long enough, you'll find every North American bird:) Until next time....


  1. well done on getting another lifer Chris and I loved all your photographs.

  2. Well, they're up, though, because I have not seen seen birds and other interesting. Regards.

  3. Beautiful birds, great variety.

  4. The warbler is charming -- Arizona does seem like a birders paradise! Your blog really is a work of love -- it shines through -- your posts always make me smile. Probably should emphasize the 'work' too, although even if you had to give up a snuggle on a rare cold morning, it was certainly worth the effort. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us mere mortals.

    1. As I am getting older, I'm finding that aging is a real thing:) I need to sleep often and early....only to wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning!:) have a great weekend!

  5. Congratulations, Chris! I think that, to get to that 10,000 mark you'll have to take lessons from your cat in order to earn another 8 lives.

    Best wishes to you both - - Richard

    1. I think you're right! But the way they're finding dividing species every year might make the goal easier to attain:) I'll certainly die trying. And that means I hope to visit you one day:)

  6. Joli ciel nuageux ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

  7. Hello, love the sweet doves and the warbler. I would love to see that Black Hawk! Great post and photos, Chris!

    1. Thanks Eileen! Have a great weekend and find some awesome birds!

  8. Nice shots - I have a 6am start on Sunday - wish me luck!

    I did not go that far from Delhi in India - its crowded and in places messy, but I did not find it scary at all. I think staying in a decent hotel helps - the last time I was there (26 years ago!) I was back packing and it was a bit more stressful!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Good luck and thanks for the tips. And amazing how the time flies:)

  9. Well done on the new lifer. Gorgeous photos as always :)

  10. It looks as if it was worth the effort!

  11. What a fabulous place to take bird photos. Very nice images.


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