Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tanque Verde Wash Lawrence's Goldfinches

Growing up in Washington D.C. my idea of the desert was white sands and no vegetation as far as you could see. But the Sonoran Desert is not that at all. There is very little sand. It is mostly rock-hard dirt with a wide variety of cactus, mesquites, palo verdes, and creosote. Yet, tucked in the middle of the Sonoran Desert is Tanque Verde Wash. 

TVW is dry 80% or more of the year. But that 20% creates a year round riparian zone with large cottonwoods, cattails, bamboo ......  And many of the birds you can find there you would not find even 100 yards from the wash. And the rarities include Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Lawrence's Goldfinch, Red Shouldered Hawk, Gray Hawk ....

Living just minutes from the wash, I have been out several times of late. The wash isn't filled with water but there is a steady stream flowing side to side which creates 20-30 stream crossing within the two miles I hike/bird. It is a sandy bottom so you must actually walk through the water as you go. And what isn't water is also sandy so it's a good workout even though flat.

Yesterday, after breakfast, Christine and I set out to see if we could find the Lawrence's Goldfinch and the Black and White Warbler that have been reported there of late. And, as luck would have it, both a male and female Lawrence's Goldfinch were cooperative. We didn't find the rare Black and White Warbler, though got momentarily excited about a Black Throated Gray until I realized that's what it was. (It's still a pretty bird and I love photographing it).

Here are those photos:

Lawrence's Goldfinch Male

Lawrence's Goldfinch Female

Black Throated Gray Warbler

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