Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rufous Capped Warbler at Pena Blanca Lake

After breakfast this morning I headed down to Pena Blanca Lake to see if I could find the Rufous Capped Warbler.

The RCW is very rare to the United States. Yet, there are four places in Southern Arizona were it can be found. 1) Florida Canyon in the Santa Rita's; 2) Hunter Canyon in the Huachucha's; 3) Pena Blanca Lake in the Pajarito Mountains; and 4) Pena Blanca Canyon in the Pajarito Mountains. Even in those places it is either a solitary bird or in a pair.

These four locations are the only locations being reported in the US.

So, off I went to Pena Blanca Lake. As soon as I got to the cove on the northwest side of the lake there he was. He came down the hillside on the south side of the cove. There is a lot of green vegetation still on the hillside and in front of the cattails. (The cattails themselves are pretty much spent).  He spent two minutes in that vegetation and then headed back up the hillside. I was unable to relocate him again.

Here are a few photos:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Birding Tanque Verde Wash

The winter season at Tanque Verde Wash brings new looks. It's wintery in places, yet because there is water in the creek there is also lush vegetation. Winter warblers like the Yellow Rump and Orange Crown abound. There is the occasional Black Throated Gray --- even the Black and White and Northern Parula sometimes find their way to the Wash.

Regardless of what is found, it is a beautiful and peaceful hike that sometimes brings surprises like a Bobcat or a Coyote or a Cooper's Hawk that is sitting in or near the water. Such was the case yesterday when Christine and I hiked the Wash. There was a strikingly beautiful adult Cooper's Hawk.

Here are a few photos:

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sweetwater Wetlands: Searching for the Northern Parula

Life of the birder/photographer. Unlike the Yellow Throated Warbler I found after 20 minutes of searching, the Northern Parula has escaped me for years. I tried three times along the Santa Cruz River off of Sasco Road (Santa Cruz Flats). I tried twice along the Santa Cruz River off of Ina Road (Tucson). And I have tried five times at Sweetwater Wetlands. All within the past three weeks.

It reminds me of the Daryl Zero quote from the movie Zero Effect:

"Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

 So didn't find the Northern Parula, but did find some "other things" at Sweetwater:

Common Yellowthroat

The usually reliable Green Heron

Snowy Egret

Orange Crowned Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Ruby Crowned Kinglet (showing off his ruby crown)

Male Ladderbacked Woodpecker

Female Ladderbacked Woodpecker

Male Gilded Flicker

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Birding Santa Cruz Flats in Arizona

First a note to welcome the 125th country that has visited this blog: Antigua & Barbuda. Thank you for your in interest our Wildlife. It clearly is something people around the world have in common.

Santa Cruz Flats is one of the great winter birding spots. There are riparian areas along the Santa Cruz River, scrub desert, and farmlands. All provide a wide variety of birding experiences. Here are a sample of birds photographed on December 9, 2015:

American Kestrel

American Pipit

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Burrowing Owl

Common Ground Dove

Oops, a Coyote

Crested Caracara

Ferruginous Hawk

Snowy Plover

Prairie Falcon


Rock Wren

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Patagonia in search of the Yellow Throated Warbler

You keep an eye on ABA's birding news for a post of a rare bird. Then you head out to find that bird. Trouble is that the basic anatomical structure of birds includes "wings." The bird could be gone from that spot before the post was even made. Occasionally a rare bird remains in a given "area" for weeks at a time. And maybe that bird returns to that same area the following year.

Such is the case with the Yellow Throated Warbler that had been seen last year in various spots in the town of Patagonia in southeast Arizona. I made several attempts last year without luck finding this beautiful little bird. So when it was reported to have returned this year I was determined to find it. And on my first try this year it took all of 20 minutes. 

As the saying goes, "right time and right place."

Yellow Throated Warbler

Yellow Throated Warbler

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Other finds at Sweetwater this trip

In addition to the Bobcat, there often is a friendly Green Heron. And others. Here are more photos of that great day at Sweetwater:

Again the Baltimore Oriole

Black Crowned Night Heron

Wonderful photo of Green Heron with small fish

Marsh Wren

Snowy Egret

Sunday, December 13, 2015

More Bobcat Photos

Here are a few more Bobcat photos from Sweetwater on Wednesday:

Mom with young one
Mom waiting for two young ones to catch up

Walking out on a tree limb
Walking into the Weed Bed in search of food

Coming down from the tree limb without food

Youngster # 1

Youngster #2

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bobcats Playing

Sweetwater Wetlands is probably the best birding spot in Tucson. However it is also the best place for a chance to see a Bobcat.  We see a Bobcat on our property every 4-6 weeks; guests see a Bobcat every once in a while as well; and of course, Bobcats stroll through our property un-noticed. 

Yet, lately it seems like I've come across a Bobcat at Sweetwater Wetlands at least two out of every three visits.

This past Wednesday was especially nice. Two young sibling Bobcats at play. Here is that series of photos:

Minding his own business cleaning himself

Along comes his brother who wants to play

Oops, Mom's coming

Mom comes to make sure they are okay.

Is mom gone?

Yes, it's back to fighting

Just a quick peek at me

I'm just watching, not intruding

Back to fighting

I've had enough

One more peek at me

Think I'll go find something else to do

All over -- for now