Monday, December 30, 2019

Ground Birds: Grouse and Pheasants

Here are a few of the decent grouse photos I've taken over the years:

Dusky Grouse

Franklin's Spruce Grouse

Ring-necked Pheasant

Spruce Grouse

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Ground Birds: Quail

We are working our way through the Ground Birds and coming to the Quail.

Gambel's Quail Male

Gambel's Quail: Female

Montezuma's Quail: Female

Montezuma's Quail: Male

Scaled Quail: Female

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Doves: Part VI

Lastly, the White-winged Dove:

As with the Mourning Dove, the White-winged Doves will nest anyway too. This was in our carport:

Here a White-winged Dove eating the fruit of a Saguaro Cactus:

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Doves: Part V

The Mourning Dove is common (even abundant) whose range includes all of the United States and much of the southern parts of Canada.

They are year round residents in Arizona, and at The Azure Gate you can typically find 50 or more at any point during the day. They nest here from March through August. And those nests can be anywhere: cactus, window ledges, carports, trees etc. 

Mourning Dove nest in Saguaro Cactus

Mourning Dove nest in pine

Six years ago we had a Leucistic Mourning Dove around for about three months:

Leucistic Mourning Dove

Monday, December 23, 2019

Successful Bobcat

I went over to Sweetwater Wetlands on Sunday and came across a Bobcat that had successfully caught a Cinnamon Teal from the weed beds. Here are a few of the photos I took:

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Doves: Part IV

Next we have the Inca Dove.

The Inca Dove is a small dove whose range is the Southwestern United States and Mexico. While its range seems to be expanding as far north as Colorado, its population does not seem to be increasing.

It is a fairly tame dove that you can get close to, unlike most other doves.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Doves: Part III

On to the Eurasian Collard Dove.  

According to "All About Birds," Eurasian Collared-Doves made their way to North America via the Bahamas, where several birds escaped from a pet shop during a mid-1970s burglary; the shop owner then released the rest of the flock of approximately 50 doves. Others were set free on the island of Guadeloupe when a volcano threatened eruption. From these two sites the birds likely spread to Florida, and now occur over most of North America.

Another interesting fact is that Eurasian Collared-Doves are one of very few species that can drink “head down,” submerging their bills and sucking water as though drinking through a straw. Most birds must scoop water and tip the head back to let it run down into the throat.

Add caption

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Doves: Part II

The Common Ground Dove, unlike its name, is NOT very common. It is found only in the most southern part of the US from Florida to California. Its habitat is  dry sandy soil where it forages for seeds.

Common Ground Dove 

Common Ground Dove

Monday, December 16, 2019

Doves: Part I

On to Doves, 

The Rock Pigeon - as most know is found throughout the United States and Mexico -- typically in City Parks taking breads crumbs from humans.

The Band-tailed Pigeon, on the other hand,  is only found along the Pacific Coast and Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. And unlike the Rock Pigeon, it is a wilderness bird, preferring oak and conifer forests. This photo was taken on Mount Lemmon at about 8,000 feet:

Band-tailed Pigeon

Saturday, December 14, 2019


Two Kinglets are found in the US, though the Golden-crowned is much rarer in Arizona. The Ruby-crowned, on the other hand is abundant. It forages much like many of the warblers, titmouse, and chickadees, making it harder to identify without a good look.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet showing the Ruby crown

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Three of the four US gnatcatchers can be found in Arizona: the Black-capped, Black-tailed, and Blue-gray.

The Black-capped is rare to the United States, only found in the Santa Rita Mountains.

Black-capped Gnatcatcher
 The Black-tailed Gnatcatcher range is Southwest Texas, and the southern parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and California. This little gnatcatcher nests here at The Azure Gate and with some persistence can usually be found, often in pairs:

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
 The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher's range is more widespread, the only gnatcatcher found outside the Southwest. It too nests here at The Azure Gate, though a little less often seen than the Black-tailed:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Geese, Swans, Pelicans, and Cormorants: Part IV

There are seven species of Cormorants in the US. Here I have three: Pelagic, Neotropic, and Double-crested.

The Pelagic Cormorant can be found along the rocky cliffs along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico. Nests on sheer cliffs and forages in ocean near those rocky shores. More often solitary than other cormorants.

Pelagic Cormorant taken near Leadbetter State Park, Washington Coast

The Neotropic Cormorant has a very small range which includes the Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico as well as the Gulf of California. It is occasionally found in Southeast Arizona.

Neotropic Cormorant taken at Reid Park, Arizona

Neotropic Cormorant taken at Sweetwater Wetlands, Arizona

The most widespread of the Cormorants is the Double-crested which can be found throughout must of the US, including the interior:

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Lakeside Park, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Kennedy Park, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Fort Lowell Park, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Sweetwater Wetlands, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, California

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Geese, Swans, Pelicans, and Cormorants: Part III

One of my favorite Limericks is about the Pelican:

A curious bird is the Pelican,
His beak can hold more than his Beli-can.
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a weak;
And I'm darned if I know how the Heli-can

There are two Pelicans in the United States, the American White Pelican, and the Brown Pelican. The Brown is more often found on the Atlantic, Southern Pacific, and Gulf Coasts. Its preferred habitat is salt bays, beaches, and ocean, mostly over shallow waters.

Taken from Imperial Beach, Pacific Coast near San Diego

Taken at Lakeside Park in Tucson

Taken at Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Taken at Lakeside Park in Tucson
Taken at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, California

The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds in the US with a wingspan of over 9 feet. It also can weigh over 16 pounds. Unlike the Brown Pelican, it breeds in the interior of North America and winters along the Gulf and Southern Pacific Coasts. Its preferred habitat is lakes, marshes, and salt bays. 
Take in Yellowstone National Park

Taken at Fig Lagoon, California

Taken at Amado Water Treatment Plant, Arizona
Take at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming