Saturday, November 30, 2019

Flycatchers: Part VII

Now we come to flycatchers (that like some of the sparrows) are difficult to accurately identify -- especially if you don't get great looks. Even with photos it can be challenging. There is slight color variation even among the same species, older birds can look drab or worn.

Certainly birdsong helps if you have the ear for it. 





Pacific Slope


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Flycatchers: Part VI

Two of the rarer flycatchers to are the Tufted Flycatcher and the Buff-breasted Flycatcher.

First, the Tufted Flycatcher. Less than 10 records in the United States, split between Southwest Texas and Southeast Arizona. (Ramsey and Carr Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains). It is the smallest flycatcher in North America and has been nesting here for the past three years.

Tufted Flycatcher

Second, the Buff-breasted Flycatcher found only in Southeast Arizona (Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains).

Buff-breasted Flycatcher
Buff-breasted Flycatcher

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Flycatchers: Part V

Two of the larger flycatchers are also very striking in appearance: the Scissor-tailed and Sulphur-bellied.

The Scissor-tail Flycatcher has a limited range of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, with rare visits to Arizona. Its preferred habitat is open fields and prairies with scattered trees or fence posts (for perching).

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
The Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher has a smaller range, limited to just Southeast Arizona in the US. It's preferred habitat is mountain canyons, especially those with Sycamore Trees. It often nests in the cavities of those Sycamores. Normally solitary or in pairs. They can be pretty noisy when in pairs.

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Flycatchers: Part IV

The Vermillion Flycatcher is conspicuously different than other flycatchers because of its brilliant red body and crown separately by a black mask.

Its range is very small in the US, limited to Southeast Arizona and Southwest Texas. Although its range is small it is more commonly found within that range.

It forages by perching on an exposed tree branch, post, or rail, sallying out to capture flying insects. It sometimes hovers a few feet off the ground and diving for small insects in the grasses.

Vermillion Flycatcher Male

Vermillion Flycatcher Female

Vermillion Flycatcher Juvenile

Friday, November 22, 2019

Flycatchers: Part III

In Part III of Flycatchers, we have the Phoebes.

The Black Phoebe's range is the Southwest United States and Pacific Coast. It is nearly always along streams and ponds, perching on lower branches less than 10 feet off the ground.

Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe has a range that covers all of the Western States and up to Alaska. Unlike the Black Phoebe, its preferred habitat is prairies, farmland, open playgrounds, and tundra.

Say's Phoebe

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Flycatchers: Part II

Now the Kingbirds: Kingbirds are another group with very similar plumage making it challenging to identify -- especially in poor lighting.

Cassin's Kingbird has a range of the Southwestern States.

Cassin's Kingbird
Couch's Kingbird has a very small US range, primarily Southern Texas.

Couch's Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird has a small range limited to Southeast Arizona.

Tropical Kingbird
Western Kingbird has the widest range covering all of the Western States.
Western Kingbird

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Flycatchers: Part I

Continuing with the series from my new book on Birds of the Western United States, we come to the Flycatchers.

First up the Ash-throated, Brown-crested, and Dusky-capped Flycatchers. These three flycatchers are very similar in plumage and they overlap in terms of range and habitat. This can make identifying them a bit tricky when all you get is a "glance." 

The Ash-throated has the widest range extending from west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California,   Utah, Nevada, and Oregon. It is larger than the Dusky-capped, but slightly smaller than the Brown-crested.  It is a little paler in color than the other two:

Ash-throated Flycatcher
The Brown-crested is the darkest of the three, but it's most distinguishing characteristic is its larger bill. It's range is the southern most tip of Texas and souther Arizona:

Brown-crested Flycatcher
 The Dusky-capped is the smallest of the three with a finer bill and brighter yellow in the belly and flanks. It also has the narrowest range of the three, only to be found in southeast Arizona:

Dusky-capped Flycatcher

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Finches: Part V

Pine Siskins are also typically found in flocks, but near coniferous or mixed forests where they can feed on buds and seeds. We usually see them at our feeders in Spring before they head up to Mount Lemmon:

Pine Siskin Female

Pine Siskin Male

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Finches: Part IV

 House Finches are almost always found in large flocks, and often with Goldfinches. They are abundant here at The Azure Gate:

House Finch Female (in a Palo Verde Tree)

House Finch Male (Singing in a Mesquite Tree)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Finches: Part III

The American Goldfinch is a widespread finch found in most of the US and Southern Canada.

American Goldfinch

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Finches: Part II

Continuing with Finches:

Lawrence's Goldfinch is found in California and Southern Arizona usually in small flocks. These photos were taken in Tanque Verde Wash, Tucson, Arizona:

Lawrence's Goldfinch Female

Lawrence's Goldfinch Male

Friday, November 8, 2019

Finches: Part I

Some interesting numbers.

Since we started our Bed and Breakfast we have had guests from all 50 states, all Canadian Provences, and 38 countries around the world.

We have had over 4,000 guests, and "plated-up" over 22,000 breakfasts.

Our Blog has been visited over 300,000 times by 141 countries around the world.  So far today, countries visiting our Blog include: the US, Philippines, Ukraine, France, Canada, Poland, Ireland, South Korea, Portugal, Australia, Cyprus, Guatemala, and Ireland.

It certainly has been a wonderful and rewarding journey.


On to Today's Post. Continuing with photos from my new book on Birds of Western United States, we come to Finches.

We will start with Lesser Goldfinches which are restricted to the Western US. 

There is a subspecies whose back and nape are black often referred to as either Texas Goldfinch or Arkansas Goldfinch. They are less common in Arizona than the Lesser Goldfinch. (See photo below).

Lesser Goldfinch Male

Lesser Goldfinch Female

Lesser (Texas or Arkansas) Goldfinch

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Falcons: Part V

Lastly, the Prairie Falcon:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Falcons: Part IV

Next up, Peregrine Falcon:

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Falcons: Part III

On to Merlins:

Merlin (Taiga)

Merlin (Prairie)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Falcons: Part II

Part II of Falcons: Crested Caracara