Sunday, May 30, 2010

05_21_2010 Owls and Owlets!

Recently we went to a friend's home for dinner. Before eating, we walked to the wooded area behind their house where we were treated to a special site: Owls.

Not just owls, but two adult owls and two recently fledged owlets! We were in extra luck as the moon was out in a location that Dave grabbed some photos of this cute family in the moonlight.

I think these photos of these Great Horned Owls may be some of his favorite shots so far!


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

05_14 to 16_2010 Portal AZ, part II

One of the most fun birds we saw in this area was the Elegant Trogon (first three photos). Not only were we able to see this bird for a good amount of time, we were able to observed him in and near his nest hole. Seeing the Elegant Trogon was one highlight of the trip!

Something unexpected about the Portal area was the landscape. It is spectacular! Rock, cactus, birds, creeks, was amazing. Everywhere we turned offered an awesome view. I can see why the birds like it here. :)

A second bird that was a huge treat to see was the Vermillion Flycatcher. I'm not sure why, but I thought I'd not get to see this bird. I think seeing a bird and wanting to see a bird is inversely related. Happily this little guy didn't support that notion. In fact, he was one of the first birds we saw when we arrived. We got to see him multiple times, including one time when he charged Dave! He's a beautiful and feisty little bird (flame orange with black eye line pictured below).

Portal is teeming with Bullock's Orioles. Talk about feisty - these birds are feisty and fussy and I think wanting attention. They were great fun to watch frollick.

Without a doubt, the peskiest bird of them all were the Painted Redstarts. There were somewhat abundant, but being warblers, they would not sit still for even a second. Photographing them was quite a challenge. Still, Dave was able to get a few shots of them (see red, black and white bird below).


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05_14 to 16_2010 Portal AZ and even cooler birds!

After a couple of days in Madera Canyon, we headed east to the small and very cool town of Portal, AZ. We rented a cottage in the middle of town (pop 60).

Though it seems hard to believe it, the birding got even better here! We were able to see and photograph many beautiful and in some cases rare birds. Great fun!

In addition to many of the species we saw in Madera Canyon, we added the following birds to our list:
Yellow-rumped Warbler,
Bullocks Oriole,
Vermillion Flycatcher,
Greater Peewee,
Western Kingbird,
Crissals Thrasher,
Cassins Kingbird,

Pyrrhuloxia (pictured here),
Sulpher-Crested Flycatcher,
Elegant Trogon,
Yellow-eyed Junco,
Black Phoebe,
Ash-Throated Flycatcher,
Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Unless we go back to Portal, we may not see these species again. What a treat! More photos to come in the following entry...

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

05_12 to 14_2010 Madera Canyon and more fine birds, chapter 2!

The Madera Canyon area of the Santa Rita Mountains offered stunning birds, flowers and views.

Like so many areas this winter, Spring was a little late. In fact, they had snow only two weeks before our visit. For this reason, the warblers and other migrants were not there in the normal abundance. Still, we saw a LOT of birds.

Pictured here are some other species we saw - Townsend Warblers, nesting Gila Woodpeckers, nesting Brown-Crested Flycatchers, nesting House Wrens, White-winged Doves and a flock of black-necked Stilts.

As promised, here is the list of species we saw up to the time we left Madera Canyon:
Mexican Jay,
Black headed Grosbeak,
Bridled Titmouse,
Lesser Goldfinch,
Pine Siskin,
Broad Billed Hummingbird,
Acorn Woodpecker,
Elf Owl,
Mourning Dove,

Red-Tailed Hawk,
Yellow Warbler,
Black Throated Gray Warbler,
Brown Headed Cowbird,
Black Chinned Hummingbird,
Western Tanager,
Hooded Oriole,
Scott's Oriole,
White Breasted Nuthatch,

Hermit Thrush,
Arizona Woodpecker,
Turkey Vulture,
White Throated Swift,
Plumbeous Vireo,
Buff Breasted Flycathcer,
Annas Hummingbird,
Townsends Warbler,
Painted Redstart,

Hepatic Tanager,
Warbling Vireo,
Flame-colored Tanager,
Brown-Crested Flycatcher,
House Sparrow,
White winged Dove,
Common Grackle,
Cactus Wren,
Northern Cardinal,
House Finch,

Curve-billed Thrasher,
Gila Woodpecker,
Gambel's Quail,
Canyon Towhee,
House Wren,
Wilsons Warbler,
Nashville Warbler,
Magnificent Cowbird,
Blue Grosbeak,
Rufous-Crowned Sparrow,

Western Wood Peewee,
Great Egret,
Black-Necked Stilt, and a
Barn Swallow

Please note there are no Starlings on this list. This is the only area in the USA that Starlings are not found. Cool.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

05_12 to 14_2010 Madera Canyon, AZ and birds!

Dave and I hopped a plane recently and headed for the Sonoran Desert. What a beautiful place! The vegetation, the birds, the was amazing.

We started our trip by flying into Tucson then driving south to Madera Canyon. After a couple of days here, we headed further east to Portal AZ (next blog entry to come).

We felt fortunate to see so many beautiful sites and birds. This includes the rare Flame-Colored Tanager (first photo here). We also saw the Hepatic Tanager, Painted Redstart, Mexican Jay, Western Tanager, Anna Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Ash-Throated Flycather, Plumbeous Vireo and loads of other birds. All told, we ended up seeing about 77 species of birds that I could ID without question. (I'll post the full list on the next entry).

Though we are really busy right now, I wanted to post a few of the photos we got on the trip - enjoy!

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