Tag Archives: Birding in Arizona

~Birding in Arizona – a hummingbird with a red bill

~Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona, November, 2017

 

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Broad-billed Hummingbird

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The very first day, when camping, at Catalina State Park, I saw this Hummingbird. What caught my attention was a flash of red on the bill. Oh my, a red bill! I knew I had to purchase a hummingbird feeder.

While on a walk one morning, I saw a lady walking with binoculars around her neck. I stopped and asked her if she had seen the Broad-billed. She was excited to hear that I might have seen it,  but stated that she hadn’t. She told me her husband went on the ranger guided birding walk that morning and they hadn’t mentioned seeing it. She felt sure she would have heard if it had been spotted. She was a sweet, elderly lady who would stop and share birding information with us when she saw us walking. I will remember her fondly.

I noticed an RV with bird feeders hanging from the trees at their site. I stopped and asked if they had seen a hummingbird with a red bill. “Yes, she exclaimed, I have noticed it at the feeders.”

Okay, at least I had a confirmation. Turns out that, through their blog, I knew this couple.  I had read their blog many times, but had never met them. What fun! We enjoyed a couple of happy hours together and hope to see them again down the road.

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I spent one week trying to capture this hummer with my camera. It was very shy, highly protective of the hummingbird feeder, and would sit hidden in the mesquite tree. After the first week, I didn’t see it anymore; I don’t know if it continued on its migration path or was chased off by other hummers.

I was thrilled to have this gorgeous hummingbird visit my hummingbird feeder.

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Back in 2009, I saw this Hummer for the first time while visiting the  Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.

~Happy Birding~

 

Birding in Arizona – Black-throated Sparrow and others

From Cave Creek to Catalina State Park…

It is nice to have internet connectivity again. After leaving Catalina State Park we spent four nights over the Thanksgiving holiday at South Llano River State Park. Verizon just doesn’t work there at all.

These are the final bird photos from Cave Creek Regional Park in Cave Creek, Arizona. Up next photos from Catalina State Park.

~Black-throated Sparrow

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~House Finch

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~Phainopepia

 Phainopepias, always sitting at the top of a bush or tree making it hard to get a good photo. The male is glossy black, and has a white wing patch that is visible when it flies; the female is plain gray and has a lighter gray wing patch. Both sexes have red eyes, but these are more noticeable in the female than the male.

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~White-crowned Sparrow

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~Happy Birding~

~Birding in Arizona – Verdin

~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November 2017

Only 4.5 inches in length it is a tiny little bird. They are tough and thrive in hot desert environments. It is among the most characteristic birds of the desert, and it has one notable distinction: it is not closely related to any other bird in the western hemisphere.

It is not only tiny and tough, but it is beautiful with its bright yellow head and rufous shoulder patches.

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Verdin

The tiny Verdin, a gleaner of small insects and spiders from the foliage of desert vegetation, is most notable for its nest-building behavior. In addition to breeding nests, Verdins also build individual roosting nests whose insulation allows them to survive cold winter nights.

Verdins spend the night in their roosting nests, smaller versions of their breeding nest, but the birds still lose an average of 7% of their body mass during a winter night. Roosting nests may be built any time of the year and the interwoven twig structures may remain attached to a bush or tree for years. (some information taken from various birding web-sites)

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NOTE: Thanks to Gay and her blog at good-times-rollin for mentioning in a blog she wrote about setting out an orange for the Verdins. Thank you Gay! Go to her blog by clicking – Here

The Verdins loved the oranges. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to capture one of these birds in a more natural environment at Cave Creek. Hopefully, I might have one at Catalina State Park. It was so much fun watching the Verdins.

~Happy Birding~

 

 

~Birding in Arizona – Curve-billed Thrasher

~Cave Creek, Arizona, Cave Creek Regional Park, November, 2017

 

Another one of my favorite desert birds, the Curve-billed Thrasher. They sure made our visit to this beautiful park even more enjoyable. I never grew tired of hearing the “whit-wheet” call of this Thrasher.

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Curve-billed Thrasher

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What a beautiful colored eye!

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~Happy Birding~

 

 

~Birding in Arizona – Gamble’s Quail

~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November, 2017

 

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Male

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Female

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A covey of Gamble’s Quail entertained us at Cave Creek Regional Park. Most days we would count up to twenty-five birds at our site. They are gorgeous birds, fun to watch, and even more fun to photograph.

We saw them at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, but not nearly as many.

HEADER PHOTO: Sunrise at Cave Creek Regional Park

~Happy Birding~

 

~Birding in Arizona – American Kestrel

~Cave Creek, Cave Creek Regional Park, November, 2017

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high atop a cactus

scanning surroundings for food

focused and alert

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American Kestrel, male

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Going for the kill.

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Sure hope it wasn’t another bird. I can’t tell what it is.

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Almost finished!

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“Glad it wasn’t us.”

House Finch, male.

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House Finch, Female

Happy Birding!

~Icon of the Desert – Gila Woodpecker

 

~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November, 2017

What a treat it was to listen, watch and photograph these gorgeous woodpeckers. They were busy building a nest in a Saguaro Cactus in our back “yard”. Go out to this Web-site and listen to their call – Gila

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Gila Woodpecker, Male.

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Female

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Notice the red cap.

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Notice the yellow belly.

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A nest.

 

~Happy Birding~