Monday, May 30, 2011

A Fan-tailed Warbler in Arizona, 2011-05-24

Living in a border state like Arizona, it's not too surprising that one's birding fantasies often include chance encounters with rare wanderers from further south in Mexico.  Over the years, I have been fortunate to have seen a number of such birds.  I remember the thrill of finding a Rufous-capped Warbler in Sycamore Canyon, and then being amazing a couple of years later in seeing two territorial Rufous-capped Warblers in the same morning.  I also remember being stunned to see seven Aztec Thrushes in one tree, a spectacle that was repeated a few years later.  There was the amazing mini-invasion of Eared Quetzals in 1992.  Other gems over the years have included Crescent-chested Warbler, Tropical Parula, Tufted Flycatcher, Nutting's Flycatcher, Blue Mockingbird, Flame-colored Tanager, and Brown-backed Solitaire.  While Yellow Grosbeak and Slate-throated Redstart continue to elude me, one of the rarest and coveted strays, the Fan-tailed Warbler, recently performed beautifully for me in Madera Canyon, having been found by Gary Rosenberg on the previous morning.  After attending my son's promotion from grade school to middle school, I headed off to Madera Canyon for an afternoon try for the warbler.  With the help of other searchers, I was able to see the bird within twenty minutes of arriving.  I had looked unsuccessfully for one in Guadalupe Canyon back in 1990, and was out of town during the brief visit by one near Patagonia in 1997. This was a most welcome addition to my Arizona bird list.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Port Aransas Little Gull, 2011-03-28

Today, my group and I stopped in to try and relocate the Little Gull that has been present off and on for the past month or so at the Nueces County Park in Port Aransas.  The winds were strong out of the north when we arrived mid-day.  I spoke with a local who asked if we were looking for the Little Gull and he mentioned that it had been gone for a few days.  However, after spending a little time enjoying the gulls and terns in the parking area, I noticed the Little Gull flying in.  It put down among the terns and stayed there for about 5-10 minutes before taking off in the direction of the base of the south Jetty.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pena Blanca Sapsuckers 2011-03-14

Four shots of two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers seen at Pena Blanca Lake on March 14th.  The white throated bird is a female.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pena Blanca Highlights 2010-12-31

A few shots from my New Year's Eve day visit to Pena Blanca Lake with friends.  The images are thumbnails and can be enlarged by clicking on them.  

Three of the Least Grebes present at Pena Blanca Lake.  One is a yellow-eyed adult, while the remaining two are younger birds.  If I'm interpreting bill differences correctly, the two young birds are males traveling around with their smaller-billed mother.  

This adult California Gull spent the entire time circling over the northern half of the lake.  

The continuing Yellow-bellied Sapsucker also showed well today.