Saturday, 26 July 2014

The start of another summer - Arizona

Some of you will have noticed recently that my recent foreign trips have been heavily slanted towards the US. I haven't quite given up in the WP before you ask (I'll be leading a trip out to the Azores in late August), but it's nice to target an area with good birds, a wealth of info and easy travel. Those shit heaps like Mauritania and Egypt can wait til later.

So, anyway, I've found myself in Arizona - having flown into Las Vegas yesterday afternoon, I then drove to Phoenix. A dawn start at 'the thrasher spot' at the junction of Salome Highway and Baseline Road proved fruitful with at least a couple of Le Conte's Thrashers (thanks to Laurence Butler for the precise info), three Bendire's Thrashers and one Crissal Thrasher. Stuff like Gambel's Quail, Verdin and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher were all nice to see again too.
Le Conte's Thrasher, Arizona 25th July 2014

I'm not quite sure what posessed me to stop in at a small park in Phoenix, but the yanks breed their lovebirds pure unlike the French. All the dozen or so I saw looked like this...
Rosy-faced Lovebird, Arizona 25th July 2014
And then it was onto Mount Lemmon that rises above the city of Tucson (where I'm writing this from). You don't associate Arizona with rain, but when it does happen, blimey it's bad. Hail, some mud slides and crashing thunder. Perhaps that didn't help my quest for Olive Warbler that, despite trying til dusk, may have to wait until tomorrow or later into the trip. However, birding was decent enough with a few new birds for me including Red-faced Warblers (which were blinding but in bad light), Zone-tailed Hawk, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Greater Pewee and Yellow-eyed Junco. Loads of Pygmy Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees too.
Yellow-eyed Junco, Arizona 25th July 2014

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