Only 1 More Week in Falcon State Park

Yesterday it was so hot and muggy that we stayed in all day!  In the evening there were violent thunderstorms – quite the experience in a trailer.  We were watching recorded figure skating on TV with the girls and they seemed to do okay.

Today was also very hot (high 30C) but we went out in the morning, when there was still fog around and the temp was 14.  It got hot quickly though, but not before we had a few new sightings.  This included not only birds, but some other nice things.

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Two different types of spider webs, glistening with rain/dew.  I think the bottom one is a trap-door spider.

We also visited the butterfly garden.

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Here is a Monarch (almost at its destination in Mexico?)…

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..and a lovely yellow one on red flowers.

We finally had a chance to shoot an Orange-crowned Warbler.

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Poor little dull bird – it does improve somewhat when spring comes along!

Tuesday we went back to the river.  Along the road on a wire was a hawk with a small white band on its tail, looking very dark.

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After photographing it we saw it take off so we could see the second broad white band on the tail.  Checking later, we changed our identification from Common Black Hawk to Harris’ Hawk.  Too bad, since CBH is rarer and we will likely see many Harris’ along our journey.

Dorian (the guy who’s cycling for birds – in a big year) was still there hoping for the Red-billed Pigeon (to come over from Mexico!).  I don’t think he had any luck and finally had to leave.

There was lots of activity on the water, and after the wind picked up a bit, the vultures (Black & Turkey) got up in the air.

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There must have been close to 100, but here are a few.

We saw 2 types of kingfishers – Ringed and Green.

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Here are 2 photos of the little Green Kingfisher first checking for prey, then checking for predators overhead.  One can never be too careful!

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There have been several Osprey fishing here, calling and genertally making a spectacle of themselves.  See the big fish hanging off to the right of this one – it has just come out of the water from its dive.

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This Pyrrhuloxia male is so pretty – we see him every summer, even in AZ.

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There aren’t alot of flowers blooming now, but these big yellow daisies are prevalent.

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Wednesday – when we arrived at the river this man had just caught a good sized large-mouth bass.  We see them jumping all the time – but here’s real proof!

Saturday was a HOT day.

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Bill worked all morning while I was cleaning.  Luckily I had a couple of experts checking my fridge-defrosting skills.  When Bill took his nap after lunch I noticed a pair of flycatchers hunting from the wire nearby – Couch’s Kingbirds.  But no Billy to photograph them!

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Sunday we went back to the river for awhile before it got too hot.  Fog lay low, especially on the river. A couple of White-eyed Vireos called (identified by song – but by a local birder).  Bill tried for a shot but they flit around in dense bush, making it very difficult for the camera to focus.

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However, he was able to capture this Osprey fishing.  It caught a long, silver gar-like fish.

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There were a couple of Spotted Sandpipers around – this one was on the same rock as the Green Kingfisher previously (popular spot!).   Speaking of spots unfortunately they don’t have spots in the winter – just when breeding (hence the joy of spring birding!)

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A Snowy Egret flew by.  Such great yellow feet!  I suspect I may have seen the elusive Red-billed Pigeon – but was the only one to see it.  It flew by around behind trees quite a distance away.  Wish I could count it, but I can’t!

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The large Ringed Kingfisher was around also.  Very big (16″ nose to tail – most of which is bill, with 25″ wingspan) and also very noisy – can’t miss him!

We also stopped at a small lake whicch we heard about from the couple who were there earlier to see ducks.  Added a couple ducks to our report, but nothing unusual.

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When we returned to the trailer, there was a Couch’s Kingbird hunting nearby, so this time Bill got a photo!

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There is a little sage-colored bush growing right outside the trailer and it has just burst into flower!  I never expected it at this time of year.  Pretty eh?

The girls continue to amuse us.  They are absolutely the cutest things.

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Here’s Katrina playing with a couple of toys.

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They can be really sweet to each other.

On to Bentsen tomorrow!

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