Yep – we’re feelin’ the pull of home and starting our journey north to Canada. First stop out of Tucson: Wickenburg AZ. We will have passed by my friend JB’s place near Phoenix, however, no visit this time – sorry JB. There are wild flowers blooming everywhere – along the roadside are lots of purple lupins, as well as other flowers I don’t know in yellows, pinks and whites. It’s beautiful!
Mar. 14: Got in just after noon, so after we hooked up, had lunch and Billy had his nap, we set out for Hassayampa (isn’t that a good word?) Reserve. It is Nature Conservancy Land. Temp today 28 C and clear with a light breeze. It does not feel ANYTHING like 28C in TX!! Much easier to take without humidity! Still too hot for me, but walking amongst the shady trees along the river’s edge was better.
Hummers buzzed us in the garden outside the visitor centre. There were at least 4 feeders we could see and we found 2 species: Costa’s (wings longer than tail) … and Anna’s (tail longer than wings). Here is a Costa’s first, then Anna’s. Must be several pairs.
A well-camoglaged gecko waved his tail back and forth, which made him visible on this tree. Otherwise…
There were several interesting species noted on the board, which we will pursue. One of which we didn’t expect to see – thought perhaps it had moved on.
But not so! Here it is – female Hooded Merganser! In case you think the water looks wierd, it is covered with cottonwood fluff.
It was a short trip, just to get out, so we’ll back tomorrow.
On the way out we spied a male Phainopepla in a much better position than the last blog. Can even see his red eye.
Mar. 15: Cool morning 8C – nice. Off to the rest area just a mile up the road from Hassayampa. It is noted to be a good birding spot and it’s just lovely with lots of parking and pathways along the river. There were even another pair of Alberta birders there with their rig!
A female Vermillion Flycatcher is sitting on a nest.
The male is busy in the picnic area nearby. By “busy” you probably thought I meant flycatching – but as you can see, preening his butt happens to be what it means.
A Gray Hawk perched a way off. We also heard and saw a Plumbeous Vireo, though not a good photo. Added an Ash-throated Flycatcher.
The “piece de resistance” was this shot of a Lucy’s Warbler (this one’s for you, Don). Not very good, but shows its most distinguishing field mark – red rump! We saw one briefly last year at the Whitehouse parking lot in Madera Canyon. See tomorrow for more!
An Ash-throated Flycatcher was finally photographed, though we’ve seen a couple. Not great, but a record.
Once again, we noticed so many wildflowers blooming. It was gorgeous and we climbed up Lyke’s Lookout (and we liked it!) Here are some scernery shots.
Heading down the lookout, we spied this Verdin. Unfortunatly, you can barely see it has a yellow face. It was singing up a storm – as many other birds were also. Even Yellow-rumped Warblers which we found in numbers, flycatching, because there were LOTS of flies around this river. Also the ubiquitous Ruby-crowned Kinglets were singing!
A butterfly with wings upright. Unfortunately I didn’t see the tops which Bill said was beautiful. Don’t know what kind – too many like this!
Do you recognize this guy? Pretty sure he thinks he’s camoflaged.
Then he turned his head sideways…
Hummers are everywhere, not just at the feeders at the visitor center. Anna’s or Costa’s – not sure – didn’t stay long enough.
4 1/2 hours walking was enough for us – and by then it was nearly 30C! Back for lunch, a nap and a cool-down!
Mar. 16: Back to the rest area to see if we could fine the Lucy’s Warbler again.
Sure enough here are a couple of shots, a little better this time (actually Bill didn’t want to admit to Don that he thought he was taking a photo of some type of vireo – and by a fluke, found out it was a Lucy’s! Now it’s out!). So here is a bent-head shot, showing the bit of red in the head, then a rear shot, showing its red rump. There were pairs here, singing up a storm. Bodes well for our SK buds seeing them in this rest area the end of April (maybe).
Also got another cute photo of the Vermillion female on the nest. She looks nice and comfy. The male is feeding her and she sometimes leaves her eggs to grab a quick bite to eat. But she returns and snuggles in once again.
Here’s a nicer shot of the Ash-throated Flycatcher.
Before we left, I looked up to see what I thought wa a bird, but found instead this beautiful, huge Sphinx moth! Wow – about 6″ across!
Off to Vegas tomorrow!