Wednesday, 10 April 2013


After a week in Texas, ending in El Paso, we moved on to southern Arizona.  Our first port of call there was Cave Creek Canyon Ranch, near Portal, AZ, to check out some of the local birds.
Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon, AZ (Picture from March 2008)
Many of the winter regulars (Sparrows, Finches, Woodpeckers, etc.) were there but the weather was cool, very dull grey and overcast and only the White-winged Doves photographed well.
White-winged Doves at Cave Creek Canyon Ranch, AZ (Jan 26, 2013)
After an overnight stop in Tombstone, where we ate in the saloon, but stayed out of trouble, we checked out the Twin Lakes, outside Willcox, and then we drove over to Whitewater Draw, NE of Douglas, in time to see thousands of wintering Sandhill Cranes coming in to rest.
Sandhill Cranes about to land at Whitewater Draw, AZ (Jan 27, 2013)
Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw, AZ (Jan 27, 2013)
We did not see the Great Horned Owls that are often in the barn at Whitewater Draw but we had an unexpected view of an American Bittern, standing out in the open and to be easily photographed. Normally, these birds are very secretive.
American Bittern, Whitewater Draw, AZ (Jan 27, 2013)
After Whitewater, we stayed with birding friends in Sierra Vista who have lots of birds coming into their garden, including a Great Horned Owl roosting in their pines.
Great Horned Owl at roost in Sierra Vista, AZ (Jan 29, 2013)
We went on an early morning birding walk along the San Pedro River and picked up a few more species.  It was quite cool that day and the next day we awoke to snow.
Morning snow in Sierra Vista, AZ (Jan 29, 2013)
There was still snow alongside the road when we drove north on the way to the Phoenix area.
Heading towards Tucson, en route to Phoenix, AZ (Jan 29, 2013)
We stayed in the San Tan Valley, south-east of Phoenix, for several weeks, spending much of our time bird-watching and playing golf, of course.  In the vicinity are plenty of desert-loving birds and other species where agriculture or water resources provide different plants and ecological niches. A good selection of waterfowl and waders can found at the Gilbert Water Ranch, the sewage lagoons on South Higley Road near East Ocotillo, in Gilbert, and the Veterans Oasis Park, in Chandler.
Resting Black-necked Stilts at the Gilbert Water Ranch, AZ (Jan 31, 2013)
Peregrine Falcon posing for me at the Veteran's Oasis in Chandler, AZ (Jan 31, 2013). 
Anna's Hummingbird, one of many in the Phoenix area, AZ (Feb 1, 2013)
Sunset behind the San Tan Mountains, AZ (Feb 2, 2013)
Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal, resting at the Gilbert Water Ranch, AZ (Feb 11, 2013)
Northern Shoveler at the Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, AZ (Feb 12, 2013)
Loggerhead Shrike in the San Tan Valley, AZ (Feb 22, 2013)
Western Screech Owl, sunning itself at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, AZ (Mar 1, 2013).
(Later, this small owl was killed by a much larger Mexican Spotted Owl)
Sage Thrasher on a dyke beside disused arable land reverted to desert, in the San Tan Valley, AZ (Mar 2, 2013)
Verdin at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, nr Superior, AZ (Mar 3, 2013)
Curve-billed Thrasher nesting in a Cholla Cactus, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, AZ (Mar 3, 2013)
An "Odd Couple" - Burrowing Owl and Snowy Egret - at the Veteran's Oasis, Chandler, AZ (Mar 4, 2013) 
Anna's Hummingbird at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, AZ (Mar 20, 2103) 
Hepatic Tanager in Madera Canyon, AZ (Mar 25, 2013)
American Kestrel in the San Tan Valley, AZ (Mar 28, 2013)

No comments:

Post a Comment