Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mesquite Wash-Revisited

After my first spring visit to Mesquite Wash, I just knew I had to return for more.  This time fortune was not on my side.  Seems a group of young people had decided to use this place as a campsite on Saturday night and here I was on a Sunday morning attempting to have a quiet and peaceful bird outing.  When I arrived very early on Sunday morning, the music was blasting from a camp site quite a distance from the the parking area and several of the young people were milling about and appeared to have slept very little.  So I worked my way down to the bridges and then along the south side of the wash.  Still found many birds and it always surprises me how resilient they can sometimes be to human interference and commotion.  As I got further down stream, the music faded away and I was finally enjoying the solitude of the area and the stream of running water.  Found an Ash-throated Flycatcher that was feeding on insects it could spot from where ever it decided to perch.  Another bird that was playing hide-n-seek with me and my camera, but I still enjoy these birds immensely.

Ash-throated Flycatcher

As I continued further down the stream bed, I had noticed a few Warbling Vireos and decided it was time to attempt capturing a photo of one of them.  The only one that actually gave me a chance did not want to face me, so I had to settle for a shot from behind.

Warbling Vireo
It was this same time that a juvenile Anna's Hummingbird decided to try taking a bath in the stream water and I found it quite remarkable and even did an earlier post on this little dynamo earlier in the week. 

Anna's Hummingbird Juvenile

A bit further on down the stream I found several Black-headed Grosbeaks and like the Blue Grosbeak in an earlier post, I enjoy seeing these birds and will almost always try to capture a photo.

Black-headed Grosbeak
And finally at the point where I decided to turn around and return, I finally got a fairly good look at a Yellow Warbler.  I had been hearing them and seeing fleeting glances of them in the upper limbs of many trees, which is quite normal for them, but this one appeared in a shorter tree and gave me just enough time to get my camera up for a couple of shots before he was gone.  This is a bird that is fairly common, but like most warblers, they can be very diffcult to photograph.  Not a great photo, but knowing their nature, I am not embarassed by the photo either.  As one can see, with its outstretched legs, a fraction of a second later and I would have had a photo of twigs and leaves.

Yellow Warbler
As I returned to my car in the parking area, I heard a Yellow-breasted Chat.  These birds have a bold and boisterous call in the breeding season.  I had heard and seen them at Boyce Thompson Arboretum earlier in the month, but this was the first one of the season that I had found in Maricopa County for the year.  Considered our largest warbler, but there is some question as whether or not is should be classified as a warbler at all.  Handsome birds never-the-less.

Yellow-breasted Chat

In my meanderings around the Mesquite Wash area I also found a couple of intriguing insects.  I think my butterfly friends have helped me identify the butterfly as a Marine Blue and the red insect as a Bloody Net-winged Beetle. 

Marine Blue Butterfly

Bloody Net-winged Beetle
As always, Mesquite Wash is an intriguing place and is one of the best birding spots in Maricopa County.  Thanks to Tommy D. for posting this on his website and opening up my eyes to this spot.


  1. Gordon, looks like a great outing in spite of all the people interference.

    1. Thanks for the comments Larry. It is kind of a crap shoot when I go to this place, but I suppose if I would go more often during that week rather than weekends, I would probably have more solitude.

  2. Nice work Gordon. Those Hummingbird shots are excellent. It's cool you saw a Chat too. I'm still waiting on my first, but now that and the Yellow-billed Cuckoos give me great cause to return to Mesquite Wash.

    1. Thanks Laurence, but you know what I was really hoping to find and didn't. Congrats to your great find on the Gila Monster the day before! But now that I know there is one out there, it gives me more incentive to try again. And yes, it is supposed to be one of the best places to find Yellow-billed Cuckoos in Maricopa County but I have not yet been fortunate enough to see one. I do know they are rather secretive, so maybe my eyesite is failing in my senior years!