Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Fool's Hollow Lake, Show Low, AZ-18 Aug 2012
Took some time off from work and planned a couple of short birding forays into some new places in Arizona. First trip was to the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. Elevation ranges from about 6000' to a couple of peaks over 10,000' which is very different from the Phoenix urban sprawl in the desert. Will have several new areas to add to my blogs and the first stop was at Fool's Hollow Lake Recreation area just outside of Show Low, AZ. This is a very nice park and it appears to have a lot of potential for some great birding. I could only afford a couple of hours as I had other spots on my list to try to accomplish all in one day.
My first photo is that of an Acorn Woodpecker. These woodpeckers are unmistakable in their clownish markings and are always a delight to see.
Closer to the ground I found a couple of Empidonax Flycatchers, which are almost always very difficult to identify readily. These 2 turned out to be a couple of Dusky Flycatchers and they were very active flying out to capture an insect in the air or on the ground and then flying back to a bare twig perch, which is most generally how they behave.
Also in the same picnic area vicinity I found a pair of Juniper Titmouse and one of them actually came out in the open to pose on a bare twig for me. While they are mostly a drab gray in color, that little crest really gives them a bit of a cute factor, don't you think?
And another fairly common bird in the picnic area was the White-breasted Nuthatch. These birds were at every stop I made during my stay in the White Mountains and always entertaining to watch.
Headed to a different spot where I could access to the water's edge and as I made my way through the grassy areas, the paths were spots that the Lark Sparrows seemed to have taken a liking and foraging.
Also in the same general area a Lazuli Bunting made a quick exit, but stopped long enough at a distant evergreen to give me a nice view of its backside.
Along the shoreline I found what I expected to find, a Spotted Sandpiper. A fairly common shore bird but quite often overlooked as they blend in well with the shoreline. One of their behaviors that help identify them from other shore birds is the habit of dipping their tails.
And of course a fly over by one of the most common but stately of all wading birds in the United States was the Great Blue Heron just begging me to take its photo as it flew over head.
Great Blue Heron
On the return to the car, I happened to find a very unique creature. It reminded me of a spider, but yet it still looked rather odd. I snapped a couple of photos and have since found out that it is a Wind Scorpion which is not a true scorpion, but also not a true arachnid. Very interesting creature and even with its ferocious appearance, they are basically harmless to humans.
Definitely worth a stop to explore this place. There is an admission fee to get access to the area. More blogs to come, plus another trip down south.