Monday, September 3, 2012
Mt Ord, Arizona -- 1 Sept 2012
On Saturday, September 2, 2012, I paid another trip to Mt Ord and I was joined by Muriel, who is the person that has taught me the most about photography and she is also a very fine birder. We found some great birds, and discovered migration is already in full force with views of some migrants passing through. As soon as we got to the parking area near the top and within 50 yards of the parking area we found some oak trees that were alive with birds, mostly warblers and vireos. We found 4 vireo species; Hutton's, Warbling, Plumbeous, and Cassin's. And we also found Olive, Hermit and Black-throated Gray Warblers. Here are some of the photos that I was able to capture. The first 2 photos are a couple of vireos, first a Cassin's Vireo and the second is a Plumbeous Vireo.
As all of these small birds began to move on, we were also joined by a pair of Hepatic Tanagers. Had to share a photo of the male to add a bit of color to our great birding day.
And shortly after that we found an Olive-sided Flycatcher, which for me was very exciting as it was a new life bird for me.
As we continued hiking to the top we ran across a White-lined Sphinx Moth (aka, a hummingbird moth). These moths are almost the size of hummingbirds and they have very long tongues.
White-lined Sphinx Moth
Western Scrub Jays were just about everywhere, but did not want to be close to us, but at the top one of them actually paused long enough on a dead tree with nice views.
Western Scrub Jay
On our way back to the parking area we also found Western Wood Pewees and an Empidonax Flycatcher. The 'Empid' family is one of those that many birders hate as they are very hard to identify. Sometimes the only way to ID them is to listen to their call notes. With that being said, this happens to be the start of fall and birds are not calling for mates too much this time of the year, so we are left to try to figure out the species by various other means. That includes minute details in plumage, habitat and time of year and where they have been seen. I have identified my 'Empid' as a Dusky Flycatcher, but I would not argue if someone told me it was a Hammond's Flycatcher instead. My key reasoning is the short primaries on this bird.
Western Wood Pewee
Dusky Flycatcher (possibly Hammond's Flycatcher)
Also on the way down and just before we reached the parking area we discovered a small area that seemed to be full of Rufous Hummingbirds. Just a short walk into the grass and we were able to stand there and these little jewels just almost ignored us and we got some wonderful images of these birds.
And finally on our way down the slopes and in the lower elevations, we got to view a Rufous-crowned Sparrow. This is probably the best photo I have ever gotten of one of these sparrows.
Mt Ord, is always worth the drive to the top as you never know what you might find.