Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rim Country - Black Canyon Lake - 13 Oct 2012

Now to continue with another stop at another lake in Rim Country.   Wayne and I decided to visit Black Canyon Lake in the early afternoon and it is not as popular for boating or fishing like Woods Canyon Lake and it also requires taking a dirt road about 5 or 6 miles to arrive at the lake.  We did not have to deal with crowds of people during our stay. 
I had only been to Black Canyon Lake once before, but after this last trip, you can bet that I will stop by on every future visit to the Rim Country. Little did we know that we were in for a treat in the birding department at this small lake on this visit.  Another one of those lucky instances of being in the right place at the right time as we discovered a bird that is considered rare in Arizona; a Pacific Loon.  This species has been seen on rare occasions in the state of Arizona, but it is not very common.  Have also since learned that it is probably the first record of this species in Navajo County.  That and the fact that it was a new life bird for me, makes it a bit more special for me.  When we started surveying the lake, I saw this bird far across the water and knew it was not a Western Grebe which was also on the lake along with a couple of Ring-necked Ducks.  Unfortunately it was far enough away to make it hard to make a positive ID on it with my binoculars.  (A scope would have been nice!  Oh where was Lindsey when I needed her and her scope?)  Even at such a distance I decided to shoot some photos hoping that maybe by viewing them on the computer monitor at home I could get a positive ID.  I was thinking it was a loon at the lake (body and head shape along with beak was what gave me the impression of a loon), but since any loon would be considered rare and the fact that I have only seen one other loon species in my like, I was not confident enough to call the ID at that time.  And the photos at home definitely helped with a positive ID.  So I am posting one of my not-so-great shots of it, but better than I thought it would be.
Pacific Loon

And of course it never came any closer for any better photos, but the Western Grebe sure did not mind us and gave us some excellent views and some great photo opportunities.
Western Grebe

Western Bluebirds were quite numerous all along the edges of the lake.  Some were their winter drab plumage, but a few still showed off some of their bright blue colors.  Even had one posing on a dead tree branch and a 'Pink-sided' Dark-eyed Junco joined it and allowed me to capture a 'two-fer' photo; 2 different bird species in the same shot.
Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird and 'Pink-sided' Dark-eyed Junco

A couple of other birds that spent some time foraging on the ground near the water's edge was a 'Red-shafted' Northern Flicker and a Brewer's Blackbird.
 Northern Flicker
Brewer's Blackbird

We also had a fly-over of a Bald Eagle that appeared to maybe be about a 3 year old bird; not fully molted into the pure white head and tail, but close.  Unfortunately, I could not get the camera disconnected from the monopod in time to get anything better than a rear end shot as it flew away.
Bald Eagle

And finally to end this post, I have to leave a photo of another mammal, this time a Gray-collared Chipmunk.  If you saw my last post of a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, you might have noted the fact that only chipmunks have facial stripes; squirrels do not.  This animal clearly has stripes.
Gray-collared Chipmunk

Black Canyon Lake is an under-birded spot in Arizona as well as many of the hot spots in Rim Country.  I highly recommend this area to birders to spend some time to explore this area, you never know what you might find!


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