Sunday, January 6, 2013

Carefree, AZ, CBC - 2 January 2013

On Wednesday, January 2, I took part in the Carefree CBC (Christmas Bird Count).  This was the 2nd year in for me on this count and we found some unique birds.  This took place in the Quien Saba area just west of the Seven Springs Recreation Area.  Great lower mountain habitat with Cave Creek running through it.  All of the birding was done on foot and we covered some good distances on hiking trails. 
Probably the best bird we found that day was a Gray Flycatcher, which belongs to a family of birds that are usually very difficult to identify, the Empidonax Flycatchers.  The Gray Flycatcher has a trait that makes it one of the easiest to identify; it has a habit of dipping its tail downward, similar to a phoebe.  This one was showing a nice light yellowish color to its undersides which is only evident in the fall and winter.  By summer time, the yellowish cast is gone. Also note the pale lower bill almost all the way to the tip which is indicative of this species as well.
Gray Flycatcher

When we first arrived at our parking area we were greeted by the unmistakable song of a Canyon Wren.  And after our first hike into the hills, when we returned to the parking area, we found this bird and it was really bold and making itself quite noticeable on a brush pile.  In my humble opinion, this is probably the most attractive wrens in the United States.

 Canyon Wren


Canyon Wren

During one of our mountain trail hikes, we discovered a Sage Thrasher.  This one presented itself very nicely for us and gave us plenty of time to observe it while it warmed in the sun.

Sage Thrasher

One more unique bird that we can observe in Arizona, especially in the winter months, is the Townsend's Solitaire.  This bird is a rather drab gray in coloration, but has a very pronounced eye-ring that helps to identify it as it perches high above.

 Townsend's Solitaire

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Gordon! I continue to learn from you.

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