Sunday, February 24, 2013
A day west of Phoenix - 23 Feb 2013
Started out on Saturday way out west of Phoenix, even further west than Buckeye. My first stop was a little known place to search for the elusive LeConte's Thrasher and found out that it is still elusive. Have been to this spot a couple times before and have found it, but not this time, so I settled for some Sage Sparrows (which is always a nice find), some Lincoln's Sparrows and one of my favorite birds, a couple of Black-tailed Gnatcatchers.
Having failed to locate the thrasher, I then backtracked to the 'infamous' Buckeye Thrasher Spot only to find a lot of birders there with the same goal. One group had traveled from Tucson and there was another group from Phoenix and there were a few others birding on their own. One of them just happened to be fellow bird blogger extraordinaire Lawrence Butler. Guess I should have came to this spot first as some others had sighted the Le Conte's Thrashers before I arrived. I had to settle for Sage and Bendire's Thrashers, but even those are always nice to find. On the road to the 'thrasher' spot, I did have to hit my brakes so I could capture of a photo of a nice Red-tailed Hawk regally perched on the top of a Saguaro Cactus on the side of the road.
Although I did not get any photos at the thrasher spot, I also got the privilege of meeting a young and enthusiastic and very knowledgeable birder, Alex and his parents. It is very refreshing to see young people show such an interest in ornithology and know the future generations will be here to carry on with the love of our avian world. The 5 of us then joined forces and traveled up and down the roads in and around Arlington where Alex and family found their first ever Sandhill Cranes. We all then parted our ways and I slowly drove the roads in the Buckeye/Arlington farm grounds where I snapped a couple of photos along the way. Most notably, a couple of Loggerhead Shrikes and an American Kestrel. I watched the Kestrel as it dove down from the electrical wire to the ground and when it flew back to a perch on the crossbar, I noticed one leg was hanging a bit low. Guess the photo shows its small insect morsel that it had captured.
And my final photo, to take us away from the avian theme, is one of a domesticated goat. But looking at the photo, another critter is trying to get noticed on the left!
Might not have seen my target bird the Le Conte's Thrasher, but overall, it turned out to be a great day. Had a couple more stops when I got back into Phoenix, but will do a separate blog post on those two stops.