Saturday, February 16, 2013
Red Mountain Park - 12 Feb 2013
The day after returning from Rocky Point, I just could not sit home all day, so ventured out to Red Mountain Park in Mesa, AZ with one bird in particular that I was looking for. This was the Bendire's Thrasher, which is not a new bird for me, but since it is not that common in Maricopa County, it is always nice to see one. I found the target bird right where others had been seeing it, on the east side of the lake and near the restrooms. This is a heavily used park, so this bird is used to seeing humans and did not flee. This bird has a straighter and a bit shorter bill when compared to the similar Curve-billed Thrasher. Also note the triangular spots on the chest, whereas the CBT has round spots.
While walking the sidewalks, a Cooper's Hawk flew in from the right not more than 25' from me and made an attempt to capture a Mourning Dove. This time the doves were lucky, and the hawk stood on the ground looking around wondering what went wrong before it took to the air again and headed to the island. Another couple was nearby and witnessed this event and wondered what kind of hawk it was and it was enjoyable to share the experience with them and visit with them about it.
And here is a photo of one of those Mourning Doves that were everywhere in this park. Probably a great place for the Cooper's Hawk to hang out with a bountiful food supply at hand.
This park also has its regular human providing hand outs for the birds because right in this area the Mourning Doves and Gambel's Quail were congregating and sure enough, the seed was being scattered and the birds were flocking in. This photo shows several doves and quail and a lone House Sparrow.
Feeding Frenzy-Gambel's Quail, Mourning Doves, and House Sparrow
Abert's Towhees are very common in Arizona, but very rare outside of this state, but oftentimes are difficult to photograph as they like to scurry into the shade and brush on the ground. But this one preferred to perch in full sun on a branch for me.
And then to add some mammals to the post, we have 2 different ground squirrels. I think I have them identified correctly, but could be mistaken. We have a pair of Rock Squirrels that was pretending that February 12th was actually February 14th. (♥) And we also have a couple of Round-tailed Ground Squirrels sticking close to their den.
Round-tailed Ground Squirrels
If someone reads this and can give me a better ID on the squirrels, please let me know.