Sunday, March 3, 2013
Pima Canyon Wash - 1 Mar 2013
Now that I have completed 3 days of birding, guess it is time to catch up on some blog posts. Going to do these chronological to prevent myself from getting mixed up. Friday after work, I headed to Pima Canyon Wash in South Mountain Park once again mostly for the exercise but also wondering what kind of avian life would present itself to me. Now that I have an iPhone, I have downloaded a nifty little app, that has a GPS in it that records my distance, time and elevation of my walks. And it keeps a longitude and latitude map of my complete trail. What was interesting was the distance. I have been guessing my distance on this hike at about 3 to 4 miles in length, but in reality it is right at 5 miles in length.
First bird that greeted me as I got out of the car was the Arizona State Bird, a Cactus Wren. No other wren can be confused with this one. It is the largest wren in the United States and has very distinct markings. And they can be quite noisy at times with their various clucking and calls.
Soon after, as I was walking up the wash, I caught a glimpse of movement; something small in a bush very close to me. I discovered a male Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and it was collecting nesting material. He was not at all disturbed by my presence and continued picking shredded material off of the bush. Most normally I hear these little birds before I see them, but in this case with a beak full of nesting material, I thinking singing was out of the question. Love to see the black cap on these birds in their summer breeding plumage.
Further up the wash, I found a Rock Wren foraging among the rocks. It had found a fairly large insect, but managed to hide the morsel before I could capture a photo.
And almost at my turn around point I discovered a couple of Canyon Towhees. I had not seen this bird in this area for several weeks, so it was great to see them back and as usual, they were foraging on the ground and definitely acted a bit camera shy. Had to shoot through the brush.
After I had reach my turn around point and was able to briefly view a Canyon Wren, I headed back down the wash and came upon a Loggerhead Shrike that was being very cooperative with me and my camera. It just perched out in full view with a nice blue sky background.
One of the last birds that I found when nearing the parking lot was a couple of Say's Phoebes. A very common resident flycatcher in this part of Arizona. While one of them was posing on an Ocotillo branch and I was firing away with the camera, this one must have had an itch on the back part of its neck. Sure wish I could bend my leg back up over my back to scratch the itch! And shortly thereafter, it took flight.
Yes, this is a lot of the same species I see quite frequently, but I never get tired of observing them. It seems I am always learning a new behavior or trait about these frequently seen species. The learning never ends.