Pacific Wren

Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oak Flats & Superior, Arizona

Last Sunday, birding friend Muriel Neddermeyer and myself, carpooled to attend a meeting of the Arizona Field Ornithologists (AZFO) at Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, Arizona, so we decided to start out the day early by driving a bit further east to Oak Flats Campground.  This place is a rather amazing place and a great spot for birding among the sometimes many campers.  Our target birds were the Gray Vireo and the Black-chinned Sparrow.  Neither bird was a life bird for us, but they are birds that can be difficult to find and then get photos.  One has to know the proper habitat to locate them and the area around this campground was perfect.  We were rather surprised how many campers were there, but we also quickly discovered the place was full of birds. 
 
Initially, we were not having much luck with our target birds, but as we roamed about the hillside surrounding the campground we found some really neat birds such as an Ash-throated Flycatcher, several Bewick's Wrens, a Hermit Thrush and a lot of Spotted Towhees.
 
Ash-throated Flycatcher
 
Bewick's Wren
 
Hermit Thrush
 
 Spotted Towhee
 
Spotted Towhee
 
As we worked our way to the east side of the camp grounds we heard a vireo in the distance and as we forged our way to the call, we knew it was a Gray Vireo, one of our target birds.  About the time we actually saw it another bird came flying in to us and landed in tree right above us and it was our other target bird, the Black-chinned Sparrow.  What a stroke of luck to get both of them at almost the exact same time.  Caused a bit of a dilemma on which one we should focus on, so we just focused on both.  Eventually the Gray Vireo also came out of the cover of the shrubs and landed on a branch for us for clear viewing.  It is not a new bird to either of us, but we had never had one display itself so well for our viewing.
 
 Gray Vireo
 
Black-chinned Sparrow
 
Knowing that we had successfully achieved our goal on our 2 target birds and also realizing that we needed to think about heading back to BTA for our meeting, we decided to start back.  We calculated that we had about 15 minutes of free time on the way back, so we made a brief stop at the small city roadside park in Superior which can have some pretty nifty birds for such a small area and on this day we were treated to wonderful views of one of the most beautiful birds in Arizona, the Vermilion Flycatcher.  The males are stunning and the females are quite attractive in their own right, but the bright red of the males can sometimes be hard to capture in a photo, but on this day it was not a problem. 
 
 Vermilion Flycatcher
 
 Vermilion Flycatcher
 
 Vermilion Flycatcher
 
Vermilion Flycatcher
 
What a way to end our day of birding with some of our favorite birds. 
 
 
 
 


2 comments:

  1. Hey Gordon! I'm planning on heading out there this weekend, thanks for the great photos and added incentive : )

    Great shots. Gray Vireo is a really solid bird, way to crush 'im!

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  2. Laurence, I bet you find one! Right now is the time to look as they will be calling and you can't mistake their vireo call. Interestingly, the Gray Vireos and Black-chinned Sparrows kind of like the same breeding habitat, and the GRVI we found was calling and the BCSP's were flocking in around it. Might be a little bit of a symbiotic relationship with these 2 species. Good luck!

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