Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Birding With Jim - Day 1

Last weekend, birding friend, Jim Austin-Cole from New Jersey, was in Arizona for a week and together we spent two days searching for new life birds for Jim in Arizona. The first day we headed to the western side of the greater Phoenix area, specifically to the Buckeye/Arlington area.  Immediately after we turned off of Highway 85 and headed west on Baseline Road, the first bird to greet us was a very nice Ferruginous Hawk.  Our first real stop was the infamous 'Thasher Spot' at Baseline and Salome Hwy.  When we arrived we found another lost soul from Rhode Island there and he was also looking for the major prize, the Le Conte's Thrasher and he joined us.

The first thrasher we located was Bendire's Thrasher and as we made our way towards one of them we heard a thrasher call in the brush to the left of us that caught my attention and it was not long before we caught a glimpse of two Le Conte's scampering on the ground from one shrub to another. As we slowly tried to get closer for photos, one of them flew up into the branches of a tree and allowed good looks and some photos. This bird has never been easy to photograph but this pose was a dream come true.

Le Conte's Thrasher

As Jim and I departed the area we spied a few sparrows near the highway and mixed in just happened to be a few Brewer's Sparrows. We left this spot with 3 new life birds for Jim;  Bendire's Thrasher, Le Conte's Thrasher and Brewer's Sparrow.

Brewer's Sparrow
From the Thrasher Spot, we then headed out to cover the various spots along the many roads.  At one little stop along the road a Lincoln's Sparrow gave us an over-the-shoulder look before it took off for better cover and we did find a small flock of 55 Sandhill Cranes.  Not a common bird in Maricopa County, but there is a small flock that spends their winters in the Arlington area.  And we found huge numbers of Brewer's Blackbirds.
 Lincoln's Sparrow

 Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes
Brewer's Blackbird
After lunch in Buckeye, we headed to Friendship Park which is the place that I discover just two weeks before as a good place for the Lawrence's Goldfinch.  Since we were later in the day, we were only able to find one, but at least we got good looks at it and added another new life bird for Jim.  The only photos I took at this location was a bad one of a Common Yellowthroat (not an easy bird to photograph) and a Neotropic Cormorant that was busy preening its feathers.
 Common Yellowthroat

 Neotropic Cormorant

Neotropic Cormorant
Our last stop was Glendale Recharge Ponds which had large numbers of ducks and shorebirds.  Ducks were not so cooperative, but some of the shorebirds were a bit more accommodating, including Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs feeding side by side which really made for a great comparison of the two species.  Had lots of Least Sandpipers and one of them was in the mood for taking a bath.
Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs
 Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper
It was a great day of birding and I took off a day from work on Monday to take Jim to a totally different location and habitat.  That will be the focus of my next post.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Gordon, What an amazing and fantastic shot of the Le Conte's Thrasher! Well done, that is a challenging bird to get a good photograph of and you crushed it in portrait fashion!