Saturday, September 26, 2015
White Mountains: The Final Field Trip
Sunday morning arrived and we had signed up to join the field trip to Wenima Wildlife area and also Becker Lake. Kurt Radamaker along with his wife Cindy took the lead on this field trip and we started out at Wenima hoping to find a nice rarity or two but we had no luck on rarities but had lots of great birds. My best photo from Wenima turned out to be a Common Buckeye butterfly. (Yes, I am guilty of photographing butterflies and slowly, but surely, I am starting to learn the common names of some of them.) In this post, you will see that birds are my number 1 target, but I also have a passion for all types of wildlife including butterflies, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. For those that have read many of my previous posts, you probably already know that, but for those that might be new to my blog site, you will see a sprinkling of other creatures in my posts from time to time and this one has a good blend of several creatures.
Becker Lake proved to be a bit better for some bird photography. We no sooner parked our vehicles in the parking lot and was scanning the area and we were blessed by a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds that came in to feed very close to the parking lot. They seemed unperturbed by us and allowed us great looks and some nice photos as well. Stunning birds with their bright yellow on black bodies and when they fly they show off a nice white wing patch as well.
Along the shore of the lake near the boat ramp, we happened upon a Woodhouse's Toad, which I believe is a new species of toad for me as I do not recall seeing one in the past.
As we made our way along the dike on the northeast side of the lake, we had a couple Virginia Rails come to check us out. This is a fairly secretive rail and most times I hear them in the marshes without seeing them. They are one of the most elusive and secretive rails, so when they do show themselves, you know you are in for a real treat.
This photo is a sighting of what I would consider normal and then they would disappear just as quickly as you saw it.
But this one mush have been unfazed by us as it put on quite a show with the photos below.
We also discovered a new lizard for most of us including our leader. We found a couple of very young Lesser Earless Lizards. This one was only about 2½ inches in length, including the tail.
And a Praying Mantis is always a cool insect to see.
The tree that normally holds a pair of Bald Eagles proved to be just the place that 3 Great Blue Herons decided to stop in for a rest.
I had not been in the White Mountains for almost a year, so it was great to return to some old stomping grounds. Maybe next summer I can spend a bit more time in this remarkable place and explore some more spots as it is truly a magical spot in the state of Arizona.