With a big trip planned in the very near future, I have been staying close to home recently, but have had the opportunity to guide a few out-of-state birders to find birds in and around the Phoenix area. It has all been a lot of fun and it is interesting how different birders have different goals. Some just wanted to see birds, ANY birds, but some wanted to hone in on some target birds. I had the pleasure to assist Geruza from Texas, Barry from British Columbia, Susan from Colorado, and Marvin from Nebraska. Was a lot of fun meeting these intrepid birders and enjoying their excitement when they locked on to something new.
First person was Geruza from Texas and we took in 2 days of birding; first along the Salt River and Kiwanis Park and day 2 was spent at the Gilbert Water Ranch and Boyce Thompson Arboretum. She was new to Arizona birding and just wanted to see as much as possible. Here are a few of the photos I managed to capture during those two days.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
The biggest shock came at Kiwanis Park in Tempe while we were checking out the Rosy-faced Lovebirds and we found this incredibly beautiful Rose-ringed Parakeet and it is a blue mutation. It is a popular cage bird and the normal color is green, but pet breeders have a knack in developing color mutations and I have always loved this color mutation of this bird, but have never owned one. I know this is an escapee, and I did post this to several Facebook lost pet sites. Not sure if the original owner was found or if a local pet bird breeder may have captured it for safety sake.
Rose-ringed Parakeet - Blue color mutation
Next visitor was Barry from British Columbia, and he has been to Arizona in the past and has done a fair amount of birding on his own and for this trip he was hoping to find the hard-to-get Le Conte's Thrasher. This bird is kind of a Maricopa County specialty. While it is found in other parts of southwestern Arizona, the famous 'Thrasher Spot' west of Buckeye is well known. We did find the Le Conte's Thrasher and Barry also learned how difficult this bird can be to find and observe. We also got some other birds that were new to him as well. It was a great outing!
Number 3 was Susan from Colorado and her goals were a bit similar to Barry's; get the Le Conte's Thrasher. So it was back to the same location. And once again, I was able to help Susan get on a Le Conte's Thrasher. Plus we got Bendire's and Crissal as well.
Gilded Flicker - male and female
The final birder was an 86 year young gentleman from Nebraska and his enthusiasm for birds has not diminished at all and being able to show him some birds up close that were relatively calm around humans was a delight for him at the Gilbert Water Ranch.
Have an out-of-state trip planned in the very near future. Hope to come back with some photos of some new life birds. Stay tuned for more.