Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Warblers, Vireos, and a Crane

The old blog has not seen any recent posts, so figured it is time to rectify that issue.  Most of my recent birding has been near home and I am truly enjoying the wonders of migration and discovering a few new spots around the Valley of the Sun. Many of the birds I am seeing are species that I have more than once posted on my blog site in previous posts.  

Having the time to spend on exploring regular sites and observing many of the migrating birds that are usually only seen for a short time, once or maybe twice a year as they pass through the state of Arizona.  During a 1 week period in late April, I made 3 trips to my regular spot in South Mountain Park and during that period, was able to detect a total of 8 migrating warbler species in this dry desert wash.  When birds are migrating, they need to constantly replenish their their fuel by devouring many insects, pupa, larva, and even unhatched insect egg cases.  The species list of these warblers include:  Hermit, Townsend's, Wilson's, Yellow-rumped, MacGillivary's, Black-throated Gray, Nashville, and Orange-crowned.  That s pretty remarkable considering that none of these species calls this place home for breeding purposes.  Of course, being a warbler, most do not pose for photos very well, so several did not get documented with photos.

Townsend's Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Vireos are also a common migrant through Arizona, but are usually not quite as colorful and flashy as the warblers.  Some are very vocal and are easy to detect by sound even though they do not always present themselves for photos very well, just like the warblers. 

Gray Vireo

 Bell's Vireo

 Cassin's Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Then something remarkable happened.  A Common Crane was found at Mormon Lake in northern Arizona.  This is a Eurasian species that has appeared in the United States from time to time, but has never been recorded in Arizona.  I took off for Mormon Lake shortly after I heard the news.  It was about a 2½ hour drive from Mesa and it took me awhile to locate the bird on this vast lake.  As I was trying to get a bit closer for better photos, it took flight and disappeared over a ridge.  I was able to snap a few photos before it flew and also as it was in-flight.  Wish I could have gotten better photos, but getting a lifer is much more important.  What a great bird to add to my life list.

Common Crane

My current life list now sits at 689 species and currently there is a big trip in the planning stages that should easily push me over the 700 mark and then some.  Looking forward to some great birds in the near future.  

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