Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Carolina Visits Arizona

Arizona is one of the top birding states in the United States and that is due to several reasons.  First and foremost is the proximity to Mexico and the vast area of Central America that is a short distance south which harbors a huge variety of different species.  Arizona is also a great place for migrants to pass through on their travels.  This was the case with a recently found Carolina Wren that was discovered at Patagonia Lake State Park in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.  Its westernmost range in the US is west-central Texas.  This species had been documented in Arizona less than 6 times in the past, including a sighting in Overgaard, AZ, in Navajo County a few years ago.  I , along with 3 friends, chased that one in the winter and when someone found it and pointed it out to me, by the time I got my binoculars up, it had flown and was not seen again that day.  That was one of those lifers that I always labeled as a 'BVD', (Better View Desired). 

So when this one was reported in Santa Cruz County this year, Barb Meding and I decided to head south to see if we could find it.  Of course we found it and now I feel much better with this bird being on my life list.  Strangely, I did not have to head to the eastern part of the US to add it to my life list.  Once again, the state of Arizona can turn up some very unexpected species from time to time.

 Carolina Wren

Since we had traveled that far for this bird, of course visited some other spots as well and enjoyed the birds of southeastern Arizona; some that are not seen very often in the Phoenix area.

 Broad-billed Hummingbird

 Cassin's Finch

 Costa's Hummingbird

 Dusky Flycatcher

 Green-tailed Towhee

 Plumbeous Vireo

 Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Vermilion Flycatcher

Got lucky and found a new species of butterfly for me, the Golden-headed Scallopwing.

 Golden-headed Scallopwing

 Golden-headed Scallopwing

Texan Crescent

A few days after our trip to the Patagonia area, I made a solo trip to Mt Ord and Sycamore Creek in Maricopa County.  This is a spot I always enjoy visiting as it gets me away from the hustle of the city and out into nature; many times I have the place to myself as I did on this day.   On Mt Ord, I was lucky to find a couple of birds that are not always so common in the county; Golden-crowned Kinglet and Mountain Chickadee.  

 Golden-crowned Kinglet

Mountain Chickadee

Crissal Thrashers are common in this location, but not often seen, so it was a delight when one of them posed long enough for a photo.  

Crissal Thrasher

At Sycamore Creek, a Lucy's Warbler was singing and since it was the first of the year for me with that bird, it took me a few seconds to figure out what was making that song.  

Lucy's Warbler

Butterflies and moths were active and finding a Brown Elfin was a new butterfly for me and so was a Sagebrush Checkerspot.  

 Brown Elfin

Sagebrush Checkerspot

A couple of moths were new to me.  I normally don't spend a lot of time on moths, but these 2 species are a bit more colorful than most moths and reminded me of butterflies.  Never hurts to add new species to a person's list of creatures.  

 Moth - Litocala sexsignata

Moth-Annaphila astrologa

What is interesting about many of the moths is that they do not always have common names and have to be referred to by their scientific names.  Being at peace in nature and away from the hoards of mankind and concrete and steel and exhaust is always a treat for the soul.

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