My birding day started with watching two ravens chase a red-tailed hawk out of our neighborhood. I am driving down Sycamore Leaf when I see them and I pullover to watch the drama. The ravens are relentless in their pursuit and tag team the hawk, one after the other diving in for the attack. When I reach Sahuarita Rd. I stop, and there on the utility pole is a kestrel. A good day of birding has started.
I am heading for a new location today, a park I found on eBrid called Lakeside Park. It’s much later than I wanted to get out of the house, but at least I am getting out. It is a beautiful day here in Tucson with sunshine and temps already in the 60’s. I have a long-sleeved shirt on over my t-shirt, but I won’t need it for long.
The hawk flies up and lands on the chain link fence which surrounds what I now realize is a field next to a school. Ground squirrels are standing up watching this drama, just like me. Now I know why the hawk is hunting here. I walk the short distance back to my vehicle and get the D80 out, which I wisely brought with me this time. I pull my car up next to the fence parallel to the hawk and use it as a blind. After rolling down my window I snap a couple shots off, then decide to see if I can get some shots from outside the car.
While I am standing on a steep bank looking out over the water a flash of red flies at me and lands on a nearby branch. I cannot believe my eyes, for there is a vermillion flycatcher posing for me. He is so close that I am able to snap off a good picture this time, but I am wishing Gus was here and he could capture this picture.
Just as I am ready to leave I hear a bunch of bird in an old Palo Verde tree near the parking lot. Looking with my binoculars I see a deep hole where a branch was obviously lost recently. Just poking out of the hole are some black and white tail feathers. It looks like the tail of a Gila woodpecker. I can see the ragged edges of the scar, but in the middle the hole is perfectly round. Soon the culprit backs out of the hole and stops to look at me. I now know where a Gila woodpecker nest will be this spring. What a great day!