Friday, January 29, 2010

Scaled Quail in Sycamore Canyon!

Scaled Quail 1-29-10 Sycamore Canyon

I've been watching birds whenever I can and wherever I can, so yesterday I headed into town with bins and camera to squeeze in some bird watching between errands. Gray skies threatened above me as I drive north on Houghton Road. By the time I reach Lakeside Park, the rain came down forcing me to leave my camera in the car as I search the park for something different. It is quiet here in the rain with only the birds and a few crazy fishermen braving the elements. Though I hope for the osprey or maybe some northern rough-winged swallows I am only seeing the usual suspects-American wigeons, mallards, coots, all kinds of blackbirds and a few western bluebirds. However, I am able to pick out a lone pair of Mexican ducks from all the regular mallards. Mexican ducks look like female mallards, but they are darker and smaller with dark tail feathers. Species number (Mexican mallards are no longer considered a seperate species I just dicovered!) for my Big January Count.

Hooded Meganser male 1-28-10 Reid Park

After lunch with a friend I head over to Reid Park to see what I can see. I park between the zoo and the ball fields and head for the pond. At the first pond the American wigeons dominate with over 100 in the water along with canvasbacks, ring-necked ducks, ruddy ducks, coots, and pied-billed grebes. Pigeons swarm the pond edges hoping for a few crumbs from the bread that people brought to feed the ducks. In the nearby field a flock of western bluebirds gathers and in their midst a brilliant red flash appears-a male vermilion flycatcher! I work my way around to the southern pond located closest to 22nd Street. More wigeons and mallards and exotic domestic ducks and geese fill the pond, but then I see something different! A Hooded Merganser (109)!

Common Mergansers (female) 1-28-10 Reid Park

While watching the Hooded Mergansers I take up a location behind a palm tree and wait for the ducks to relax. A male Belted Kingfisher (110) gives its rattling call and flies to one of the overhanging trees. Then, 2 ducks circle the pond, dip and skim the water only to fly off again. Are they canvasbacks? the color is similar, but someting is differnt. I wait as they circle and skim again, once, twice, and then land. To my utter delight it is two female Common Mergansers (species 111)!

Great Egret 1-28-10 Reid Park, Tucson

All the while I am watching ducks this Great Egret calmly fishes nearby.

Hooded merganser pair 1-28-10

I am able to capture this photo of the Hooded Merganser pair. a lovely, artistic sculpture inthe water--beauty floating on rippled glass. I stand by the tree and just enjoy the sight. Though I love to count the birds and I like contributing the data to eBird, I never want to loose the pure joy of the birds. I stand and let the moment infuse my being. Gray skies, calm water, peaceful birds.

Scaled Quail in Sycamore Canyon 1-29-10

It is late at night when I arrive home. After all, I did have to do a bit of shopping. When I get there I find I have a message from the new people I met yesterday. about 45 minutes after I left the house Sheri called to tell me the scaled quail were back! But it is dark now and I am too late. I go to bed with visions of scaled quail on my brain. I want them so badly because when I enterd my bird count into eBird the other day I was surprised to learn that scaled quail are not an expected species here at this time of year. All night long I dream of scaled quail. I wake up in the night with the words pounding on my brain. I just have to see these birds! I won't be able to sleep. I want to add them to my Pima County list, my Sycamore Canyon list, and my Big January Count. I wake around 8 a.m. and busy myself with morning chores. Is it too early to call Sheri back? I fill the bird feeders, and feed the pets. I fill my time as the clock creeps towards 9 a.m. then, I give Keith and Sheri a call. The scaled quail are back! I jump in my car without eating breakfast and drive to their house with what feels like frogs jumping in my stomach.

Scaled Quail 1-29-10

When I get to their house I exit the car quietly. I grab my gear and gently tap on the door. I do not want to scare these birds off now. Sheri opens the door and leads me inside. I dump my stuff on a nearby hassock and put my bins to my eyes. Where are they? Where are they? All I see are Gambel's quail. Right there, Sheri says, but I don't see, because what I am seeing are the streaked sides and white lined wings from the back, but then..., oh then! I see! I see the scales. I see the birds. I am shaking I am so excited! I have my Scaled Quail! (species 112!)

Scaled and Gambel's Quail on seed block

I have only seen scaled quail twice before. The first time was on my very first trip to Whitewater Draw the first year I lived here. One sat on a branch in the early morning light before it or we moved on. Then, I saw one briefly moving trough the brush on a hillside in Rio Rico, but this, this is the first time I have seen them this close and this well. I only intended to stay for a few minutes, but by the time I left, I had been there 2 hours. I have found new friends in Kieth and Sheri. I look forward to further birding adventures with them. And for now...

Scaled Quail 1-29-10

...I have Scaled Quail!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Snow and Flood

Snow on the Santa Ritas 1-23-10

(taken in Sycamore Canyon click to enlarge)

Snow in the mountains means floods in the valley...

...and churning brown water in the Santa Cruz river... Ina Road flows peacefully away to the north.

All photos were taken last weekend on January 23 after the snow and rain of the night before. I went to Ina Road to hopefully spot some black-necked stilts but to no avail. This water was too swift and brown to attract them. However, I did discover that a new walkway has been installed here and I plan to go back and explore the trail. I only saw a few birds here this day and all were birds I had already seen elsewhere, so no additions to the Big January Count at this location. However, I did see a Lark Bunting in Sycamore Canyon yesterday, so that make species number 108 on my Big January Count!

Have a Happy Skywatch Friday everyone!

(I'm off to find some more birds!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Male Costa's Hummingbird in mesquite tree 1-22-10

Yesterday it rained buckets. The birds flooded my feeders and yard seeking shelter from the store and food for their bellies.

Soaked Quail 1-22-10

Drenched female Northern Cardinal 1-22-10

Lesser goldfinch seeking shelter from the storm 1-22-10

How many hungry Gila's can you count?
(click to enlarge)

With my feeders full of birds...

...and Snow on Mt. Fagan this morning 1-23-10 didn't take long for this Cooper's Hawk to show up for dinner!

All of these birds would qualify to be counted for the Great Backyard Bird Count if it were happening today. Get your binoculars ready, because it is coming soon! Click on the link or the button to learn more. There are special links and activities for children. This is how I became an active birder. Until I participated in the GBBC I use to just watch the birds that came into my yard or to my feeders. If I went someplace new, I was aware of the birds around me, but I never actively went out in search of birds. The GBBC changed all that for me when I first participated about 10 years ago. It's a great family activity and a fun way to learn about birds and birding. You do not have to be an expert! You just need to be willing to learn. Every bird list counts and it all helps the birds!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Who Has Seen the Wind?

Trees bent in the wind 1-21-10

Flags flying in the wind 1-21-10

Dust Storm 1-21-10

It is always a challenge to photograph wind. In fact, you cannot do it. However, you can photograph its effects and so as the wind gusts to over 60 MPH I set out this afternoon between 3 and 4 PM MST to see what I could see. The wind buffeted me and my car as I tried to take pictures. When I got out of the car, it sandblasted me. But it was all so dramatic and exciting! A storm is blowing in and we should have rain overnight.

These winds are in front of the storms that are drenching California right now. They are so powerful that a tornado warning has gone up for Pinal County for tonight. The birds seem to know a storm is coming for they have been all over my bird feeders all day long but as I drive about the neighborhood I don't see many birds. Unless they are at a food source, the birds are staying down.

The wind like this always makes me think of a poem I learned as a child. I am sure many of you will recall it also. It is a simple poem, but I still like it and I think it applies to this post today.

Who Has Seen the Wind?
By Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind
Neither I nor you:
but when the leaves hang trembling
the wind is passing thro'
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I
but when the trees bow down their heads
the wind is passing by.

Skywatch Friday

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Morning in Sycamore Canyon

Gus and his coffee 1-17-10

It's a gorgeous and sunny morning here in Sycamore Canyon. Gus and I ate breakfast on the patio with birds busy all around us. A male Costa's came down and hovered behind Gus' back, apparently attracted by his red shirt. In the wash a covey of Gambel's quail made little chirping noises to each other as they climbed the rip rap up towards my yard. Lesser Goldfinches and house finches fly in and out of the trees or land on the feeders.

Meanwhile this Bewick's wren climbs boldly about in the flowerbed, then hops up on the wall right behind Gus.

I've been visited by this Rufous-crowned sparrow almost every day for the past few weeks. It hops up on the block wall, then dives for the flowerbeds where it hides beneath the foliage or searches secretively around the base of the bird feeder. I keep looking for rufous-winged sparrows, but I had not seen any anywhere until today. Then I found one in the Schoolyard at Sycamore Elementary School, along with a Lark Sparrow and some killdeer. However, when I came back home and was sitting on the patio again recording my bird counts...

...this little guy hopped up on the block wall and I was astonished. The rufous-crowned had just been here, and I had to look twice to be sure it wasn't the same bird, but the rufous-winged sparrow has 2 wisher marks while the rufous-crowned only has one. Also, the rufous-crowned has a prominent eye ring, and while this sparrow also seems to have an eyering it is more subtle. Also, note the shape and color of the beaks. Plus, if you look closely at this rufous-winged sparrow, you can actually see the rufous wing patch on its shoulder.

From this vantage point you can see the double whisker marks quite clearly as well as the rufous wing patch. The rufous-winged sparrow is smaller than the rufous-crowned and it also tends to raise its crest more often.

As I sit on the patio writing, the clouds start to roll in. By late afternoon it is overcast and cool at 60 degrees but still a lovely day. I finally have my computer back. It had over 80 viruses. Apparently Gus did not renew our McAfee subscription last year. We now have a different virus protection program recommended by the repairman. All my photos have been stored on another drive. This is my first day back on the repaired computer so hopefully I will start to get caught up. Meanwhile the guys are in the living room watching football and the baby is napping in the bedroom. I have been birding all over SE Arizona and snapping away with my camera and counting birds. I will submit my bird counts to ebird, then update the master list. Hopefully I will get a chance to come and visit all of you soon and then I will check my email! Perhaps this week I will finally be able to finish taking down my Christmas decorations!

These two Costa's hummingbirds were sitting in my mesquite tree this afternoon while I sat outside writing. The male was slightly above the female in the tree. The male looks so intense, but the female looked quite peaceful and sweet. I live in such a wonderful place!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big January Big News

Announcing: the engagement of my daughter, Renee to her long-time boyfriend Randy on December 25, 2009. After all the gifts were opened, Randy got down on one knee and surprised her and all of us with an engagement ring! Welcome to the Family Randy! Congratulations to them both!

This was the first Christmas since 2003 for almost all of us to be together. Only the youngest child and his wife were missing and with good reason.

Announcing: the birth of Natalie Brown on December 26, 2009! Natalie weighed in at a hefty 9 pounds! She is healthy and well and I am aching to go and see her in Kentucky where her daddy is now stationed! If I have my way, we will be driving there and I will be bird watching all the way! Congratulations Alex and Diane! I will post pictures as soon as I can get some!

If you haven't heard from me in awhile its because a lot has been going on around here. I had one day off after my grandkids returned to Maine and I spent that at Sweetwater Wetlands. The very next day my oldest son had surgery on his ankle and I have been helping to watch my youngest grandson ever since. To make things even more complicated, Gus was sick for 4 days and by the time he was feeling better I got a stomach flu that kept me down for the first 2 days of this week. Today was the first day I felt better and I abandoned my house work and fled to Madera Canyon. With temps predicted to be in the low 70's and rain predicted for Thursday I did not want to waste this opportunity. It was well worth it. I added 13 more species to my Big January Count bringing my current total to 90 species for this year! I think I got some awesome photos which I hope to post within the next couple of days. We get our computer back tomorrow but on Friday Gus and I are planning a trip to Whitewater Draw to see Sandhill cranes. (Unless I change my mind which is always possible!)

On another note, I haven't even had time to mention that I was the featured blog on the Nature Blog Network for this month. You can see the post here or click on the link in the sidebar.

For now, I will update the Big January Master List with a full count of birds see and photos after I get my computer back. I am missing all of my fellow bloggers and I can't wait to get caught up with everyone and see how you are all doing!

Friday, January 8, 2010

White Vermillion Flycatcher at Sweetwater Wetlands

"White" Vermillion Flycatcher at Sweetwater Wetlands 1-4-10

White Vermillion flycatcher 1-4-10 by Kathiesbirds w/Nikon D80 set in sports mode and the 70-300mm lens. Seen along the stream right behind the parking lot and restrooms. 1:55 PM MST.

After 2 weeks of hustle and bustle and Christmas excitement I need a break and so, as my son and grandchildren are flying back to the frozen northland, and as Gus heads off to work, I head for Sweetwater wetlands to see what I can see. Monday is a sunny day, calm and warm and as I drive up Sweetwater Drive I notice the parking lot full. I think to myself, there must be some rare bird hanging around, as I pull into the last available spot. As soon as I opened the car door I can hear birds calling. Right at the edge of the parking lot I see my first birds of the day, a pair of Abert's towhees and my first sighting of them this year. The mesquite and palo verdes surrounding the parking lot are alive with yellow-rumped warblers and ruby crowned kinglets. Across the stream I see and hear a marsh wren. I can already tell this is going to be a very good day. However, I have no idea yet how wonderful.

I meet a nice couple from New Jersey who are here watching birds for a couple of hours before they have to catch a plane back to the east coast. Mike and Nora accompany me for the rest of their time here, and I am able to spot a sora in the reeds for them. They have never seen a sora before and soon another joined it at the edge of the grass. Everywhere we turn there are birds. Father down the pathway we see literally thousands of ducks in the settling ponds to the east. Most of these are too far away and backlit to positively identify, so I did not even try to count them but we were able to make out a double-crested cormorant in their midst. Mike saw a swallow but I did not so I could not count that either. No matter. There are still plenty of birds I can count. We meet another birder who tells us there is a rare white vermilion flycatcher flying around somewhere here at Sweetwater. Supposedly it has even been in the newspaper and on TV but apparently I had missed that report. Now we kept our eyes open for it as we travel on.

In the main ponds we see almost every species of duck one can see in Arizona except for canvasbacks and redheads. We see every species of teal and plenty of pied-billed grebes. Someone else told us of snowy egrets being spotted in the farthest ponds, but Nora and Mike have to leave, so I continue on by myself as the sun continues to warm the day. I find the snowy egrets. I find herons and warblers. I see a Harris Hawk briefly across the street in its usual nesting area. A few red-winged blackbirds fly across my path and disappear into the reeds and rushes. My list grows and grows and so does my thirst and hunger. I walk back to the car to retrieve a fresh drink and a snack. By now it was well after noon and I have been here since 10 a.m. I walk back to the gazebo to relax and watch birds. I still have not seen the ghost vermillion.

With the day wearing on I decide to leave, so I pack up bird guides and food, bins and camera and make my way back towards the car. I come to an intersection which allows me to go in either direction back to the parking lot. I can see the cars through the trees and across the manmade creek, but I must choose which way to get there. I don't know what made me decide to go right, which is actually the longer way around, but I do. As I near the bridge I see a pyrrhuloxia on the ground near the bushes. I stop to add it to my list, then look up to see the white vermillion flycatcher flitting from bush to bush across the creek! I drop everything except my camera and bins and start snapping!

The cute little bird is like a ghost in the sunshine. It shows no fear but rather seems curious about me. I stand holding my breathe and snapping away. It flies in closer and cocks its head to look at me from every angle. I am overwhelmed with this sweet beauty, this rare gem. I cannot get enough of it. However, the other birds are unimpressed and yellow-rumped warblers, a black phoebe and a song sparrow continue with their business as if this were just an ordinary day. And I suppose it is. This is an ordinary day at Sweetwater Wetlands where birds fill trees, bushes and ponds, where on any given day you may spot a rarity as well as numerous "regular" birds. I counted 55 species here in the 3 1/2 hours I walked the loop and watched birds. Who knows how many other species I missed. I know someone saw a spotted towhee, but that species escaped me. I have no complaints, however. None whatsoever! For the rest of the day I walk around thinking and saying to myself, "I saw a white vermillion flycatcher. I saw a white vermillion flycatcher," as if repeating it to myself could drive the reality into my brain.

Species seen at Sweetwater Wetlands:
  1. Mallard
  2. Ruddy duck*
  3. Northern shoveler*
  4. American widgeon
  5. Ring-necked duck*
  6. Northern Pintail*
  7. Bufflehead*
  8. Gadwall*
  9. Blue-winged teal*
  10. cinnamon teal*
  11. Green-winged teal*
  12. Double-crested cormorant*
  13. Great Blue heron*
  14. Green heron*
  15. Black-crowned night heron*
  16. Snowy Egret*
  17. American coot
  18. Common Moorhen*
  19. Spotted sandpiper
  20. Killdeer*
  21. Harris hawk*
  22. Red-tailed hawk
  23. Cooper's hawk
  24. Pigeon
  25. Mourning Dove
  26. Anna's Hummingbird
  27. Gila woodpecker
  28. Northern Flicker (red-shafted)*
  29. Flicker sp.
  30. Red-naped sapsucker*
  31. Pied-billed grebe
  32. Vermillion flycatcher (1 white!)
  33. Say's phoebe
  34. Black phoebe*
  35. Verdin
  36. Ruby-crowned kinglet*
  37. Marsh wren*
  38. Cactus wren
  39. Sora*
  40. curve-billed thrasher
  41. Phainopepla*
  42. European Starling
  43. Yellow-rumped warbler
  44. Orange-crowned warbler*
  45. Black-throated gray warbler*
  46. Yellow warbler*
  47. Abert's towhee*
  48. White-crowned sparrow
  49. Brewer's sparrow*
  50. Song sparrow*
  51. Pyrrhuloxia
  52. Red-winged blackbird*
  53. Great-tailed grackle
  54. House finch
  55. House sparrow

I should be getting my computer back soon. If I had it now I would have included more photos. On Thursday I did my first IBA survey of Sabino Canyon for the year. We saw bridled titmice and Western bluebirds in the canyon, the first time in over 2 years these species have occurred on our transect count. I will add any new species from that count to the Big January Master List.

Sabino Canyon Bird Count:
  1. Anna's Hummingbird
  2. Broad-billed hummingbird*
  3. Ladderbacked woodpecker*
  4. Gila woodpecker
  5. Black phoebe
  6. Western bluebird
  7. Ruby-crowned kinglet
  8. Bridled titmouse*
  9. Common Raven*
  10. N. Mockingbird
  11. European Starling
  12. Phainopepla
  13. Bewick's wren
  14. Black-throated sparrow
  15. Rufous-crowned sparrow
  16. Canyon towhee
  17. Lesser goldfinch
  18. House sparrow

*first sighting in 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Big January 2010 Bird Count

  1. Lesser Goldfinch 1-1-10 home
  2. Housefinch
  3. House sparrow
  4. Gila Woodpecker
  5. Gilded flicker
  6. Verdin
  7. Gambel's Quail
  8. Costa's Hummingbird
  9. Cactus Wren
  10. Rock Wren
  11. Bewick's Wren
  12. Curve-billed thrasher
  13. Black-throated sparrow
  14. Chipping sparrow
  15. Pyrrhuloxia
  16. Northern Cardinal
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Pigeon
  19. Red-tailed hawk 1-1-10 Jct I-10 and Kolb
  20. American kestrel 1-1-10 Jct I-10 and Kolb
  21. Common goldeneye 1-1-10 Lakeside Park
  22. Mallard
  23. American Widgeon
  24. Coot
  25. Western grebe
  26. Pied-billed grebe
  27. Spotted sandpiper
  28. Say's phoebe
  29. Western Bluebird
  30. Vermilion Flycatcher
  31. Northern Mockingbird
  32. Yellow-rumped warbler
  33. Brewer's blackbird
  34. Common grackle
  35. Brown-headed cowbird
  36. Rufous-crowned sparrow 1-2-10 Home
  37. White-crowned sparrow 1-2-10 Roadrunner Market, Corona de Tucson
  38. Anna's Hummingbird 1-3-10 Jct. Kold & 22nd St. Tucson
  39. Cooper's Hawk 1-3-10 Jct. Kolb & 22nd St. Tucson
  40. Starling 1-3-10 Jct. Kolb & Golf Links Tucson
  41. Black-crowned night heron 1-4-10 Sweetwater Wetlands
  42. bufflehead
  43. blue-gray gnatcatcher
  44. blue-winged teal
  45. Cinnamon teal
  46. Common Moorhen
  47. Abert's towhee
  48. double-crested cormorant
  49. Brewer's sparrow
  50. black-throated gray warbler
  51. Black phoebe
  52. gadwall
  53. green-winged teal
  54. great blue heron
  55. green heron
  56. Harris hawk
  57. Killdeer
  58. Marsh wren
  59. Northern flicker (red-shafted)
  60. Northern Pintail
  61. Northern shoveler
  62. Orange-crowned warbler
  63. Phainopepla
  64. Red-naped Sapsucker
  65. Red-winged blackbird
  66. Ring-necked duck
  67. Ruby crowned kinglet
  68. Yellow warbler
  69. Ruddy duck
  70. Song sparrow
  71. Snowy egret
  72. Sora
  73. Canyon towhee 1-5-10 Home
  74. Greater Roadrunner 1-5-10 Sycamore Canyon Park
  75. Ladderback woodpecker 1-7-10 Sabino canyon
  76. Common raven
  77. Broad-billed hummingbird
  78. Bridled titmouse
  79. Chihuahuan Raven 1-13-10 Green Valley Pecan Company, Sahuarita
  80. Loggerhead shrike 1-13-10 Whitehouse Canyon Rd, Green Valley
  81. Hermit Thrush 1-13-10 Madera Canyon
  82. Acorn Woodpecker
  83. Painted Redstart
  84. White-throated Swift
  85. White-breasted Nuthatch
  86. Mexican jay
  87. Pine siskin
  88. Yellow-eyed Junco
  89. Dark-eyed Junco
  90. Wild Turkey
  91. White-winged Dove 1-13-10 Abrego Drive Green Valley
  92. Great-horned owl 1-14-10 Home
  93. Golden Eagle 1-15-10 Whitewater draw
  94. Northern harrier
  95. Great Egret
  96. Least sandpiper
  97. Common Yellow throat
  98. Snow goose
  99. Canvasback
  100. Lesser Scaup
  101. Sandhill Crane
  102. Vesper sparrow 1-15-09 San Pedro house
  103. Eastern meadowlark
  104. Turkey Vulture 1-16-10 Rio Rico
  105. Long-billed dowitcher
  106. Rufous-winged sparrow 1-17-10 Sycamore Elementary school
  107. Lark sparrow
  108. Lark bunting 1-27-10 Sycamore Canyon
  109. Belted Kingfisher 1-28-10 Reid Park
  110. Common merganser
  111. Hooded Merganser
  112. Scaled Quail 1-29-10 Sycamore Canyon
  113. Horned Lark 1-31-10 Sycamore Elemetary School

Big January Participants

Larry Brownstone Birding Blog 2010 Total: 101!

Robert Mortensen Amivor Birding Blog 2010 Total: 66

Ruth Body, Soul, and Spirit 2010 Total: 56

Katnell 2010 Total: 15

Bird Couple 2010 Total: 116!

Kim The Curious Birder

The Early Birder 2010 Total: 99

2009 Big January Results

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big January Big trouble

Well, as you can see, there are no photos with this post today. Shortly after writing and posting on January 1st I off-loaded a bunch of photos to my computer. I had been asking my husband to back up our files so we could compress or delete some since I feared our hard drive was getting too full. Husband did not believe me. but, with the grand kids here for Christmas for 2 weeks and my son and myself taking tons of photos the hard drive DID fill up and my computer would not finish off-loading my pictures due to lack of memory! By now I am crying. So then husband tries to fix the problem for me. Nothing. So, I spent New Years day in despair and the only thing that relieves my distress is when he takes me bird watching at Lakeside Park. That evening as I babysit grand kids at my son's house poor sweet husband tries to fix the problem and in the process downloads a Trojan virus! Now we were totally locked out of our computer with pop-ups flying everywhere. Time for the yellow pages and a computer store. Gus and my son drive the hard drive into town where it remains at the computer store to be de-bugged. Hopefully more memory can be added so I can store more photos.

I did not think I would be able to get onto the Internet and blog for a few days until we reclaimed our hard drive, but then I remembered that we got a new (used) laptop computer. Now, I know many of you are used to using these things but they intimidate me and the laptop has been sitting on the counter for a few months. Well, I dug it out tonight and Gus hooked it up to the Internet for me and voila! I'm blogging again!

In the meantime, I have also been counting birds wherever I go. With my grand kids here from Maine they have been my first priority, so other than Lakeside Park, I haven't gone anywhere spectacular yet, but the kids leave tomorrow morning and I will be out the door as soon as possible. It'll take a good week or two to get my house back to normal, but I don't care. The visit has been wonderful and I have lots of photos to post once I get my regular hardrive back! Meanwhile, I am up to 40 species of birds seen so far this year! I plan on publishing a master list in a different post.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Big January 2010

Mesquite Tree full of birds

Big January is upon us. It's that time of year when all mad birders start counting birds at the stroke of midnight. For the next month we will have a friendly competition to see who can see the most species of birds in their own state in the month of January. Larry of the Brownstone Birding Blog is the one who got me started with this 3 years ago. He beat me the first year but I beat him in 2009. Who will be this year's champion? We shall see. I awoke around 7:45 this morning, crept quietly to my patio door and peeked around the corner to see which species would be my First Bird of 2010...

Lesser goldfinch 1st bird of 2010

In a tree full of birds I saw the lesser goldfinch first. Then I started counting. With blue skies streaked with high thin clouds, and a brisk breeze teasing the branches the air still feels relatively warm at 46 degrees. The forecast highs for today are in the high 60's. Not too bad for January 1st!

Rock Wren in my backyard 12-15-09

Hungry Gila woodpecker 12-14-09

Big January Bird list 2010
  1. Lesser goldfinch
  2. Housefinch
  3. House sparrow
  4. Mourning Dove
  5. Costa's Hummingbirds
  6. Pigeon
  7. Gila woodpecker
  8. Gilded flicker
  9. Cactus Wren
  10. Rock wren
  11. Bewick's wren
  12. Pyrrhuloxia

These birds were all spotted in and from my yard so far this morning. I will add to the list throughout the day. In all honesty, these photos were all taken in mid December but the same species are still in my yard in the same tree and hanging from the same feeders! (I'm in a hurry here!) Okay, I'm off to do more birding!

Happy Birdy New Year!

Let me know if you plan to participate. I'd like to compile a list of those who are!

Big January 2009

If you click on the label below for Big January it will pull up all posts regarding this subject if you are interested!