The wildlife around Arizona tends to ne fairly tame, well around public sites it does, and this generally allows a good look at things and odd photographic opportunities. Tassle-eared Squirrels run up and down trunks, Desert Cottontails disappear into the distance and Mule Deer stare. Around Grand Canyon the Rock Squirrels will follow you around hoping for a morsel and Least Chipmunks gather their nuts in September. Butterfly wise there were not so many. Monarchs were common, their congeners The Queen were also pretty common. Aside form that it we just saw the odd interesting insect and managed a few snaps, I think I added ten species to my N. America list.
For those interested a trip report will apear as a tab at the top of the page when done, below the very final few snaps from Arizona.
Least Chipmunk, Mule Deer, Rock Squirrel, The Queen (two shots), Orange Skipperling, Bordered Patch, Common Buckeye.
Going back throught the 1500 shots from Arizona, I plucked a few more for consumption, nothing wow though, butteflies to come.
Gambel’s Quail, Black Phoebe, Townsend’s Warbler, Western form of White-breasted Nuthatch (calls different, more active and on western trees!), Western Bluebird, Western Tanager (2 shots), Lesser Goldfinch, Steller’s Jay, Great-horned Owls head.
The first Snow Goose was with the growing and very noisy Canada Goose flock at the pits today. The past few days have been very enjoyable there this past few days. Yesterday under cloudy skies there were between 18-25 Black-bellied Plovers, five White-rumped Sandpipers and a Pectoral. Visible migration showed too with a few Dark-eyed Juncos going over, flocks of Cedar Wawings and the first small flocks of Rusty Blackbirds. Today, under blue skies and warm weather a male Northern Harrier was hunting until it spotted me, the shorebird dynamics had changed, no Black-bellied Plovers, one White-rumped Sandpiper and a minimum nine Pectoral Sandpipers. Factor in the regular 70+ Killdeers, 20+ Lesser and five or so Greater Yellowlegs plus odd Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers and you have a reasonable showing.
Two shots of the harrier from distance and a moth, The Relict, which was on our house recently. Don’t worry, I won’t start filling the pages with photos of obscure moths, yet.
The presence of some new dragonfly species in Arizona was an added bonus to the birds. We scored most at Bubbling Pondss, it was great fun wandering around seeing new species after new species, some quite subtle, others quite spectacular.
The species are: Blue Dasher, Checkered Setwing, Flame Skimmer, Green Darner, Serpent Ringtail, Variegated Meadowhawk (male, female and in cop), Western Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Neon Skimmer, Red Rock Skimmer, Flame Skimmer (again), Striped Meadowhawk, Dusky Dancer, Dancer Sp.
One of the appeals of Arizona birding is the presence of hummingbirds. For the top shelf buffet you need to go to Southern Arizona where a good day might give you 12 species or more. Northern Arizona has fewer species and no public concentrations that well stocked feeders attract but they are there if you look. The gods of serendipity saw us wash up at The Canyon Wren Lodge just north of Sedona and set in the Oak Creek Valley, we booked in for three days and it was great. The numerous feeders buzzed constantly from dawn to dusk and during our stay we had Broad-tailed, Rufous, Black-chinned, Anna’s, Costa’s, Calliope and Magnificent Hummingbirds. The commonest species was Rufous, there might have been Allen’s also but who knows,
Below a few shots both digiscoped and big camera’d.
Five shots of two different Rufous Hummingbirds, the second with the extensive rufous rump might be an Allen’s but I didn’t see the skinny outer tail feathers despite watching it in prolonged feeding hovers. The Rufous is a cracking hummer and one I’d wanted to see for a long time, I was not disappointed.
A couple of shots of Anna’s Hummingbird in various states of plumage decay. Anna’s was second commonest and one of the boistrous ones at the feeders. We’d seen winter Anna’s in California in 2000 and a single vagrant that was unfortunate enough to wash up in Quebec one cold winter.
A couple of shots of Costa’s Hummingbird, not very common around the areas we visited but they did pop in to the feeders at Canyon Wren from time to time. Below a shot of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird, pretty common but fairly solitary and we saw them most often in woodland clearings.