Monday, July 28, 2014

Camping at "Happy Jack Lodge" (Part 3)

Well, yes this will be the last post for this weeks camping/birding trip, here are the last few days of birding I did, I hope you enjoyed them.

 As it got later in the trip the monsoons started rolling in, thus the thick cloud cover made it hard to get a decent photo of any birds. This beautiful breeding plumaged Yellow-rumped Warbler did not let the poor lighting take away any of his awesomeness!
                                                               Yellow-rumped Warbler
A short trip to the Blue Ridge Reservior resulted in some distant views of a female Common Merganser with her six fledglings. This is the third year in a row I have seen this female with fledgelings.
                                                             Common Merganser
We also had a few Canyon Wrens singing but like most of my encounters the birds eluded me and I was unable to get any photos. The day after Blue Ridge we went to our friends cabin on the other side of highway 87. They had many feeders up and had a good amount of birds in their yard, but the real alpha of the property was a male Rufous Hummingbird who dominated the feeders and some how avoided any good photos.
                                                                Rufous Hummingbird
There was also a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird, a few Acorn Woodpeckers and a couple of Lesser Goldfinches.
     Broad-tailed Hummingbird
                                                            Acorn Woodpecker

                                                         Lesser Goldfinch (male right, female left)
Before I knew it we were at the last day of our weeks camping. I knew I was going to have to bird hard and try to get my year list to 250, which was the amount of species I had by the end of last year. As I woke up I saw that it was cloudy, so I stayed in my bed for another hour before getting up. Once I was offically awake I headed out the door and started birding back in the forest when I found these three species of thrush.
                                                                  Western Bluebird

                                                                  American Robin

                                                Townsend's Solitaire (adult feeding young)

The Western Bluebird was by far the most common of the three thrushes and the Townsend's Solitaire was the least common. but believe it or not last year I had better photos of the solitaire and robin then I did of the bluebird! The Townsend's Solitaire was my 249th bird for this year, after that bird I was determined to get just one more year bird. Then I walked a trail I had not hiked yet this year, it leads down to a large pond and I have not been to many times at all. Once I hiked down to the pond I could hear the calls of a mixed flock, so I quickly ran towards the action. This Brown Creeper was one of the birds that joined the party.
                                                                    Brown Creeper
 I searched a bit harder but all I could come up with was the usual birds, but this female Hepatic Tanager gave me my first good looks of this species for this trip.
                                                               Hepatic Tanager
Well I didn't get the 250 I wanted, but I still had a blast! I hunted down a lot of year birds and there is no doubt that I will beat last years list, all I need is a couple more species and that will do it!


  1. This looks like a great time Caleb, and 250 is right around the corner. Given the time of year, maybe it'll be something BIG.

    I know what you mean about Bluebirds. For them being so common in those areas they're tough to photograph, both to have within good range and to expose well. I have little in that department.

    I'm enjoying catching up on your posts.

    1. Thanks Mr. Laurence!!!
      Those Bluebirds are so skittish! That one that I photographed was the only one that was within good range. Also nice job on the Barn Owl and Cuckoo, I went out for that cuckoo about five times now and have only heard it twice!

  2. Even though you didn't get your 250, you've got many western birds here that I'm drooling over.

    It's pretty remarkable that you ended with 250 last year and you are already so close already. How many do you hope to have by year's end this year?

    1. Well when I started this year my goal was to brake my 2013 year list, but now I am not sure. Maybe 280? 300 would be amazing but I might have to wait until next year for that. Next time you come down here you should take a couple days down to southeast AZ, you will get them all! I would be more than happy to show you around.

  3. Great post and pictures Caleb. You rocked it with the photos, hardcore birding, and the listing. Your a good birder, you'll smash that record and you have five more months to do so.

    Also, nice shot of the Brown Creeper, they are very hard to photograph!

    1. Thanks Mr. Tommy!!! I am hoping to get up to 280 and then next year it will surely be 300!

      I do agree those BRCR's are hard to photograph but that bird just posed!