Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Recent Birding--Local and Non-Local

     2016 has been a great year for me so far! I started the year in Idaho and Washington where I got three owl-lifers, then I came back to AZ. I thought I was back in the "Grand Canyon State" for quite a while until I found out that I was going to SoCal! California is perhaps the birdiest state in the US, and it never gets old! Although I have seen nearly all of the CA specialties, there are still a couple that I need from the mainland (Mountain Quail and White-headed Woodpecker) as well as a few offshore. On this CA trip there was a Pine Warbler that had been spending the whole winter at the Santa Fe Dam Rec. Sight and I had never seen one so that was what I spent my morning of birding doing. I arrived at the dam fairly early to find a group of nearly 30 birders looking for the same bird! I also met former young birder of the year, Dessi Sieburth and his mom. It only took me about 20 minutes of searching to locate the Pine Warbler slowly feeding in the pine trees (what a fitting place). I ran back to tell Dessi and the group that I had just found the bird and after the group arrived it was a nightmare for getting photos! Here's the best of what I could get.

Pine Warbler--Lifer!!!

I also spotted a Great Horned Owl sitting quietly on its nest.

Great Horned Owl

I the surrounding area a Ross's Goose and his step brother, a Ross's X Snow Goose hybrid, were chilling with there rather domestic friends.

Ross's Goose

Ross's X Snow Goose hybrid 

At my Grandma's house I photographed Allen's Hummingbird for the first time (took me long enough).

Allen's Hummingbird

As you can see I didn't do much birding on this trip but I did what I could and I'm happy with how it went. Now back to Arizona! This winter there has been a pair of Rusty Blackbirds that have been hanging out along a short stretch of river at Coon Bluff. Now I had been to this spot  two times in search of these birds with both times being complete fails! Once I got back from California I made plans to chase these birds with my friend Mr. John Kafel. Before I knew it I was at Coon Bluff, scanning the river for these beautiful blackbirds. Strangely enough one of the first birds I saw on the river was a Rusty Blackbird!

Rusty Blackbirds--Lifer!!! 

This pair of Rusty Blackbirds were my first Maricoper for  2016 (the Maricopers are thinning out)! What might my next Maricoper be? Who knows. Anyways, here are a few photos I've taken in the last couple months, thanks for reading and enjoy!

Marsh Wren

Swamp Sparrow

Red-naped X Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid

Virginia Rail

Eurasian Wigeon


  1. I see that you've been keeping busy! I totally understand the difficulty you had in photographing that Pine Warbler - warblers are super hyper. What an excellent bird. Some info on your mainland targets... I have observed White-headed Woodpeckers within the boundaries of Camp Emerson near Idyllwild, CA. I also encountered a lone Mountain Quail on a trail south of Camp Circle X near Lake Arrowhead, CA. These 2 species were seen at Boy Scout camps in the San Bernardino Mtns. several years ago while I was a scout. I bet that it would be possible for you to explore these interesting areas with permission from the camp staff. Also, I was wondering if your phone was working or not because I called a few times and the machine said that no voicemail had been set up and it disconnected me. Take care!

    1. Hi Josh! My phone has died and my parents haven't really bothered getting it fixed so I don't have a phone for now. But we can keep in touch over email and I'll give you my home phone number and we can talk over that. Thanks for the great info on my two remaining CA specialties, I need all of the help I can get now! I have got to say, Mountain Quail appears to be one of the coolest looking quail but Montezuma is around there too. Talk to you later and have a great week!

  2. Congrats on the recent lifers and good birds seen, Caleb! Incredible Marsh Wren and Virginia Rail shots too! I'm really liking your headliner photo, well done.

    1. Thanks Mr. Tommy, it means a lot! More great birds are coming up soon! ;)