Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Arizona Trip

We had a very good mini-vacation in Arizona! Although the main purpose was to visit family in Glendale, we did some birding near where we were staying. I also managed to squeeze in two short birding trips to Prescott and to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. (I'll post about those sites later.)

We spent a lot of time sitting on our relatives' patio. The latter looks out over an artificial lagoon, which has part of Thunderbird Conservation Park as a backdrop.

We saw a succession of birds on or from the patio: Verdin, Say's Phoebe, Curve-billed Thrasher, Great-tailed and Common Grackle, Northern Mockingbird, House Finch, White-winged Dove, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron and Mallard. 

Female hummingbirds often visited - and sometimes fought about - the flowers of a red yucca.  

House Sparrows looked rather out-of-place amid the exotic foliage.

Two Mourning Doves were trying to nest on one of the patio fans.

Black-crowned Herons flew over frequently, while one liked fishing from the front of the patio.

A couple of hundred yards from the house there is an artificial lake that regularly attracts a lot of large wading birds, including Green Herons and up to four Black-crowned Night Herons at a time.

This Great Egret turned up only once.

A Great Blue Heron visited the lake every morning to do its daily grooming.

The only ducks around were Mallards, some of which were accompanied by their ducklings.

Next to the lake there is a tiny park filled with flowering plants and trees. Every visit to this produced something of interest. Like everywhere in the Phoenix area, there were Verdins.

On one visit to the park, I didn't even have to get out of the car to have good looks at a Greater Roadrunner.

On another visit it had a family of Gambel's Quails.

Several female hummingbirds were always too skittish for me to get photos, but a male Costa's Hummingbird gave us better looks.


However, it took several visits before I was able to get a photo of him in the sunlight.

Thunderbird Conservation Park


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