.As most of the birds around Phoenix are desert species, I thought it would be interesting to drive up to Prescott to see some forest birds. So last Friday I set off at dawn to drive up to the Highlands Center, where a birdwalk was scheduled for 7:30 a.m.
On the way, I took a 5-minute break at the entrance to the Agua Fria National Monument, where I spotted a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers.
Prescott is about 5,000 feet above sea level and the Highlands Center is in a beautiful pine forest. Even while standing around on the Center's patio waiting for the walk to start, I saw several birds. A Common Raven and a Lesser Goldfinch flew past before I had time to react but I was luckier with a Dark-eyed Junco. We used to see Juncos all the time in California but that I've only ever seen one in Texas.
The walk lasted two hours and produced a nice variety of birds, including Violet-green Swallow, Black-headed Grosbeak, American Robin, House Finch, Western Wood-pewee, Bridled Titmouse, Western Bluebird, White-breasted Nuthatch and Hairy Woodpecker. I wasn't able to get photos of any of these but I did get a record shot of a Lucy's Warbler.
A large raptor circled very high above. At the time I thought it might be a dark morph Swainson's Hawk but it turned out to be an immature Bald Eagle.
One of the most interesting sightings for me was a horned lizard. One of the children on the walk caught it and let me take a photo.
I would like to have stayed a little longer in the area so as to look for other resident birds, such as Jays and Chickadees, but I had to leave in order to be back in Glendale for lunchtime. With any luck I'll catch up with Jays and Chickadees in late August, when I'll be spending a day at Estes Park in Colorado.
Next BlogOn Monday I'll finish up my Arizona blogs with a report on a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. As you'd expect, this is a fantastic place for looking at desert plants but it's also a great place to see birds and lizards. I saw so much on my visit this time that I'll have to split my report into two posts!