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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tucson Arizona: Ground Birds & Woodpecker's

Today is the second day of our Arizona trip and another early early morning. None of us got much sleep last night but we were excited for another day of fantastic birding. We had a ton of stops today but first we went to a few locations at the Military Base. You might think that a Military Base might be a strange place to go birding and maybe I did at first as well but the habitat that we visited was amazing.

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After the Military Base we headed off to the mountains. Thank goodness too because the valley was HOT, The elevation of the mountains was going to feel a bunch better. There were a few places we stopped along the way, mostly along the side of the road. It is amazing what you can find just hanging out at the side of the road. And then after the road we ran to another hummer house as well. I just cannot get over how fabulous the countryside in Arizona is. The skies, the wide open landscapes, it is just all so beautiful!

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Again I saw so many new birds. I just love Arizona for that. The coolest of the ground birds that I saw was Montezuma Quail. An almost impossible to see bird. It is a small quail that is shy, quiet and elusive. We were talking with a group of hikers when Mrs. Owlbait spotted a male and female quail crossing the path. I had my camera on and ready so I was able to snap off a few shots before these tiny quail were lost in the brush. Of course the photos are not fantastic, I was so far away. But we were super excited to see this bird... Mr. Owlbait, who arrived back with us a few minutes later however was super bummed he missed it.

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MONTEZUMA QUAIL

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MONTEZUMA QUAIL

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MONTEZUMA QUAIL

On this trip I found two new doves. The first looked similar to a ground dove. In fact it took me a double take a few seconds to realize that it was in fact a White Winged Dove. He was such a beautiful bird with his bright pink feet and his blue eye ring. The most distinctive feature is the white wing bar. The first new bird today to cross off the Nerdy Birdy List.

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WHITE WINGED DOVE

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WHITE WINGED DOVE

The second new bird I got to see was the super cute, super tiny, super unremarkable Inca Dove. We found this little guy at dusk feeding on the ground looking for bugs. They were in a group of three and although shy I was able to get a few photos. Another new bird to cross off the Nerdy Birdy List.

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INCA DOVE

The other interesting ground birds that we found on the trip was the very numerous Canyon Towhee. Although not on my nerdy birdy list he was a cute new bird to see. We also got to watch a Curved Bill Thrasher who was eating a caterpillar. I guess the hairs had to be beaten off because he sure was thrashing that poor little caterpillar around until every hair was gone.

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CANYON TOWHEE

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CURVED BILL THRASHER

We also got to see a ton of new woodpeckers. We saw several Arizona Woodpecker's, another first. He let me get pretty close which makes for fantastic photos.

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ARIZONA WOODPECKER

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ARIZONA WOODPECKER

Another new woodpecker we found was a couple Gila Woodpecker's. The best shot I got was at one of the hummingbird houses we went too. They put up an orange and he was going to town on it right in the sun. Great photo opportunity even if it was staged. Another new bird to cross off my Nerdy Birdy List.

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GILA WOODPECKER

The last new woodpecker I got to see on the trip were several Ladder Backed Woodpecker. I have probably seen this bird before but it is hard to distinguish quickly from the Downy Woodpecker. Thankfully we got long fantastic looks at these birds. It is officially a new bird to cross off my Nerdy Birdy List.

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LADDER BACKED WOODPECKER

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LADDER BACKED WOODPECKER

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LADDER BACKED WOODPECKER

Of course new birds arent the only birds I got to see. It was funny because I saw more new birds than I did birds I see at home. Generally I only see one or two new birds a day, this trip I was seeing all new birds and only one or two birds I have seen before. Arizona is the most fantastic birding place in the world! I am in heaven.

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ACORN WOODPECKER

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WHITE BREASTED NUTHATCH

3 comments:

Jess said...

The Inca Dove is lovely. Who knew? I mean aside from all you avid birders!

paul peggy zeus said...

Another great photo op day! It looks like you've been sun kissed darling!

Jennifer Arens said...

I wonder if you will name your child after a bird?

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