Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

A small and spunky bird found over much of the U.S., the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher has become a bit of a nemesis bird for me to photograph. Maria and I first saw the Blue-Gray at the top of Camelback Mountain. We came upon a very cute little couple going about their morning routine (preening, stretching, foraging, pooping) in the shade of a young palo verde tree. They were either very tame or very preoccupied, and we were able to get within a few feet of the charming birds, particularly the beautiful slate-blue male. Needless to say I did not have the camera with me at the time.
We have since returned to Camelback, camera-in-hand, but have been unable to recapture that great first experience (or see them there at all). I see the Blue-Grays around at the Desert Botanical Gardens a lot, but they fancy the larger, more dense trees there and also seem to prefer staying well behind the "Staff Only" gates. I guess we used up our quota of Gnatcatcher luck that wonderful day on the mountain, so for now I must be patient.
*Update* I got some good shots on 11/12/2011, which are posted below.

White feathers on the underside of the tale are diagnostic of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, even if the rest of the body seems just black (like the Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher).

I absolutely love this chalky blue coloring. Its soft, a bit muted, and totally unique.

Early Gnatcatcher Photos

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