Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekly Birding Intake

This Saturday was another trip between the Desert Botanical Gardens and the McCormick Ponds. The DBG had its usual residents on display, and I again saw the Vermillion Flycatchers and Sora at the Ponds. Though I did not actually get to add any new birds to my List, it was a very pleasant morning with 60 degree weather and some nice photographic opportunities, even if they were only the usual suspects.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers were the first birds of the day. It's hard to encapsulate their cuteness in a far away photograph, but I'll have many more chances at the DBG.

This fall plumage Yellow Warbler, still identified by the white eye-ring with the faint black stripe and yellow supercillium (streak above the eye), was the first to greet me at the Desert Wildflower Garden, although for the most part I saw only Lesser Goldfinches today (several dozen too, they were swarming).

I had a great look at a female Red-Shafted Flicker in the Gardens as well, and in addition to getting a good look at her red undersides, I got to see my first ever Woodpecker tongue!

With the speed of a frog and the daintiness of a hummingbird, the Flicker's tongue quickly steals breakfast out of every nook and cranny.

I also got to see some more Lincoln's Sparrows at the McCormick Ponds. This specimen seemed to have unusually large feet.

I met up with Mr. and Mrs. Butler Sr. at the McCormick Ponds. In addition to the Vermillion Flycatchers, Sparrows, and other commonalities, Mrs. Butler saw an American Kestrel while Mr. Butler also spotted some Spotted Sandpipers and the always lovely Say's Phoebe. As we decided to retreat from the rising sun and heat, we had a parting look at a juvenile Cooper's Hawk. I only saw my first Cooper's Hawk maybe 10 days ago, so this is the third one I've seen now in two weeks. Location Location Location!

Some courteous Killdeer stood guard by the parking lot. This is maybe the closest Killdeer have ever let me get, so naturally it was at a very beautiful area...

It was a lovely day of birding, a restorative jaunt in the natural world to refuel me through to next weekend.


  1. Laurence, a lovely day of birding (for me bird photography) is so restorative, it helps balance my life and gives me great joy. I think some of that cuteness of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher shines through, they are cuties!

    Best regards,

  2. Thanks for your support Mia, glad you stopped by.
    To borrow your term, those Gnatcatchers can really be "turd birds", but yes just observing their exuberant antics has an energizing effect on the lucky birder.

  3. Cool photo of the flicker tongue!