Saturday, July 30, 2016

July TFG Birding

If you are scope-less, shore-less, and/or south of the 49th parallel in July, your birding can be a dull affair. Many of the birds themselves are dealing with empty nest syndrome and can cope differently. Shorebirds deal with this by going on midlife crisis global tours from north to south. Flycatchers do this by making all sorts of incoherent and target-less vocalizations. Some birds, and some birders, cope better with the late-July doldrums than others.
Burrowing Owls spend a good amount of time subterranean anyway, and as such are less affected by the environment changing above them.

Acorn Woodpeckers, ever successful and gregarious, usually spend late July dealing with swollen family groups. The main problem is that dead trees do not directly replicate like ACWOs do, so sometimes the birds have to deal with overcrowding. 

Gray Hawks have to deal with much the same existential angst as always, namely, to attend Christmas festivities with Hawk family of Falcon family this year? Tough call.

Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers are especially grumpy come late July. I believe it is because their SE AZ woodlands are filled with one thousand and one shitty looking and sounding Western Wood-Pewees. I can sympathize. WWPEs or whatever the code is don't sound like Pewees and are very variable in plumage, but always drab. To make matters worse, the aforementioned Acorn Woodpeckers start to invade their cavities, or at least move into cavities near their own, and SBFLs are very protective and vocal about their neighborhoods.

If they cannot extricate or annoy the ACWO into leaving, Sulphurs often become irritated with each other, no doubt one blaming the other for leaving the cavity vacant and allowing the interloper  into their abode. It's trying times.

Even after some embarrassing displays of domestic distress, Sulphurs are still a Top 5 North American Flycatcher.

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds cope pretty well, in part because in places like Miller Canyon their food is provided for them and the rude Rufous Hummers are not yet unbearable. Life is always pretty good for Quetzalcoatl incarnate.

The end of July is tough. It's downhill now to the end of summer, to other journeys, work and hardships. It can be hard to get moving again, and sometimes everybody needs a little push.