Sunday, November 18, 2012

Early Birds

Here are some of the Arizona backyard desert scrub essentials, photographed din early morning light. These birds are part of the staple base for good desert birding. The boost daily birding lists and provide the foundation for less frequent but more exciting findings. They're the staples that hold everything together, and even though staples are, let's be honest, one of the less-fun office supplies both to shop for an to use, these staple birds are still pretty important. And they still look pretty good too.

Gamble's Quail are about as handsome as they come, and their chicks are some of the cutest too. They nest in oleander hedges and other concentrations of vegetation all around town, and their anxious clucking fills the evening air.

 Northern Mockingbirds need no introduction. They're sharp birds, both in their aesthetic and in their attitude. They're pretty big jerks actually, and seem to prefer making enemies to making friends or allies, but hey they're successful, so much so that they're the official state bird for Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas.

I probably post too many Verdin photos here, if that's possible, but they're basically the only little pretty desert Warbler-esque (they're not actually Warblers of course) birds that are found year round and are pretty cooperative photo subjects. Interestingly enough, the name 'Verdin' translates to 'yellowhammer' in french. The Yellowhammer is also another (antiquated) name for the Northern Flicker here in the U.S., and there's a whole different species of bird called Yellowhammer in Europe. Curious.

Curve-billed Thrashers are expected anywhere around Phoenix except, oddly enough, at the famous 'Thrasher Spot' west of the valley which is the only place to see Le Conte's, Bendire's, and Crissal Thrashers--all the rare ones. Though they reside the less wild/more boring areas of the state, they're big fans of dramatic posing, so it evens out in the end.

Mourning Doves are common everywhere, and I do get sick of seeing them or flushing them from a bush when trying to track some other less usual species. They're pretty in their own right though, and sometimes they can be downright delightful, which I guess goes for just about anything in the natural world. Hope y'all saw some good birds this weekend!