Monday, October 6, 2014

Splinters and Bits of Wood: Bottom of the Barrel Birding

I am in a sorry state. I did not make it out for birding this past weekend. Poor weather, busy schedules, and very unimpressive migration counts have not helped the Phoenix birding scene, nor have prodigious provacateurs such as this wary Peregrine Falcon. Apart from our annual immature Short-billed Dowitcher, things have been very mellow in Phoenix the last few weeks. Wiser and more committed birders have been finding good stuff up in the mountains, but some of us languish in the valley even so, waiting, even hoping, to get picked off by a pair of passing talons. 

Some of the best finds this week were not bird-related at all. I have a hobbyist's perverted weakness for old desk fans and ambitious metal signs, and here are a few recent goodies of the second type. Beware, you fabulous gate dancers and ambivalent wearers of headphones.

So, with little to report from the weekend and littler still looming in the distant future, and end-of-quarter evaluations must be written and such, it was back to the ol' work patch to grow the list. Within those dramatically lowered expectations there was some success. Inca Dove, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, and Curve-billed Thrasher were all new additions for the site, as well as a fly-over Northern Pintail. Hey, bird the same place enough and something objectively cool or rare will turn up right? Well, not necessarily, but hey I can drink beer out of a brown paper bag here too, so Herbegrer Park serves its purposes.

Like the White-crowned Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds are moving into the valley in very large numbers. Although many of the males are still lacking luster in their epaulets, I dig the nifty black/brown tiger striping on their mantles right now. Yes, this is the feature bird for this post. I will not apologize, but I will do better as well.

Here's to you other weekend warriors, may we all hold down our forts with great gusto, and may we be visited by good birds in the mean time.