Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Creepy Crawlies and Plain Posers

Things are, as one might expect, still slow in central Arizona right now. Making birds the focal point with precious weekend time can lead to disappointment, unless one is willing to do some heavy driving. But how about incorporating a bit of birding into a pleasant day of hiking and fishing around Wood's Canyon Lake as sweet violas play gently and magically in the background while butterflies land on your various appendages? Some of those things are good ideas, and even possible. 
At 7,000 feet and near a reservoir, Wood's Canyon Lake is normally birdy, though I have yet to turn up rarities there. Even so, the avian populations this time around were low. Bluebirds, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and some Woodpeckers--the annual residents--were the only feathers of which to speak. Nevertheless, there are creatures in the woods that will give one that tingly feeling, especially if they're crawling on one's face. This Desert Tarantula was strutting his stuff after the most recent rain. 

I was hoping for some later migrants or maybe an owl but was disappointed in these aspirations. Despite the promising habitat I've never had an owl species at WCL. I've always wanted to help establish this place as a good birding site since it has nostalgic value (old family camping spot, etc.), but part of the problem is I seldom go there explicitly for birding, or at least for lengthy, belaboredly-plumb-the-depths-of-the-woods-and-turn-something-good-up birding.
Sometimes life just gives you female Western Bluebirds, dull female Western Bluebirds.
By the way they make a terrible lemonade.

I don't find Bluebirds to be an oft-crushable species though, so this opportunity was welcome. The crushes come so few and far between these days. In most things, it's usually winter that is the time of scarcity, but birding around central AZ one kinda wishes it would hurry up and get here...bring some Evening Grosbeaks while it's at it.
What's that they say, "The worst part is the calm before the battle...and then the battle's not so bad." Yeah, pretty sure that's what they say.