Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fire Up the...Binoculars

It has been a long time. It has been a too long time while. It has been a grossly too long probably shouldn't even talk about it time. Oddly enough, this website has become much more popular on the FB since I stopped writing and making posts, but I refuse to let that causality have its say. In a few day's Butler's Birds will be blogging from the chilly climes of Minnesota in conjunction with The Iowa Voice for another intensive and hopefully bird-filled expedition. It will not be as birdy as when these two bastions of --insert hyperbolic aggrandizement here--toured the LGRV of Texas, especially since now most of the fat-cat government contracts for such vacations have dried up (thanks Obama), but at least one of us will probably die or get frosty enough to bite off our fingers, so it should make for some good material.

Of course, going into that level of birding cold, in the cold, would be columbid-level foolish, and after so long off the wagon I, like any self-respecting pendulum, needed to get back int he swing of things. Earlier this December I met up with a couple, Harris and Fran, from Pennsylvania, for a half day of Maricopa birding. 
This winter has been a good one for rarities and vagrants in Maricopa, but of course folks coming from outside of Arizona will often have less interest in the vagrants than the Sonoran regulars. So those of you familiar with the area know where we went first.

After the Thrasher spot we cruised through the Arlington area looking for rusty raptors and whatever else was on display. The Lower River Road Ponds were recently hosting some impressive Swans. In early December there were different, almost-as-large white birds rafting about. 

Since we were birding with a photography-first priority, this negated a few spots that would have been good for overall species and sightings but lacking in photo-ops. We had decent luck at Tres Rios, considering the time of year. Sora is not a bird I am expecting to see in MN in a few days' time.

As I admitted earlier and publicly, my diligence and discipline in birding around central AZ has waned, or rather been de-prioritized this fall and winter. However, the excitement for birding MN in the winter, for the new birds and experiences that will come now is palpable--you could palpate the excitement, if you were so inclined and had permission.
Same time next week, with a bit of luck, this roadside Owl will be a Great Gray.