Sunday, May 1, 2016

It Just Shows to Go Ya

After a long, long week, I had made my resolution. I had charged my batteries, I had gassed up the car and pressed and starched my formal walkin' jeans. I was finally going to get out birding early and earnestly this weekend and...apparently I did something to offend the Anemoi or whoever oversees late April precipitation in central AZ. Saturday was rained out in the Sunflower/Mt. Ord area, and Sunday morning was still ominously overcast with occasional sprinkles.

Oh yes you'd like me to go back home and go to bed very much lazy part of me, wouldn't you? No! I was joined on Sunday morning by an esteemed coworker, Melanie, who had spent time in the field doing Kestrel Research, so double no backing down. Despite the crumby weather, we girded our loins and sallied forth. One doesn't simply gird one's loins and haul out in the morning only to turn around. It's just too long a process:

We made the right call of course, because bird activity was still relatively high for the chilly morning, and we even got occasional burst of sunlight through the fog. Not everyone was so eager to rise, case in point this mortgage-toting VG Swallow. 

The riparian and juniper scrub areas of Sunflower were rife with passerines, Bell's Vireo, LEGOs, empids, and Lucy's and Yellow Warblers out the ears. There were also numerous Summer Tanagers and Orioles, principally Hooded, some of whom were itchy. 

**Only now do I realize that Hooded Oriole, somehow, has never made an appearance on Butler's Birds before. I do not know how this is possible and do heartily apologize, because now all I have to offer are these distant or obscured birds. Just move along.

We picked up Zone-tailed and nesting Cooper's Hawks at Sunflower as before heading farther up to Mt. Ord, where the washed out road, the death of many the ill-prepared sedan before, was no match for our desire to get up into the clouds.
The yucca and oak scrub along the way is excellent for Black-chinned Sparrows earlier in the morning and Gray Vireos, a bird I once called nemesis but now call mutual acquaintance.

Is it just me or did this bird used to be considered 'near threatened' or something? Maybe I just imagined that part as all seems to be well and 'LC' now online. Certainly the Mt. Ord birds are hale and hearty.

Continuing our ascent, I had a moment of deja vu when we drove by, peripherally, an Eastern Kingbird-type flycatcher. This was in almost the exact same spot I thought I saw something like that last year while hurrying back down the mountain, but was unable to pursue as the bird flushed.
Of course, for an Eastern Kingbird to be here, much less two years in a row, would be ridiculous, but nothing else at all resembling such a bird would normally be here either.
We were more successful this time in pursuit and closure. Looking at this bird my thought was Greater Pewee, which was stupid, because this bird is much more likely an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a migrant I see too infrequently to remember as being fair game (cheer Steve).

Since it was still clouded over we did not bother to hike near the summit, but the lower FR nonetheless offered excellent Warblers, with Grace's, Hermit, Black-throated Gray, and Olive all making appearances, as well as an industrious Painted Redstart.

Better and more dedicated birders than I are turning up rarities down in SE AZ or getting face to face with amazing Owls inside impressively isolated county locales. I'm thinking that if I'm going to be inconsistent and deal with the overcast, I might as well just mosey on up to Oregon or something and explore there for a little while.