With birder friends, Kathleen McCoy and Beth Whittam, I pulled into Coon Bluff Rec Area around 6 a.m.
Barely light when we began birding, we were thrilled to see, up on the ridge west of us, a lone wild horse posing between two mesquite trees. Too distant; too dark for photo op even though it was "picture perfect".
One of our first sightings that I'll return to later was at the river close to the bluff. A hard chip or chirp was not quite like an Abert's Towhee (nor Northern Cardinal) and I had no idea what might be down on the small island below us. But when we heard many chirps all at once, we couldn't believe our eyes. It was a highlight and revelation will be continued at the end of this blog.
Meanwhile, both women were seeing birds they can't always identify. Going out with birders a bit more practiced helps people new to birding get a handle on the birds around them.
Kathleen had never seen a VERMILION FLYCATCHER (below). We would see at least five (5) of them in our three hours of birding Coon Bluff.
The female Vermilions were also out and about but too distant for good photos. They are exquisitely colored to be safe on a nest since its peach-color is located on its lower belly and vent (area between its legs). When perched, this peachy area shines a subtle beauty.
The BLACK PHOEBE was present whenever we were close to the river. Two pair of them appeared to be hawking insects from the smorgasbord of them right above the water. It's voice was our constant companion.
One of my favorite birds is the little BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER. A desert bird, it is less well known than the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Our tiny desert bird rarely sits still but when I'm lucky, I snag a photo.
|COOPER'S HAWK (two above photos)|
|Male BELTED KINGFISHER with one blue/grey band across its chst|
|Female BELTED KINGFISHER has two very rufous belts across its white belly.|
Lots of good memories this morning!
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View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39283672