The Bird Walk being led by Troy Corman and Charles Babbit at Boyce Thompson Arboretum started promptly at 8:30 a.m.
When the large group of birders split up, I decided to go with the leader I didn't know: Charlie Babbit. Having heard of him often and seen his birding posts, it seemed smart to expand my awareness among various excellent bird leaders in Arizona. Another regular leader at BTA, Mark Ochs, assisted. High winds (18 mph) create the worst possible birding conditions, so our initial sightings were slim.
Walking all the perimeter trail plus off-shoots to the Demonstration Garden, Ayer Lake and a few other spurs, we covered at least 1.2 miles in three (3) hours of birding. Once we moved into the interior part of the Arboretum closer to Queen Creek, winds quieted down and birds started popping up. Chinese pistachio trees were loaded with fruit. Hard to stay focused on the tiny birds flitting around in the full-leafed and fruited tree, we were quite surprised to find a small handful of BRIDLED TITMOUSE pigging out. Usually found at higher elevations, these small chickadee-sized birds do sometimes move lower in winter to good riparian habitat with cottonwoods and wlllows such as those in the arboretum.
|BRIDLED TITMOUSE (photo from my file of 2012)|
|RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER in picnic area|
|RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER in eucalyptus area|
|CANYON WREN - singing and perching (above and below)|
|HERMIT THRUSH - most often found on the ground, this one, too, was after some food|
|NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED)|
Our leaders quickly called out several potential warblers but just as quickly noted that it wasn't moving. I looked at Jack who was smiling ear-to-ear. He had just pulled a fast one on us by planting the above bird in the crotch of the tree.
My best sighting of the day was a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW too hidden in leaf matter and tangles to get a photo, so I post one from my files in 2015 also seen at BTA.
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View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40579379