Saturday, January 17, 2015 -- Tonto National Forest
Excited to return to Seven Springs Recreation Area in Cave Creek for the second time in under two weeks, I was up early. My January 9th visit with birding friends provided a fantastic showing of Western Bluebirds sunning on every bare branch of a tall sycamore tree as we entered the area -- beautiful little birds that I don’t see in the Phoenix Valley. There was such variety of bird species in the Recreation Area that day, we didn’t explore Rackensack Canyon long enough to find the Fox Sparrows reported there.
Of the four subspecies of Fox Sparrow, I've seen only the Red (Taiga) form in Ontario, CAN--on October 1, 2012, my first sighting of any of the Fox Sparrows and a Life Bird. Now, while a small flock of Slate-colored Fox Sparrows are being seen, I really wanted to get up to Rackensack Canyon before they flew off.
This morning, I had gathered two friends to join me to explore Rackensack. My friend, Hanny V. who lives in my community, and my regular birding friend, Susan, joined me to bird the canyon. Susan ended up driving her high-clearance vehicle for the dirt roads and spring-water crossings.
|Moon setting as we arrived on 1/09/15|
The morning chill gave way to sun on the hillsides bringing the birds to life. We heard Cactus Wrens; we saw a Northern Flicker's red under-wings flash past us; and heard Spotted Towhees scratching leaf litter on the ground. The sunshine made us feel better, too!
|Susan, Boofy (dog) and Hanny|
|Slate-Colored Fox Sparrow|
The few birds that posed during my two recent visits are below:
|Female Cassin's Finch|
|One male and four female Phainopeplas|
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