|Mud - a rarity in the Phoenix area!|
Caleb, with an excellent ear, would point toward some shrubs and say, "Over there." And, we would follow. That's how we tracked down a rare Bell's Sparrow, recently separated from the Sage Sparrow into two species: Bell's being the darker Pacific; and Sagebrush being the paler more interior species. Both are found in flat expanses of sagebrush or saltbush plants but both are skulkers and are hard to locate. Within our two and half hours combing this flat desert land, we had the good fortune of getting good views of both species.
|Bell's Sparrow - Photo by Gordon Karre|
In addition to the Bell's Sparrow that I had seen only once before, the LeConte's Thrasher was high on my "want-to-see" list. My only other view of this bird two years ago was fleeting.
Caleb, who knew its song well, led us to two different sightings of the LeConte's and both times I was able to take multiple photos. Both times I stopped photographing before the bird flew off - my preferred challenge. But of all the photos I took of this bird, the above is the best of about 20 sucky pictures I kept.
It was time, then, to start driving the roads to check the ag fields for action. Apparently it was too wet for most. Great Egrets and a few Snowy Egrets were the usual sightings there.
|L-R: Babs, Caleb, Gordon, Susan|
Low-hanging overcast skies were with us until late afternoon -- a killer for good photos from me. But that didn’t stop me from trying.
We birded from 7:40 a.m. until 2:20 p..m. Considering the wet and damp conditions, we had no rainfall to deal with and saw lots of birds.