First Bird Walk of the Season at Lost Dutchman State Park, Pinal County, AZ

October 14, 2015
"High Season" in the desert - when snowbirds (people) begin to arrive - usually brings at least comfortable weather. Temperatures are supposed to cool down a bit.

But not today!  With six participants, three of whom were smart home-schooled children with binoculars, we took our time to provide good looks at desert species new to them.  

Since I rarely take photos when I lead a walk, the ones included here have been taken at Lost Dutchman earlier this year.

Male Gambel's Quail in Spring
Numerous quail at different locations delighted the young birders who became adept at identifying them when they crossed in front of us or ran beneath trees and shrubs in the desert.

Even the small Black-tailed Gnatcatchers were evident to them when they flitted around in nearby shrubs.  Today's male gnatcatchers were in their basic gray plumage - minus the black cap feathers of mating season.

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
The Black-throated Sparrow was not seen as easily as the Gnatcatcher because it hugs the low thick parts of shrubs and grasses. It perched up once for a good look.

Black-throated Sparrow
From my perspective, it was good to see the Phainopepla had returned for the winter after going to cooler places during the hot months. As leader, there's not a better bird to capture the attention of "newbies". Too distant to spot its red eye, the Phainopepla did give us several good looks from its usual high perch.

Male Phainopepla (Silky Flycatcher)
Birds quieted down after 10:00 just as we began to wilt in the 85-90° direct sunlight.  In some shade near our cars, we used the LDSP Bird Check List so the participants could remember what they saw on this date.

Jamie, Sarah, Sam, Bryn, Shea, Myka

A fun day in the desert for all of us!

* * *


  1. Babs was wonderful! Thanks for the experience and education!

    Jamie, Sarah and the girls

    1. Your family's interest in the birds made my day!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Babs,

    Here is a link to some pictures from the bird walk at Gilbert Water Ranch on 10-24-2015: