Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let it Snow

Call us weird. Or perhaps birding fanatics. Why else would we drive for almost 12 hours to Southern Arizona from Los Angeles, go birding the following day, and then drive back on the third day. Big thanks to my son who did all the driving.

There were two places that we visited in Southern Arizona: one was the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and the other was the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area.

There were a lot of birds just around the office at the San Pedro Riparian. Three species of Towhees were represented:

The Canyon Towhee...

and Abert's Towhee

Can you tell the difference between the two?

The third was the Green-tailed Towhee. This species is usually very skittish. So much so that we never got a good photo of it in our previous visits to Arizona. This time we were lucky to get good enough shots.

The Pyrrhuloxia, although not as brightly colored as its cousin, the Northern Cardinal, was still a beauty to behold.

The highlight, though, was the desert dwelling Gila Woodpecker.

While we were buying some souvenirs at the store, the lady asked us if we've been to the Whitewater Draw. We replied in the negative. There are thousands of Sandhill Cranes there she said as an incentive for us. We asked for directions and soon we were on our way.

About an hour later we arrived at the site. Indeed there were lots of Sandhill Cranes, maybe not in the thousands but still quite a number. Unfortunately, they were far off - way beyond our camera range. The person in charge of the park assured us that the cranes would come nearer around noon. While waiting for that to happen we explored the surroundings. That's when we saw a Wilson's Snipe quite close to the path.

Killdeers were also unafraid of human beings and allowed us to come near.

I saw an Eastern Meadowlark near a bush but it was the opposite of the Killdeers, being very skittish. That was until we chanced upon it while it was it the middle of the road. Hiding behind a tree, my wife and I were able to get some shots. Of course, Cynthia had the better one.

Noonish. We went to the area where the cranes were and as predicted by the Park Manager, the tall, long-legged birds were now closer than before. 

Earlier in the day
Moving closer around noontime
Close enough
The morning after as we prepared for the long drive home, we were greeted by a flurry of snowflakes. It snows in Arizona? we couldn't believe that it was really happening! Anyway, we were already leaving, so "let it snow!"

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