Birds I: Some Old Friends and Variations

Catherpes mexicanusHaliaeetus leucocephalusEgretta thula, Himantopus mexicanusI joined Wings Birding Tours for their tour of Arizona and Utah, Fall Migration in the Canyonlands. Buteo jamaicensisPiranga ludovicianaThe tour superbly combined birdwatching with some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Southwest. I recommend it.Xanthocephalus xanthocephalusOn our first day on the road, we visited Boyce Thompson Arboretum, east of that sun-baked madness known as Phoenix, and then rose up to the southern end of the Colorado Plateau.

Sky full of Turkey Vultures

Sky full of Turkey Vultures

Then, in a climb up the Grand Staircase, we saw the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, Cedar Breaks, and Bryce Canyon, before returning to Arizona and the Navajo Nation, where we walked into Antelope Canyon and skirted the edge of Canyon de Chelly. Piranga rubraDon’t forget Monument Valley and the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert! Corvus coraxWe explored the pine-filled White Mountains near the New Mexico border. Quisalus maexicanusOn our last day, we descended from the mountains to the desert, feeling the temperature rise 50 degrees, passing through the lesser known but no less spectacular Salt River Canyon, and ending in the Water Ranch, a riparian wonderland in Gilbert, AZ, made of reclaimed water and a magnet oasis in greater Phoenix’s suburban sprawl. Pipilo fuscus
Wilsonia pusilla
Interior West subspecies of Stellar's Jay

Interior West subspecies of Stellar’s Jay

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

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7 Responses to “Birds I: Some Old Friends and Variations”


  1. 1 susan shennon September 22, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2 Elizabeth September 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Did you leave the birds’ ID out as a quiz for birders?

  3. 4 Elizabeth September 22, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Ok. My guesses. 1. juvenile rock wren 2. bald eagle 3. juvenile snowy egret and black-necked stilt 4. juvenile red-tailed hawk 5. female less goldfinch 6. first winter female yellow-headed blackbird 7. summer tanager 8. common raven 9. great-tailed grackle 10. juvenile cowbird though it’s awfully gray 11. Wilson’s warbler 12. Stellar jay (THAT was easy!) 13. white pelican

  4. 5 mthew September 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    A great run down! But take another look at 5’s bill. 10 also is incorrect; this maybe be a real challenge since it looks as grey as the desert parking lot here and was taken from some detail-obscuring distance.

  5. 6 Elizabeth September 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    5. not a clue. 10. so many potential choices – so many reasons to disqualify them. Not: bluebird in spite of the hint of rust on the sides and hint of blue on the back – wrong shape bill; Mexican or western scrub jay – wrong shape bill. The bill is somewhat tanager-ish but the color isn’t there and the tail is very long. Okay – I give up.


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