Monday, March 4, 2013

Birds of Arizona

I'm spending a few weeks here in extreme southeastern Arizona at Ft. Huachuca for some training, and I just had a couple of days off this weekend.  Eager to explore the local flora and fauna, especially the bird life, I set out to see what I could find.
Ft. Huachuca is located to the west of Sierra Vista, AZ, near the foot of the Huachuca Mountains (left side of the above map).  My first stop was the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, about 10 miles east of Sierra Vista.  Here the San Pedro river runs through the desert valley, and the water attracts plenty of wildlife.  The Mexican border is just south of this map view and is oriented east-west in this portion of Arizona.
Here was a portion of what I believe were Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) though most pictures I have seen of them have more yellow on their heads.  Perhaps this is their winter plumage.

Here is a female Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus), sometimes called the Desert Cardinal.  This was a first for me, number 201 on my life list!

This Hawk was not concerned with my presence, and allowed me to walk beneath his Cottonwood tree.  I'm not sure what species he may be.

This is a Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria).  There were many of these enjoying the feeders near the visitor center.

This view is towards the southwest, with the (snow-capped) Huachuca Mountains.  The other side of them is basically Mexico. 

Here is a female Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis).  Perhaps taking pictures of birds at feeders is 'cheating' in a way, but it did allow for some close up shots. : )

Here is an immature White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys).  There were many of this species present.

Our old friend the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Here is a mix of birds we have seen before, except for the House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus).  There is also the mature White-crowned Sparrow.  Note the frozen bird bath, and the sparrow straining for a bit of melted water.  Morning temperatures of 20F would rise well into the 70s by afternoon thanks to the low desert humidity.

A little more difficult to see Green-Tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)

Note that this Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) has been banded.

Here is a male Pyrrhuloxia at the feeder. 

Finally, even the male Gila Woodpecker tries out the seed.

No comments:

Post a Comment