Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birders and Bloggers

We set out at 6 A.M. Saturday morning headed for The Gathering Ground in Patagonia Arizona to meet up with folks that we had met through Twitter. All were birders and some were bloggers and most were Twitterers. While I was only able to participate on Saturday most had come for either two or three days of bird watching.
It was a beautiful sunny day in the 70's with a light breeze at times which for me are perfect conditions to be outside. We headed to Patagonia Lake hoping to see the Elegant Trogon and the Hepatic Tanager but we unhappily did not see either bird although we heard what could have been the Trogon.

It was clear from the start that I was out gunned in the camera department as there were some very impressive equipment along for the trip and I can't wait to see the results from the other photographers.
Plenty of American Coot along the waters edge working hard at finding a meal.
This little guy is a Bewick's Wren which doesn't stay in one place very long so I'm hoping someone else got a better shot than I did.

I'm used to doing almost all of my field work by myself or with one other person so my normal way of getting the shot which is a slow few steps at a time really wasn't going to work in a group this size. Every time I would make a move I had to think about whether or not I was getting in someone elses shot or worse scaring off the bird they were viewing. All in all I did enjoy the experience and learned quite a bit from the others who were very knowledgeable and the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet.
I want this lens!

We saw quite a few Vermilion Flycatchers and there were allot of oohs and ahs throughout the day

Jeff was a great source of information and a great help with identification and now I want a scope too!

This Blue Winged Teal flew over me and provided these great shots of his colors.
It's great to see the butterflies back including this Pipevine Swallowtail.
Sonoita Creek was flowing strongly and reminded me of a New England stream. It's always a treat to see significant water flow here in Southern Arizona. The winter rains have been regular and the desert is very green. I'm betting that the spring wild flowers are going to be the best in years.
A restful moment along the way. The hike along the lake was an easy one. The number and varieties of birds was a little disappointing but it was such a great day with nice people that no one was too upset. Bill from New Mexico had accumulated 10 life birds on the trip and was very happy.
We were fortunate to see this Orange Crowned Warbler which was a life lister for me.

I'm not sure about this one. Help me out.

Frogs in the desert are always great to see.
I have no idea on this one either.

Red Tailed Hawk that flew over us at the golf course just as we arrived. Our second stop was the irrigation ponds at a local golf course near Nogales.

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher. We spotted two of these and everyone was trying to get a decent picture so I'll be quite interested to see how well the others did as they don't sit sit still very long. This was also a life lister for me.
Thanks to Dawn, Jeff, Bill, Linda, Earl, Donna, Cynthia, and Nancy for a great day.
Great Blue Heron.
Vermilion Flycatcher.
Our last stop of the day was at a local was home near the Sonoita Preserve that the resident had set up for viewing by birders. We saw a few different hummingbirds including a Violet Crowned, Anna's and Broad Billed. The shot of the day was by Bill who got a great shot of the Violet Crowned that I can't wait to see.

White Breasted Nuthatch.

We decided to head home around 6 P.M. even though it meant skipping supper with the group but I was really tired and the 90 minute drive would have meant not getting back until at least 10 P.M.
The sunset views were really pretty and we thought the day was over but it was not over yet.
We had one more surprise in store for us!
Nancy spotted a herd of 12 Pronghorn Antelope!

I have spent many days at Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge looking for Pronghorns to no avail so Iwas extremely happy to get my first look.


  1. wonderful photos. Looks like a fantastic day birding.


  2. What a great day. The pictures are gorgeous.

  3. Great post Ray.. We had a wonderful time.. It was a pleasure meeting you and Nan..Hope we keep in touch and next time we are thru AZ..will bird together again.

  4. Wonderful post of a fun day. Lots of great photos, too. I especially like the VFC in flight & the OC Warbler.

    Your first mystery bird looks like a Song Sparrow to me. The second one is more puzzling - at first I thought Bewick's Wren, but the bill is not curved.

    Congratulations on the Pronghorns. I guess missing our dinner gathering was well worth it :)

    p.s., don't you mean "White-breasted Nuthatch"?

  5. Wow! Wonderful post and series of pictures! I found your blog via Dawn's blog :-) You saw some great birds and it sounded like a fun day!

  6. I believe your second mystery bird is a Marsh Wren. Scroll down to near the bottom of this blog for pictures that look very much like yours: