Three years ago Marie and I went to Arizona for a month over the latter part of March and the first part of April, spending two weeks of that time renting a house on its own 10 acres of Sonoran Desert. The southeastern part of Arizona is a fabulous place to visit for a lot of reasons, but especially if you like arid, sunny, warm conditions towards the end of winter. In combination with the spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, relatively low density of the human population and some terrific national parks and wildlife areas....well it doesn't get much better than that, at least for me. Since the early 1980s, we have been to various parts of Arizona about 8 different times.
One year ago, I started this blog. It has been an interesting and rewarding experience, in part due to all the supportive readers and comments I have received. So I will begin the second year of this blog with some highlights of the Arizona desert, including some southwestern birds which have shown up in southwestern Ontario.
There were feeders set up, which the wildlife visited readily.
|Round-tailed Ground Squirrel|
|Gambel's Quail male|
|Gambel's Quail female and chicks|
|Curve-billed Thrasher exiting the nest area in a Cholla|
|Curve-billed Thrasher on a Saguaro|
As expected, cactus were abundant, and some were even in flower while we were there, such as this Pink-flowered Hedgehog.
And lots of Santa Rita Prickly Pear.
A Green-tailed Towhee showed up at a feeder in Windsor a couple of decades or more ago. Lark Bunting has appeared on several occasions, including a couple of times in the Rondeau checklist area, but not since the mid-1970s until one was seen very briefly along the Marsh Trail in 2014. A Pyrrhuloxia showed up at a feeder in West Elgin a few years ago. And a Vermilion Flycatcher appeared at St. Clair NWA late in the year in the 1990s, but didn't linger long enough for the Christmas Bird Count.
I have been fortunate to see all four of these species in Ontario....but I'm waiting to get one or more on my Rondeau list....will this be the year?
Another southwestern species that did show up at Rondeau and is now included on the park's checklist is this Cassin's Kingbird. Unfortunately I was the only one to see it at the park when I found it back in November of 2013, and since it was already dead, can't count it on my park list. But since some individuals of the southwestern flycatchers group have a tendency to end up going north instead of south in the fall, there is always the possibility of another rare flycatcher to show up.
And with that, I will begin another year of this blog. Thanks again for all of the visits and support!