January continued to roll along, and it became apparent that I could find my 600th ABA life bird at any time.Meanwhile, I found some local bird identification curiosities. In the barrio next to our gated community, several slightly small, slightly pale collared-doves keep showing up. Sometimes they are much paler, and on one occasion, much smaller. Normally they don’t get close enough to photograph, but here I had a chance to photograph one:
Over at the Desert Botanical Garden, I finally captured my first pooping Gilded Flicker:
And now a Gilded Flicker being neighborly with the aggressive and terrible European Starlings:
Some Sonoran Curve-billed Thrashers (palmeri) were taking advantage of some of exotic ripening cactus fruit:
Thrashers close their eyes when they get deep into the cactus fruit:
You can see how the Thrashers destroy their tails – balancing much like Woodpeckers with their tail a third-leg:
Ever wondered if Thrashers ever accidentally prick themselves on cactus spines? This one-eyed Sonoran Thrasher suggests they do:
I finally returned to the Saguaro Cactus with the Western Screech-Owl cavity. Much better results:
This young neat Red-tailed Hawk perched up with a dead feral Rock Pigeon, of which there exists a huge colony on Papago Bluffs next to the Phoenix Zoo.
When it rains it pours, more Gilded Flickers pooping:
Huge flocks of American Pipits in the agricultural fields northeast of Phoenix:
And here, the weekly flyover of our barrio, courtesy the PHX Police:
Beautiful Ferruginous Hawk somewhere southeast of PHX Metro:
Finally! Anne and I found my Mountain Plover, ABA #600, with Anne at the Evergreen Turf Farm. Not the closest sighting, but what a great bird to finally see!