09 April 2013

Heading east

No, I'm not dead yet, I've just been busy traveling around the country as of late.  I'm pretty behind in posting updates on here (as all two of you know) but I'll try to make up some time.  Here is my first installment; 19-20 MARCH.

My goal was to get to Joshua Tree National Park to camp the first night.  I managed to do that without much trouble (or birding).  Here is the sunset on my way into the campground:

The next morning I was able to see exactly what the campsite actually looked like.  Nice deserty stuff along with a VW Golf that hasn't died yet:

I headed to the Cottonwood Oasis to do some early-morning birding.  I wasn't disappointed, there was plenty of activity including this HOODED ORIOLE:

BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS were abundant, as one would expect for there:

Also abundant were VERDIN:

CACTUS WRENS were filling the desert with their quintessential grating song as well:

Then I stumbled onto an empid which I thought was odd for the time of year.  I took a bunch of photos but didn't feel comfortable at the time stamping an identity to it.  Here are some pics:

Given the short primary projection and tear-drop shaped eyering, I thought it was almost certainly a DUSKY FLYCATCHER or GRAY FLYCATCHER.  I actually was leaning towards DUFL for a couple of days but some other birders with way more experience with DUFL/GRFL confirmed it as a GRAY FLYCATCHER.  I was glad to learn more about the ID pitfalls of these guys and also glad to finally add GRFL to my state list.  :-)

From there is was time to drive straight to Encanto Park in Phoenix.  My target was the now-countable ROSY-FACED LOVEBIRDS.  They were truly EASY:

I ended the day by driving down to Madera Canyon, one of my favorite places at dusk: