Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Field Season and the El Coronado Ranch

As some of you may know, I have returned to my previous field job in SE Arizona. For the next two months I will be surveying various grasslands in SE Arizona for wintering grassland birds. Between surveys, I'll be gallivanting around the state enjoying the birds and the sun.

We are currently staying at a huge, beautiful ranch at the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains, the El Coronado Ranch. We took today to get acquainted with the area and birded the pine/juniper/oak habitat right around the ranch. It wasn't long before we were into some great birds, including this female Williamson's Sapsucker.

Arizona Woodpeckers were also around, and this one, although a bit far, gave us great looks while in a somewhat unusual perching position.

Around the feeders and brushy areas along the "mansion", Garrett MacDonald alerted us to a White-throated Sparrow. I believe this is a pretty good bird for the location, and I got a somewhat disappointing picture.

Shortly after the sparrow excitement, I found this very pale blue butterfly. I had no idea what it was at first, but after consulting field guides/butterfly gurus, it appears to be a pale, aberrant Reakirt's Blue.

Tomorrow, and for the next week, we will be training for the field season and staying at the ranch. I'll be very busy, but if anything exciting happens, you'll be the first to know!

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