April 12, 2007

Beaver Creek Trail

We went for a windy hike along the Beaver Creek trail outside of Rimrock this morning.

The birds were pretty quiet due to the wind, but we did see a couple lifers for Sonja, including her first Scott's Oriole.

We are also nearly 98% confidant that we spotted a Brown-crested Flycatcher near the White Mesa trailhead, a couple miles in from the parking lot. We spent a good ten minutes watching it and debating about whether it was a Brown-crested or Ash-throated Flycatcher. We finally decided upon Brown-crested after hearing several distinct whit calls. I tell ya, flycatchers always tie my brain in knots! We also watched a pair of Black Phoebes hopping around the rocks at the swimming hole we watered the dogs.

Anyway, the other excitement occured when we interrupted a Sharp-shinned Hawk that was in pursuit of a rather distraught-looking Ruby-crowned Kinglet in a juniper next to the trail. I could have sworn the Sharpie gave me a dirty look as it circled around with a last forlorn glance toward its almost-meal before heading off into the sycamores. I'm telling myself that the kinglet was grateful for our unintentional interruption of its near-death experience.

But the stars of the hike were all the wildflowers in bloom. We've had enough precipitation this past month that many of the cacti are beginning to bloom. They're even predicting a saguaro bloom next month down near Phoenix. I openly admit that I am not very good at, and only mildly interested in, identifying wildflowers. So, in order to avoid embarassment at getting these wrong, I'm making up my own names. If, however, anyone (*ahem* Chris?) does, in fact, know the names of these flowers, post a comment and let me know.

Desert Creamsicle Flower

Arizona Goldeneye Pseudo-Poppy Thingie

Alien Carnivorous Claw Pod
(attacking an Engleman's Prickly Pear)

Vampiric Tube Flower
These turn red due to all the blood they suck out of hummingbirds.


Surprisingly enough, Harvey completely ignored it, even though it was only about 30 feet away.


kippur said...

Keep in mind its been a few years since ive been out that way. Im a little rusty. The first one I need to see more of the plant. Can you identify a
"ruby throughted flying bird thinger" just by looking at the feet?
The second one I dont know either. I try to look it up. The third one is called a prikly pear cactus! I'd say youre looking at a new shoot or perhaps the beginings of a flower. I recognise the next one but dont remember it. The next is a variety of Barrel cactus. Last one is something in the boxelder family...next to a cow.

Hey we saw one of these in our yard the other day...


Is that a lifer?

P. Ollig said...

I actually know the answer for the first one...it's a Desert Globemallow. But I figured since I'd be guessing with all the others, that one would have felt left out if I gave it the actual name. So, pretty much you didn't help at all, since I already know the prickly pear, too. And it's an Engleman's Prickly Pear, to be exact.

As for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, since I didn't actually see it in your yard, it is not a lifer for me. It would have been, however...had I been there. As for whether or not it was a lifer for you, well, that's between you and your life-list.

It IS a way cool bird that I've always wanted to see, though.

kippur said...

Globemallow! Dang, I knew that one. Just been a while I guess.