For the first time in a long while I got up early to do some birding this morning. I hadn't done much birding at all over the last couple months. I guess I was just getting a little tired of seeing the same winter residents every time I went out. But with spring in full bloom, the new migrants are adding splashes of brilliant color to the vibrant greens of the new leaves.
Probably the most vivid of all our summer birds is the Vermilion Flycatcher. Even though we've got a pair who nest only 100 yards from our front door it still took Sonja half the summer last year to finally see one of these. As brilliant as they sometimes are, sometimes even the most conspicuous of birds can be rather inconspicuous.
Another recent arrival is the Bullock's Oriole. We actually have three oriole species that nest in the park, but I have yet to see the other two this season (Scott's and Hooded Orioles).
I spent the better part of two hours in the picnic area just down the road from our house. There was definitely plenty of activity there to keep me busy the whole time. Once I got home I was still so jazzed that I convinced Sonja to drive to the Page Springs Fish Hatchery to try to find a Zone-tailed Hawk that was spotted there yesterday.
No luck on the zone-tail, but this Common Blackhawk made an appearance.
And then promptly disappeared, again.
Even though Yellow-rumped Warblers stick around for most of the winter, they're still a fun bird to watch.
One of the highlights was seeing our first copulating pinacate beetles of the season. In the next couple of weeks pairs of these large black beetles will be piggy-backing all over the roads and sidewalks.
And the whiptails have finally emerged from their hibernation, too. The tree lizards have been out for a few weeks, but today marks the first time we've spotted the whiptails in any numbers.
So, I've had requests to post more pictures from the Renslow's trip down here, as well as some of the special evening program we had at Montezuma Castle. I'll get to that eventually.