Two new birds for the list!
OK. I know that approximately 0.0006% of my readership will join me in this exultation, but you’ll have to bear with me (or not read it).
It happened yesterday, on the way home from dropping Ethan and Grant off at church. I wasn’t able to go because I had to stay home with Wesley, who had been running a fever that topped out at 102.6*F. (We think it may have been a temporary infection in his ear, even though we have him on antibiotic drops due to him puncturing his eardrum. I kept Audrey with me, too, because I don’t feel right about using the church nursery as a babysitter. I mean, it’s appropriate when I’m in the service, but not when I’m not…)
But, I digress.
On the way home, I went to one of my favorite suburban birding spots*. It’s actually at the edge of a super hoity-toity neighborhood that is built around some manmade lakes, and adjacent to Thunderbird Park. At one point, the manmade lakes abut a natural reservoir, and the two bodies of water are kept apart by a dam, and a bridge goes over the water, near the dam. Well, maybe it’s not actually a “natural” reservoir. I think that without the dam, it would be a natural wash (dry riverbed, seeing water only after rain), but because of the dam, there are a lot of desert trees, and the area is quite lush, and one can always find an assortment of egrets and herons there, along with a great number of migratory birds.
I only had a few minutes yesterday, and my attention was divided by wrangling my binoculars, my glasses, and my daughter, Audrey, who kept wanting to run down the bridge, out into the street, and over the bridge into the water, all the while proclaiming that she had to go potty.
Still. Even with little attention actually devoted to the birds, I was able to clearly sight two previously-unseen species, the Black Phoebe and the Double-crested Cormorant. The phoebe is supposed to be in this area year-round, according to my Sibley guide, though I’d never positively IDed one. An even bigger score were the cormorants, as they were only stopping by on their migratory way. And, even though this is only mid-February, the cormorant I saw best was in full breeding plumage, with the bright orange chin and the greyish crests (not as white as the pic below).
And, several years of birding has paid off. I remember that it used to take FOREVER to properly identify a bird. Now, my eye knows what to look for much more quickly, and I’m much more familiar with birds than I used to be. With the phoebe, I thought, “That’s a flycatcher!” (Phoebes are, indeed, flycatchers.) And, with the cormorant, I thought, “I think that’s a cormorant!” So, a quick flip to the appropriate sections in the Sibley guide (once Audrey was buckled in her carseat) was all it took to ascertain their identifications. 😀
(These are not my pics; a click on the picture will take you to their original source.)
*For any local birders, the area is approximately 5620 W. Melinda Lane. Take 51st Avenue north of the Loop 101 in Glendale, AZ, until the road curves hard to the west. Follow that road, which will become Melinda Lane. Nearing 59th Ave, on the north side of the street, the road will take you over a bridge that crosses the area. Best viewing is to the north. Alternately, head north on 59th, and turn east on Melinda Ln. (Around the corner, on the east side of 59th Ave, north of Melinda Lane/Deer Valley Rd., is an “official” birding spot, but the actual area is frequently choked with overgrown trees and illegal fishermen, leading to spotty viewing.)