|Bonus Gilded Flicker|
I headed for the northern district of Saguaro National Park, not too far away, and having the advantage I'd never visited the site before. Soon I was smiling up at a ranger in a kiosk, and driving onto an 8 mile auto loop.
|Close up from topmost photo|
One of the first things I noticed was a flicker, pecking at Saguaro cacti flowers. I stared at one bird through my binoculars and it occured to me - that's not a Northern Flicker... it's a Guilded Flicker - WHOOO HOOOOO - LIFER BIRD!
I had barely considered the possiblity of seeing a Guilded Flicker on this trip to Arizona so the surprise was real.
There were plenty of other birds as well. I watched a male Gambel's quail calling stubbornly & insistently from a shrub.
For a while I even gave chase to a small group of Pyhroloxia - a sort of cross between a Northern Cardinal and a parrot. I couldn't manage a clear shot of any of them as they stuck to hiding in the mesquite shrubs.
|Tiny Verdin - a desert tit (Hey! Stop giggling.)|
|No Bell's Vireo photo, but I did find a Verdin's nest|
I was near the end of the auto loop, when as I raised my binoculars to view yet another knot hole, I muttered audibly to myself "Why can't I, just for once, look up at an effing hole and see a..."
And there it was!
|Look who's home!|
|Close up of cranky looking Elf Owl|
Three lifer birds, and here I thought I was going to be sitting & being bored in a tiny repair shop customer waiting room. No wonder I always say I'm the luckiest birder on the planet. Oh - and my car's air conditioning? Blowing billows and billows of wonderfully cool air once again, thankyouverymuch Prudence Car Care Honda. I owe you three lifers and a boatload of thanks.