Saturday, March 28, 2009
Back From The Southwest
O.K., so the first image isn't a bird. It is something we ran into as I was showing my kids a little bit of the desert around Phoenix. I can honestly say that this is the first live Diamondback Rattlesnake that I have ever seen in the wild. It was quite mellow and pretty much just wanted to get away from us. Later in the vacation we ate rattlesnake at a local steakhouse just to prove that animals can be dangerous and delicious.
While this wasn't a strictly birding vacation, I tried to see as much as possible while with the family. The common residents were cooperative enough and we got to see some cool stuff. The Cactus Wren above was hanging out in a parking lot at South Mountain Park.
The Great-tailed Grackles were everywhere and I'm sure are regularly ignored by the local folks but when you are in a different environment even the common birds are cool. That's why I always appreciate taking visitors on birding trips. I get to see local residents in a whole new light. I'll never forget some visitors from Sweden being enthralled with a Downy Woodpecker.
Maybe the best sighting I had was a Loggerhead Shrike sitting in an Ocotillo bush on the drive to Dobbins Overlook. Never would have predicted that species. The one bird I really wanted to show my son was a Roadrunner but alas, it was not to be. He was pretty excited about a Gambel's Quail.
We spent some time at the Phoenix Zoo and I got some nice waterfowl photos that I will post next time.