Friday, 20 May 2016

Arizona ... Day 1

All posts about Arizona are now in order if you scroll down the pages!

Arizona, USA. 3rd May to 16th May.

Travel to USA was fairly smooth and with my ESTA completed I expected to sail through customs, not quite. I identified my bags and they were sent on to the next flight (you always go through customs at your first point of entry). Then I had to fill in a card of details because it was the first time my ESTA had been used. OK It actually took only 20 minutes and I was ready for my connecting flight.

Chipping Sparrow

Arrived about 9pm local time Tucson, picked up car and had a good sleep. Set off before dawn heading South and had breakfast on the way (you’ll never starve in America). First stop Florida Wash (dry river bed). Large Owl hunting beside I19, then Turkey Vultures leaving roosts. First birds on stopping: Hepatic Tanager, Painted Whitestart (Redstart), Verdin, Mexican Jay, Chipping Sparrow and White-winged Dove.

That buzz of identifying your first few birds is great. Having visited Texas and California they were not all new, so onto Madera Canyon. Here I spent several hours adjusting to the heat, slowing the pace and simply sitting at a feeding station. By now the birding was becoming tricky, as I started finding the flycatchers and frustrating tree top specialists.

Florida Wash

Hepatic Tanager (male)

Wild Turkey 
(yes wild)

Broad-billed Hummingbird

(female B-b H?)

White-winged Dove

Black-headed Grosbeak

Bridled Titmouse

The afternoon was filled by some unplanned visits. Firstly I spotted a new up market housing development near Continental. Lush lawns parks, country club, sprinklers and some welcome shade. Places like this haven’t made it into the site guides yet but water and plants in an arid country have got to be worth a check. Finally, after driving past it several times, I found the Green Valley Water Treatment Plant it is closed to birders until August.

American Robin

A visit to Walmart before finding my accommodation in Nogales allowed me to buy the essential igloo cool box, multi-pack of water and a bag of ice. (Then all the motels along the way provided free ice to top up my cool box.) Day One over only 11 more to go … will I/you make it? (I took nearly 3000 snaps … be warned)

Painted Whitestart
Painted Redstart

Red-tailed Hawk

Please let me know if I mess up any of the Identifications. I'm sure to get some of them wrong!

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