Sunday, October 20, 2013

The government has reopened!

We are back in business!

Despite the shut down we have had quite a fabulous week exploring, learning about the area and making lots of new discoveries.

Here in our own backyard at Refuge Headquarters we had some special visitors: Blue-footed Boobies have been frequenting the waters around Headquarters for the last week or so--they have not been seen here for over 35 years we understand!

This guy looks like he is molting. 

Some other highlights of the week around the refuge 

Sun coming up:)

Diversity of life off of Planet Ranch Road

Getting to know the duck species - combination of Greater and Lesser Scaups

Loggerhead Shrike- they say they are uncommon around here but we have been seeing quite a few

Early am on the peninsula 

3 amigos

Costa's Hummingbird hiding back there

Anna's Hummingbird - guarding the feeder

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher in the morning light

A group of Avocets looking for a shallow feeding area. The river height is changing all of the time due to dam releases thus the wildlife is ever adapting to the changing environment 

Snowy Egret- get a load of those feet

Red-necked Phalarope migrating through 

And Bob's new doo:

Our friends the Great-tailed Grackles keep an eye on us:

A little Verdin collecting materials to add to the nest:

Another view towards the delta of the Bill Williams and the Colorado 

Western Grebe

Clark's Grebe

Look at the Suaro Cactus amongst the Palo Verde Trees and rock formations

Great Blue Heron in the early light

Avoiding any federal properties, we found the Ahakhav Tribal Preserve which is located south of Parker.  This is part of the Colorado River Indian Tribes (C.R.I.T.) property. C.R.I.T. is made up of 4 regional tribes. It is located along a backwater section of the Colorado River. The preserve is working at bringing back the natural habitat and is actively planting and periodically flooding different areas and the birds love it.  

We found a Greater Roadrunner right next to the parking area hunting

This Vermillion Flycatcher greeted us as we got out if the truck

As well as this little Gnatcatcher

And this beautiful Phainopepla 

We found this Black-throated Gray Warbler in the near by park

Hanging out with this Wilson's Warbler female

Look at this amazing Ferruginous Hawk flying above our heads hunting the nearby Ag fields

This is one of a handful of Red-naped Sapsuckers

This was the first time we have seen a Crissal Thrasher

This American Kestrel was seen hunting the area frequently when we were there

We saw this Pacific-slope Flycatcher hanging around the park

This was a surprise- we had a juvenile male American Redstart hanging around with us- they love to flash their colorful tails

There were lots of Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warblers in the area

This was a treat to see the southwest Willow Flycatcher- we understand there numbers are decreasing due to loss of habitat

A Merlin was hunting the area- which makes sense with all of the Yellow- rumps we were seeing

This Cassin's Vireo was a delight to see

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers are more common in the area- this was the best look I have ever had

A real rare bird sighting- a Greater Pewee visiting from Mexico. It was calling nearby which put us on notice that something new was here!

A Gambel's Quail

I love this Black Phoebe

Abert's Towhee scratching around in the leaf litter 

This Northern Mockingbird had us thinking it was something else due to it very long tail- check out that yellow eye

A Hermit Thrush in repose

Another view of a Crissal Thrasher through the brush

Perfect view of a Verdin

A Sharp-shinned Hawk hunting the woods 

The ever present Great Horned Owl

An amazing view of a Red-naped Sapsucker

The Phainopepla love the mistletoe berries

We had a visit from a great friend, John Sterling of Sterlingbirds. John was our guide for our Panama trip a few years ago- it was amazing!! We met John and some local birding experts from the area and had a fabulous day!

A few photos from our day with John:

This is the famous or infamous Parker Dam

There were a few Neo-tropical Cormorants hanging out on the lines near the outflow of the dam. Apparently the fishing is great ther in the early morning

Another Loggerhead Shrike

This is a fuzzy photo of a Peregrine Falcon with a Western Meadowlark in its claws- the Meadowlark got free and flew away!!

Gorgeous Bald Eagle

And this little butterfly

We would like to mention the good work going on at Cornell University, specifically regarding their bird focused reporting platform for the use of the general public- eBird. You can participate by entering bird sighting data as a citizen-scientist or access the many useful tools available to learn more about bird migration & populations around the world. If you are interested log onto


Ever grateful,

Turtle and Hawk

The full moon over the lake:)

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