I have been monitoring the Arizona Bird Alert lists and have heard about a Glaucous-winged Gull that has been 10 miles down the road. So this morning I ventured out, with baby strapped to me, to find the bird. This bird is a very rare visitor to Arizona with only 6 confirmed sightings ever. It was quite a frustrating experience – the baby harness gives me incredible back-ache, the gull was as far from the car as it could possibly be and my son seemed intent to kick me from his chest harness, pretty much ensuring that enough bodily damage was done that he won’t ever have a sibling! Of course a squirming, kicking baby makes it very hard to hold a lens steady, so my shots were only for ID purposes.
While I was there I noticed that the Glaucous-winged Gull was hanging around with some Ring-billed Gulls and I realized that I did not have an image of this gull either! So inbetween kicks to the ‘meat and two veg’ I managed to get 2 lifers!
Glaucous-winged Gull. EXIF: 1/800, f5.6, ISO 320, +0.33EV, 420mm, Pattern Metered, Manual Mode.
Next I headed out to Palo Verde, planning to revisit the Sandhill Cranes and scope out an area to create a bird set up (like this one by Alan Murphy). While I was there I spotted a Northern Harrier (#3 lifer), a Vesper Sparrow (#4) and a Brewer’s Sparrow (#5).
Vesper Sparrow. EXIF: 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 320, 0EV, 420mm, Pattern Metered, Manual Mode.
So, another 3 lifers and a spot for the feed/water set up located! I headed on over to Arlington to find that the Sandhill Cranes had moved on, as had the White-faced Ibis and Cattle Egrets I thought I might find – but plenty of Kestrels, White-crowned Sparrows and Loggerhead Shrikes to be found.
American Kestrel. EXIF: 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 320, 0EV, 420mm, Pattern Metered, Manual Mode.
A flash to my left had a bird backlit by harsh sun – at first I thought it was a Cardinal, but as I repositioned myself I realized that the bird was a Phainopepla (lifer #6!). No EXIF for this one as the image is pretty awful!
Photographed Life List = 111.