Friday, June 24, 2005

Hualapai birding trip

This past Tuesday we were fortunate to go birding with two of the most knowledgable woman in Las Vegas to the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona.

We weren't even out of the city when we were given our first surprise by our guides when we were shown burrowing owls along the highway going to Boulder City. Josh and I couldn't believe it. One was sitting on a light post while the other was sitting right on the side of the road.

On the highway to Kingman we saw numerous redtailed hawks and ravens along with more than a few nests on the poles. A stop along the way right before we went into Haulapaii mountains gave us views of cassin's kingbird, mama quails and many babies, canyon towhee, crissel thrasher, lucy's warbler, and also blackthroated sparrows.

On arrival in the picnic area of Haulapai we saw a few acorn woodpeckers. We also saw an amazing sight. One of the trees there is the woodpecker's granary tree and is filled from top to bottom with holes with acorns in them. At the vistor's center we saw a group of turkey vultures soaring in the sky overhead. Looking more closely at the group we realized that one turned out to be a zone tailed hawk. It's important to remember to always give closer inspection when seeing what you think are turkey vultures because the zone tailed hawks fly along with them sometimes. The reasoning behind this being that rodents and other small mammals will look up and see the turkey vultures and not worry because they are carrian eaters and scavenge their food. They won't be as on guard. This gives the zone tails the chance to swoop down and catch them. While in the mountains we also saw Grace's warbler, a flock of bush tits, white breasted nuthatches, western bluebirds, western wood peewee, black headed grosbeak, house wren, say's phoebe, lesser goldfinch, chipping sparrows, spotted towhees, and western scrub jay.

A stop in Laughlin on the way home produced a single cliff swallow.

Josh and I were so grateful for the opportunity to bird with these two amazing women. They are always so giving of their time and knowledge. What an amazing day we had.

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