The Elusive Vermillion Flycatcher

I was determined not to leave Arizona without seeing a Vermilion Flycatcher.  If we hadn't seen this one (photographed beautifully by my husband, Tom), we might still be in Tucson today!

Why was it so important to see a Vermilion Flycatcher?  Because the Vermilion Flycatcher is the logo for the Tucson Audubon Society, and the Tucson Audubon Society was my son's employer at the time.  Obviously, the Vermilion Flycatcher is the bird to see when visiting Tucson!

My son's supervisor was incredibly helpful with our search.  We spent one early morning hour at a city park he told us about, and when we left we were very disappointed.  It was only after I was home in Massachusetts reviewing my photos that I realized we had indeed seen and even photographed a Vermilion Flycatcher that day.  I just didn't recognize the female of the species!

Pete's boss send us to another small park in the city a few days later, and we were immediately successful.  The guy is  some sort of genius!  He knows exactly where every bird species in Tucson can be located, and what time of day you're most likely to find them.  Without his help and the help of other Tucson Audubon employees, I never would have seen thirty-three new species in just five days!

You can thank my husband for the gorgeous photos of the Vermilion Flycatcher, because I was busy texting when Tom sighted him.  If I didn't have Tom along, that nondescript little female would have been the one and only image of this exciting species!

Isn't he stunning?  The good news is that you, too, can get incredible bird shots if you always have a skilled bird photographer at your side!


Flying Formation

If you've never seen groups of Sandhill Cranes, you may not have noticed how they fly in syn with each other.  It's an amazing phenomena.

These two look spectacular when lit up by the sun's rays peeking through the clouds.
For the most part, they kept in perfect formation all across the sky!

You would see groups of three of four or many more, all seeming to 'follow the leader' with every wing-beat.
It was a day I'll never forget, that's for sure.  Who wouldn't wish for a sky filled with Sandhill Cranes, and the sound of their calls echoing throughout the landscape?  It was miraculous.

I'll end the Sandhill Crane images with another photoshop modified photo.  I couldn't resist the sunlit reeds reflected on the water as they floated in from above.


What Else Is At Whitewater Draw?

This gorgeous White-crowned Sparrow was one of dozens of species we saw at Whitewater Draw - in addition to the 10,000 Sandhill Cranes

Tom caught a few good shots of this Savannah Sparrow.

I was extremely proud of myself for sighting a Common Yellowthroat among the weeds.  It wouldn't be a big deal to most birders, but I am absolutely no good at warblers!

There were Northern Shovelers galore.

A couple of Ring-necked ducks.

A few scattered Common Mergansers.

Tons of American Coots were in the marsh.  I like this image because the bird looks like he is smiling.

These are just a few of the dozens of species that can be seen at Whitewater Draw in Southern Arizona.  It is a spectacular birding location with spectacular scenery to boot!