Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Returning to Prescott

It had been awhile since I had been to Prescott last.  But last week, that all changed, and I made two trips to Prescott.  On one of the trips, I was joined by my birder friend Steve Hosmer.  I went there based around trying to relocate a Mississippi Kite that was lingering in Chino Valley both times, without success.  Oh well!  But the Prescott area held awesome birding experiences.  I added 7 new birds to my Yavapai County list also.  This isn't a long post, more of one to show a few picture highlights that I was able to capture.

This is Watson Lake, neat looking huh?  It is a location where I find a lot of goodies whenever I visit the Prescott area.

This Cassin's Vireo likes Watson Lake too, and there are a lot of things in the lakes riparian area to keep the curious vireo busy.

I then spied a male Red-naped Sapsucker, who gave me good binocular views and no pictures for the camera.  This Bewick's Wren however was somewhat cooperative....

The marsh of Watson Lake was full of birds.  Yellowthroats, Soras, you name it.  This young Cooper's Hawk was hoping to show off his hunting skills..

He then spied something in the marsh and failed at his attempt.  He's still young and has a lot to learn.

This dull Yellow-rumped Warbler had a very dull but somewhat funny sense of humor.  He flew out of the marsh and right up to me.  Perhaps he was the young Coop's miss..

Western Meadowlarks also sang in the nearby open fields.  Meadowlarks are always a treat, and they don't come close often.  Perhaps these meadowlarks that line Watson Lake are pretty used to people walking the Peavine Trail?

The majestic Bald Eagle took a soar overhead Watson.....

Also present was a late migrant, the well known Mr. Vermilion..

Immediately neighboring Watson is the equally birdy and attractive Willow Lake.  These two lakes provide some of the best birding in the state of Arizona based on bird abundance.  When I got to Willow, a Caspian Tern flew over the lake.  He had a line of Northern Pintails to stare down at..

When Caspian landed, he landed with two other Caspians, and a handful of other birds, including the obvious American White Pelican.  How many species can you identify from this picture?

Besides water, Willow has great surrounding land habitat.  Any day when a Crissal Thrasher pops up in front of you is a good one!

This young Red-tailed Hawk was one of many Red-tails in the immediate area..

When Steve and I were walking through the "Cottonwood Peninsula" at Willow Lake (true to it's name, it has many large cottonwoods), we spied a neat shape in the trees.

It was the awesome Great Horned Owl!  It was very tolerant of our presence!

While Willow and Watson Lakes are a mile high in elevation, I still retreat to higher elevations when I am finished birding them.

Gorgeous huh?  If anyone disagrees, shame on you!  This is the southern stretch of Walker Road, between mile markers 8 through 11.  This is one of my favorite high elevation areas to bird in Arizona, and this peaceful getaway is very birdy, especially in spring and summer.  This Acorn Woodpecker lives here year round and was having the time of his life gathering acorns for the upcoming winter.

This young Hermit Warbler was along the path.  It was a new Yavapai bird for me.  There was also a male Townsend's Warbler present and several Olive Warblers.

Western Bluebirds were very common, and as always, very awesome!

The most-common bird was the Mountain Chickadee.  These little guys were everywhere, and they proudly proclaimed they were the tiny but mighty individuals in a large city in the trees of Walker.

On Walker Road, all three Nuthatches were present to make things as nutty as possible.  Seeing all three nuthatches at once is something I always enjoy!

As I phished away, these bird flew in and quickly came into the rescue.  Mountain Chickadees, the three nuthatches, as well as the warblers, it was fun to watch.  I won't ignore the signs to Mountain Chickadee City ever again, cause these guys were ferocious.  But luckily for me, I'm a human and not a Pygmy-Owl.  The chickadees would've ransacked an owl.

Winter is approaching us fast, and it is an awesome season for birding.  Don't forget to store up food in your hidden holes and shelves to keep yourself from starving to death when the Phoenicians and other Arizonians get snowed in.  Heck, even the Acorn Woodpecker knows that.  He may look like a doofis, but he's really pretty smart.

This concludes my Prescott post.  I hope to return to Prescott again soon.  Prescott summed up:  "Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the birding is awesome all day".


  1. NIce post Tommy! I miss Prescott, and your birds and shots are gorgeous.
    That Crissal Thrasher is particularly nice. I have no shots of that bird.

    1. Thanks Laurence! Crissals are very hard to photo, I got lucky! The old Tres Rios used to be a good spot to see them perched up a lot of the time, too bad it's closed