I spent January 17th and 19th birding around Phoenix with Geoff Butcher from Houston, Texas. We had many good highlights during the two birding days that are worth mentioning.
On the 17th, we visited the Arrowhead Lakes Area, Sun City Grand, Encanto Park, and South Mountain Park, and the 19th we also visited South Mountain Park, the Thrasher Spot, and the Arlington/Paloverde Area.
Our first stop was in the Arrowhead Lakes area to look for the Eurasian Wigeon along Arrowhead Loop Road and Quail Avenue in the stream by the school. We arrived there very early and the Wigeon wasn't there at 7:30 A.M. A few American Wigeon flew in, and after ten minutes of waiting, the Eurasian had still not come in and we were thinking he was going to come in very soon. We decided to make a quick stop at Arrowhead Lake at Thunderbird Viewing Blinds Park (where the Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen) as well as Thunderbird Conservation Park and check those locations. Arrowhead Lake was deprived of the usual large numbers of Common Mergansers (who probably hadn't flown in yet either), but did have a flock of Canada Geese. Among the Canada Geese was a CACKLING GOOSE. The Cackling Goose was interesting and had a striking white "neckband". This feature supports Aleutian Cackling Goose strongly, but does occur infrequently in other Cackling Goose subspecies. The bird was photographed and pictures have been sent to AZFO. After spending a quick time at these two parks, we went back down Arrowhead Loop Road and as we were pulling up to the spot we could tell there were more Wigeon that had flown in. This time, the EURASIAN WIGEON was feeding practically on the sidewalk. We spent some time enjoying the bird.
Cackling Goose with Canada Geese
Our next stop was at Encanto Park to search for ROSY-FACED LOVEBIRDS. It didn't take long to find them, and they ended up being very cooperative in a quick visit.
The "coolest" Rock Pigeon of all time
The symbolistic Cactus Wren photo
Le Conte's Thrasher
The army of Yellow-heads!
American White Pelican
The Snowy and Great-what a size contrast!
A mature Elephant Tree. Most of them are 5 feet tall or less. These trees grow fruit that attract wintering Gray Vireos to desert hillsides and washes. They are to thank for wintering Gray Vireos in Arizona deserts!
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)