Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Slow Start to 2014...

After an amazing and fast end to 2013, my luck reversed itself to a boring and slow start to 2014.....

I look at my work schedule for my job at the hospital.  Work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work....

That's right, I said work nine times (it feels like way more!).  My schedule at work for 2014 has started out rough, and I have to work the first 9 days of 2014 before any days off, and yet alone...any real birding days.

On the first two days of the year, I had to work two 12 hours shifts in a row, followed by an 8 hour shift the next day.  I figured I would hide from the parking lot Rock Pigeons, Grackles, and House Sparrows in the parking lot at the hospital these first three days to avoid a lousy bird to start my year off.  I had planned to drive somewhere close and at least get a decent bird to start off 2014.  But when I got fuming mad on January 2nd at my work phone (a very common occurrence), I went outside without thinking to get fresh air.  I then...heard it.  "TEEK".  It was the call of a House Sparrow.  I kicked myself and ruined my goal of starting the year off with a decent bird.

I thought, "hey, might as well get the rest of the dummies out of the way!".  I walked around the surrounding neighborhoods of the hospital and had an abundance of Eurasian Trash Doves, Rock Pigeons, Great-tailed Grackles, European Starlings, etc.  I did get 8 other birds I much would've rather started out with, such as Anna's Hummingbird or Orange-crowned Warbler, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet to make it a little fun.

On January 4th, I decided to go for my first bird of 2014 that is worth the mention on my way to church.  Because Arrowhead Lakes is very close to CCV, I went there for an hour before the service.  Last winter, a Eurasian Wigeon was found along Arrowhead Loop Road with American Wigeons only to be found again this winter.  I decided to go look at it.  And who wouldn't want to look at it, it's a cool duck!  The area these birds like is a stream area running through these fancy golf course-dominated neighborhoods.  As I drove up, I saw the Wigeon from a distance.

I got out of the truck and got easy and "killer" views of the Eurasian Wigeon drake.  Cool bird eh?

It seemed like a few of the female American Wigeons got sick of the norm, and hung out with a Eurasian for a change.

The Eurasian Wigeon is rare but annual in Arizona, especially in the Phoenix area somewhere or another or a few...

After seeing the Eurasian Wigeon, I went over to Thunderbird Viewing Blinds Park to see what was up.  This location was the spot for the awesome Lesser Black-backed Gull that showed up at the end of last year, a lifer for me and many others.  This spot is the wintering nation of the Common Merganser.  I've never seen so many mergansers in my life at a location like this one, and as many as 2000 have been counted on this medium-sized lake.  Here is a panorama view of a third of the flock.

They can really cram them in a small spot too!  How many can you count in this frame?

Here's a "small" raft

I'm looking forward to my first full day of birding in 2014!  The Wigeons and Mergansers are good first highlights.

1 comment:

  1. Hey nice work with that Wigeon! I haven't been able to get any birding in yet this year either. Maybe a trip down south weekend after next eh??