As usual on Mount Ord, I stuck to the Maricopa County sides of the mountain, although I did do some hiking on the Gila County side too. I birded on the Transition Zones of the mountain today, nothing else. I needed to be in the shady pine and oak forests, and the entire 7.5 hours I spent today on Mount Ord were nothing short of awesome! The weather was mostly cloudy, which gave the day an extra cool effect. And the birds were everywhere. Before I get to the birds, this was about my 50th visit to the mountain in the last 5 year. I like a lot!
The Bewick's Wren is a very common bird on Mount Ord. They are noisy and numerous, and are very skulky and hard to photograph too. They have a peaceful song, but they don't look all that peaceful. These guys are very grumpy, and they just have that mean look to them. It must be the supercillum...
House Wrens are less common on Mount Ord than the Bewick's Wren. Before this year, I only found House Wrens breeding near the summit of Mount Ord, but they are now breeding in several areas on the lower Forest Road 1688 well below the summit. Like the Bewick's Wren, the House Wren also has a nice singing voice, but is more of a curious bird at all times rather than a grouchy bird at all times. Here is a younger juvenile House Wren from Road 1688.
Like wrens, the Vireos of Mount Ord are consistently loud and vocal too. I couldn't find a Gray today, but I did have the Hutton's and Plumbeous variety.
While walking on Forest Road 1688, the rolling ball song of the Black-chinned Sparrow was heard. I love hearing this song and seeing this bird. As with most Black-chinned Sparrows, this guy sang his lungs out.
I could hear a few Black-headed Grosbeaks singing, but very few of them showed up visually during the day, with the exception of this female.
Mount Ord is also home to some very bright, colorful, and striking birds. There is one that I have seen plenty of but just haven't had many chances to photograph yet. Today, these birds helped me out a lot!
Turn around Western Tanager, cause your freaking awesome!!
Western Tanagers were very numerous on Mount Ord today, I probably had 15 individuals. Here, this Western Tanager is sharing space with another Western, the Wood-Pewee.
Western Wood-Pewees were cooperative today as well too.
Pygmy Nuthatches are considered to be uncommon to rare in Maricopa County, especially during winter months. This year though, they have bred on the mountain, which is very cool. This Pygmy Nuthatch seems to like Mount Ord's habitat, and that calls for a big wingspan celebration!
Joking aside, I have found one nest hole for the Pygmy Nuthatch near and north of Mount Ord's summit area. Today, I found a flock of at least ten of these small nuthatches on Road 1688 (the largest flock I've had together in the County!), three at the nest hole, and at least another two further north of the nest hole. At least 15 of these birds on Ord today, a very good count for this bird in Maricopa County. When I watched the birds at the nest hole, I realized they are actually quite skittish before bringing their young ones food. When I stepped back at a good distance, the parents came to feed the young birds.
I've found these Nuthatches at this hole on every visit I've had here since April.
The more common and much larger White-breasted Nuthatch didn't go unnoticed either.
As the Western Tanagers brought in excitement, so did the Hepatic Tanagers. The Western Tanagers outnumbered the Hepatics. In recent years at Mount Ord, it has always seemed to be the other way around...
I thought the Western Tanagers were bound to be the bird of the day. But, there was something that would actually top them. Before I get to that bird of the day, here are a few other birds I was able to photograph..
And now it's that time for the bird of the day! When it was getting to be that time when I needed to consider to start to head my way back home, I heard an Olive Warbler calling. I was able to get on the bird, and it was a nice male. I began to snap away!
The Olive Warbler is one cool bird, and one cool non-warbler too! Well, the Olive Warbler isn't related to Wood Warblers, and is placed in it's own family. It's a strange bird, but a very cool one at that. It is very warbler-like though, in most respects. With the day being overcast, I had to shoot with that look of a white background for many of the shots as this bird perched in the open.
Olive Warbler, cool bird huh?
Closing, it was another great day of birding at Mount Ord. Another fun and productive visit down to this place, and hopefully there are many more to go. Here are some scenes of Mount Ord to close with.