And here we are, the Mountain Bluebird was my special photo target bird during this vacation. This is a male Mountain Bluebird, and I photographed him on the southern end of Crescent Lake. Crescent Lake had Mountain Bluebirds everywhere now that I think of it, it wasn't just this one single bird. When I came to the White Mountains this year, I didn't really even have a bird that I was setting out to photograph, I just had it in my mindset that I would play this trip by ear as far as goals were concerned. On the first day of the trip while my friends and I were looking at our state and life Pine Grosbeaks, we had this female Mountain Bluebird land at a curious distance behind us. I think she was the spark for wanting to photograph this species more.
Mountain Bluebirds are very skittish when one is approaching them on foot. By looking at the shot above, that was about as close as I was able to get most of the time to the average Mountain Bluebird. I think if a birder spies a food source that the birds may be coming into, the best chance to get up close views of them would probably be to just sit down and let them get used to human presence. Otherwise, it'll be a field chase for several hours.
But there are plenty of places where Mountain Bluebirds are more used to people than other places. I wish I would've stayed at the south end of Crescent Lake longer, because they were prevalent there, and they were also very showy at close distances. I was on a crazy mission at the time, and I wasn't able to stay.
There was one day that I was birding around the three Greer Lakes. I spied a fledgling Mountain Bluebird perched on the ground, and it's mother was consistently coming into feed it.
This juvenile Mountain Bluebird soon flew up into a ponderosa and joined his siblings, where they all took turns being fed by Mrs. Mountain.
So far, this post has been under average, and it'll land in average. It was a minor goal of my trip to photograph this species more, and I did so. There was a particular Mountain Bluebird male that I was consistently photographing a lot during the trip. I found him at the boat launch and parking area at Greer's Bunch Reservoir. He dominated and haunted that lake and parking/boat launch area. In fact, he was the only male Mountain Bluebird I saw out by that lake. And there was a big reason why he was the only male Mountain Bluebird out there I'm sure..
He may look normal from a distance, but it turns out this Mountain Bluebird is a bit abnormal. He's really a mutant, not a big mutant, but a semi-mutant. A handsome monster. It took me awhile to catch onto what he was really about, but when I noticed, I realized I had a Montaneious BlueShrike on my hands.
This bird, in reality, has a deformed bill. But it's pretty cool-looking also. When I started to get close photos of this bird, I said I'll have to find a normal Mountain Bluebird who acts like this now. The Montaneious BlueShrike was very cooperative, and was fun to watch, observe, and photograph. If you wanna see the Mountaneious BlueShrike (mutant Mountain Bluebird), then go to Tunnel Reservoir in Greer and hang out at the parking area and boat launch. He's probably still hanging out there. I wonder if Osprey leftovers have become part of this BlueShrike's diet? Here are a series of photos of this "deformed" and amazingly cool Mountain Bluebird.
I hope you enjoyed this shorter post that highlights a very neat bird in the White Mountains and who resides in the western half of North America in high elevation grasslands and meadows. There are two more posts coming from my trip up to the White Mountains. And they will be long adventures to close things out!