10-13 March 2011. I had the wonderful opportunity of birding with a local expert and a high-profile international birder. These are all firsts:

  • Black-crested tufted Titmouse (Mexican)
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Wild Turkey (they perch on treetops and sound like wild dogs)
  • Carolina Wren (boy do they sing)
  • Western Scrub Jay (they fly in the same manner as British Columbia’s Stellar’s Jay)

Also saw these:

  • American Coot
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Tree Swallow

Could not sight the elusive Canyon Wren but heard it (or a similar sounding bird).

Some notes on birding in dessert terrain. Often the birds only become active when sunlight touches the treetops. This does not apply to Wild Turkeys who dominate the treetops at dawn.

Managed to identify the Ladder-backed Woodpecker because although it was similar in size to the Downy Woodpecker, it just did not seem (or feel) right. The black stripe behind the eye curved like a C downwards to the neck instead of stretch straight to the back of the head (for the Downy). Got a good look at the head but not at the tell tale back. There was one other possible woodpecker but its habitat was pine trees. So on the basis on habitat, the woodpecker sighted was the Ladder-backed.

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