Thursday, April 3, 2014

Birds and Critters at Whitewater Draw

Birdie and I revisited the wildlife refuge called Whitewater Draw.
 Camping is allowed there for 3 days out of 7. Camping is free and we stayed 3 days.
There are several trails,
 Imagine the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that come here in the winter. We saw several on our first visit, but they have migrated northward now.
 There are benches and overlooks with spotting scopes. So what did we see?
 By one of the little ponds we came upon a family of Collared Peccaries (Javalinas)
 They were playing in the muddy water.

 We've been spotted; there they go.

 That was my best ever Javalina encounter.
I got to study the many Vermillion Flycatchers too. This is the adult male in his brilliant red.
 An immature male,
The adult female,
 And an immature female.
Western Kingbird
 Two sleeping Avocets.
 Greater Yellowlegs
 Mexican Mallards
 Northern Harrier
 He flew right past my campsite while I was sitting outside.

 Stages of sunset

 Avocet at sunset
 Like a painting...

Gambel's Quail

Many Sparrows...I don't know my sparrows.
 Six Ring-billed Gulls...unusual in this location.
 Cinnamon Teal
 Swallows...probably barn swallows.

 Nine Black-crowned Night Herons flying over.
 Black-crowned Night Heron

 They all perched in a big tree.
Northern Shovelers
 Sparrows getting a drink.
 Great Blue Herons
White-faced Ibis

Long-billed Dowitchers 
 Probably Green-winged Teals
 Black-necked Stilt and a Dowitcher
 American Kestrel
 Can anyone ID this Sparrow?
 A pair of nesting Great-horned Owls under the shelter.
 On the nest
Out hunting at night
Swainson's Hawk....first we saw one,
 Then one evening we noticed several on the ground. In this picture there are deer in the background, a Swainson's Hawk in the brown in front, one Sandhill Crane that came in, two Canada Geese.
 Eventually we counted about 40 Swainson's Hawks that had set down to rest on their migration.
 Swainson's Hawks
 Hawks and deer. 
 They were a distance away.
 Many white-tailed deer grazing out there too.
 We went out in the morning to try to catch the hawks' liftoff.
 But it was very windy and the hawks were spread out, so it wasn't dramatic.
 One here on the irrigation pipe,

 a few there,
 Two on the bush,
 And, uh-oh, two coyotes... the hawks all disappeared.
 And so we had Sandpipers
 Don't know what kind,
 A Common Ground Dove,
 One lonely Sandhill Crane that must have missed his flight.
 Ring-billed Gull
 Lots more Sandpipers

And there were others I never got a picture of. You can see why they call this an important bird area.

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