Ash Canyon, AZ

The Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast is one of the must-visit sites in southeastern Arizona. It is hardly hard-core birding, as you are sitting around in Mary Jo Ballator’s back yard watching the feeders, but the diversity of birds is great. I shared some of the hummingbird species in an earlier post. Here are a few other species seen in the yard.

white-winged doveOne White-winged Dove is gorgeous and wonderful. Dozens and dozens of White-winged Doves are loud and obnoxious.

scott's oriole1Scott’s Orioles were attracted to oranges and grape jelly.


mexican jayMexican Jay

Lark SparrowLark Sparrow, with a Chipping Sparrow in the background

chipping sparrowChipping Sparrow

Gila WoodpeckerGila Woodpecker

acorn woodpeckerAcorn Woodpecker

curve-billed thrasher 2Curve-billed Thrasher

rock squirrelSeveral rodents were enjoying the bounty along with the birds. This is a Rock Squirrel.

arizona gray squirrelArizona Gray Squirrels have huge tails, which they use as parasols in the hot sun.

cotton ratThe cutest critter of the trip was this Cotton Rat.

red-faced warblerThis Red-faced Warbler was seen in nearby Miller Canyon. Of course, before I got my camera out, he was on a low perch singing his little heart out. Once the camera came out, he felt the need to fly to this high back-lit perch.

Cimarron National Grassland, Kansas

In the very southwest corner of Kansas lies the Cimarron National Grassland. This area, along with the nearby town of Elkhart,  is a favorite birding destination for Kansas birders. Several western species reach the eastern edge of their ranges here, and lost eastern migrants are attracted to the patches of trees in a sea of sand-sage prairie and cropland.

cimmaron river
Cottonwoods along the usually dry Cimarron River provide a wooded migration corridor from eastern Colorado through southwestern Kansas.

clay-colored sparrow
Middle Springs is one of several oases on the grassland that provide trees and water to migrants like this Clay-colored Sparrow.

blue grosbeak female
female Blue Grosbeak

blue grosbeak male
male Blue Grosbeak

The fastest land animal in North America, Pronghorn evolved to outrun American Cheetahs, which became extinct somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

pronghorn back
The white backsides of Pronghorn are visible from great distances.

mourning doves
Mourning Doves were by far the most common species seen on this day, with Eurasian Collared-Doves coming in a close second.

barn owl
This Barn Owl was in a little cavern in a bluff overlooking the Cimarron River corridor. Note the little bones and other debris in front of the entrance.

This is the bluff where the Barn Owl had her cavity.

curve-billed thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

northern mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird

indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

As one would expect in the Sunflower State, these were everywhere.

prickly pear
The abundant Prickly Pear cactus makes walking a challenge in many areas.

american avocet
The Elkhart sewage ponds are the only permanent bodies of water for many miles around, so they attract good numbers of migrant shorebirds and waterfowl. These American Avocets were swimming in the middle of one of the pools.

spotted sandpiper
Spotted Sandpipers

semipalmated sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper

burrowing owl
Burrowing Owls are one of many species that rely on prairie dog towns for shelter or food. I found several Black-tailed Prairie Dog towns on this day, each containing an owl or two, but the dogs kept out of camera range.