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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hutton's Vireo, Western Bluebird and Western Wood Pewee

[Late Sept/Early Oct. Mt. Lemmon, AZ.]

Hutton's Vireo is a small drab vireo that looks surprisingly similar to Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Exclusively found in the West, this vireo not only looks like the kinglet but also acts like one -- gleaning insects from leaves and branches in a hyperactive manner.

Population trends for this small songbird are positive and molecular studies are indicating that of the dozen-odd subspecies, perhaps some may warrant promotion to full-species status.

Western Wood Pewee is a summer breeder in the Western US. It overwinters in South America; a common flycatcher, it is visually virtually identical to the Eastern Wood Pewee. However, they do not inter-breed in the limited areas where their ranges overlap.

Western Bluebird is an attractive thrush of the West.Displaying more cobalt in the blue of their feathers than the Eastern Bluebird,

Like other bluebirds, these small thrushes are cavity nesters. And, although socially monogamous, the nesting pair is not beyond committing the occasional infidelity -- in one study, up to one fifth of the young in nests were found to be fathered by an outside male.

Other familiar birds seen included -- The always delightful hepatic tanager:

... a lesser goldfinch:

.. and the usual nuthatches and the 4 species of wrens commonly found in this area:

Starting with the splendid Pygmy Nuthatch:

... White-breasted Nuthatch:

And, now the wrens, starting with Bewick's:

.. and House Wren:

Canyon Wren:
.. and Rock Wren:

In closing, presenting a wild turkey for luck (seen at Madera Canyon):

Even a limited excursion into the fabled Sky Islands of Arizona is bound to turn up some surprises; and, even the common species are sure to delight even the most jaded of observers.

1 comment:

Bob Pelkey said...

I enjoyed getting caught up with your latest reports, Hemant. If you travel to Puerto Rico again, I would like to accompany you there. I would especially like to visit the Camuy River Cave Park.