Photo captured at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear, AZ.
Northern Cardinals are popular in America, honored as the state bird in seven states. These photos were taken with a friend at the base of Tonto National Monument near Globe, AZ. We agreed they were the most uniquely colored Cardinals we had ever seen, different from the Cardinals in the Midwest. This male was photographed on a cloudy day. I’m guessing it has something to do with minerals absorbed into plants.
The green lichen on reddish rock make the usually rather drab Canyon Towhee appear rather striking.
Photos taken at Whitewater Draw in southeastern Arizona.
American Coot photographed at Whitewater Draw in southeastern Arizona.
Tall yet graceful, social yet independent, Sandhill Cranes have long fascinated people.
Sandhills are named for their breeding grounds on the Nebraska prairie, which bleeds into Sandhill Region of the state. Huge flocks migrate to winter in such places as Florida, Texas and Mexico.
Some 10,000 Sandhills migrate to southeastern Arizona for the winter. These birds were photographed at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, near Wilcox, AZ.
The sight of thousands upon thousands of Sandhill taking flight is awesome. Yet that’s not what was most memorable about the cranes. My friend Tom and I parked a good half mile from the wetlands where we hoped the Sandhills were congregated. As we hiked toward the water, we started to hear an unfamiliar sound. Before long the loud, rolling, raucous sound stopped us in our tracks. It was the cranes.
The cranes left the wetlands in small groups, heading to feed before nightfall.
Photograph taken at Tonto National Monument near Globe, AZ.
The above young Double-crested Cormorants are with a parent. Soon the adolescent cormorants will join the small flock seen below, called a “creche.”