Saturday, November 26, 2016

Scottsdale Ranch Park 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Bird Count

Red-breasted Sapsucker at Scottsdale Ranch Park, Nov. 24, 2016
Photo by Peggy Thomas

  What a great way to start Thanksgiving day!  I thought the highlight of the Scottsdale Ranch Park 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Bird Count would be the Red-breasted Sapsucker and that the rest of the count would consist of the usual city park birds.  I was wrong.  There were a number of highlights on this count, starting with a Red-naped Sapsucker appearing in one of the mesquite trees near the tennis courts.

Red-naped Sapsucker at Scottsdale Ranch Park, Nov. 24, 2016

Greater Roadrunner at Scottsdale Ranch
Park, Nov. 24, 2016
Another Red-naped Sapsucker was seen later in a different area of the park.   A Greater Roadrunner made an appearance early in the morning, sunning himself in the parking lot.  A Bald Eagle was seen circling high above Lake Serena.  Another highlight of the count was running into a few great birders/photographers - Pete Moulton, and Mary and Jim Griffith, all hoping to get some shots of the Red-breasted Sapsucker, a continuing rarity. 

A gaggle of birders gathered at Scottsdale Ranch Park, Nov. 24, 2016

Says Phoebe at Scottsdale Ranch Park, Nov. 24, 2016

Scottsdale Ranch Park is very wheelchair friendly with sidewalks curving all around, and smooth grassy areas filled with a wide diversity of trees.  There were so many different tree types that I wished we had an arborist with us!  The Desert Garden area is a bit more challenging for someone using a wheelchair as the trail is sculpted to look like a long winding rattlesnake!  Very cool art but a bit bumpy.

Other surprises on the count included two Says Phoebe, a female Vermilion Flycatcher, two American Kestrels, and a creepy but cool tarantula hawk (a bug, not a bird).  The count was organized and led by Diana and Bill Herron.  To see the complete bird count go to eBird.

A far-away Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1 of 9 counted.

 A female Costas Hummingbird enjoying
the bottle-brush bush.

All photos by Peggy Thomas

Thank you Diana and Bill for a wonderful
Thanksgiving Bird Count full of surprises!


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