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Greg Lavaty | profile | all galleries >> My Blog >> Birding Utah and Arizona, Eared Grebes and Red-faced Warblers 09-08-2012 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The Colorful Visitors of Spring Migration on the Upper Texas Coast Part 1 03-12-2013 | Starting the Year in the Texas Tropics 01-16-2013 | So you want to become a birder? 01-08-2013 | What camera is for the birds? 12-26-2012 | Winter Birding in California 12-17-2012 | Fall Colors in Texas? Lost Maples State Natural Area 11-15-2012 | Machu Picchu Birding 11-01-2012 | Prehistoric Visitor? No, it’s the Magnificent Frigatebird 09-25-2012 | Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Migrating Marvel 09-15-2012 | Birding Utah and Arizona, Eared Grebes and Red-faced Warblers 09-08-2012 | Fall Migration, Like Spring but in the Opposite Direction… Sort of… 09-05-2012 | A Landscape Photography Adventure out West 08-30-2012 | The Rainbow Bird, Who Doesn’t Love a Painted Bunting? 08-14-2012 | Our Summer Wanderer the Wood Stork 08-11-2012 | Are These Guys Bathing? A Quick Peek into the Life of the Black Skimmer 08-07-2012 | Upper Texas Coast Birding Locations

Birding Utah and Arizona, Eared Grebes and Red-faced Warblers 09-08-2012

After a couple of weeks I am finally wrapping up the sorting and editing of photos from a recent birding trip that started out at the Salt Lake City airport and concluded in Sierra Vista, Arizona. It was designed for a birder/photographer who was interested in photographing many of the birds that don’t typically make it as far east as Houston. In short, the trip was a success, yielding photos of many life birds.

Eared Grebe

Our first day started out early at Antelope Island State Park, which is situated in the Great Salt Lake. This park encompasses 80% of Utah’s wetlands making it a major stopping point for migratory birds. This was obvious to us while driving along the causeway out to the island. On either side of the causeway were flocks of Franklin’s Gulls, Red-necked Phalaropes and assorted shorebirds. At one stop along the causeway I decided to walk over to the edge of the water for a better photo angle of the birds that were feeding nearby. One step off the road immediately reveled impressive masses of brine flies birds were gobbling up. Thankfully the flies didn’t bite or it would have been a very short visit to the park.

Antelope Island

Red-necked Phalarope

Franklin’s Gull

American Avocet with Brine Flies

Putting around the maze of roads on the island yielded tons of photo opps of a wide assortment of interesting birds such as Sage Thrasher, Burrowing Owl, Brewer’s Sparrow, Chukar and many more. We also got our fill of jackrabbits, Pronghorn Antelope, Mule Deer, Coyotes and Bison.


Sage Thrasher

Burrowing Owl


Brewer’s Sparrow

Once we had our fill of wonderful birds at Antelope Island we headed for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge NWR. We didn’t know what exactly to expect at Bear River since Utah has been under drought conditions and water levels were expected to be low. Thankfully the refuge did not disappoint. We started out with massive flocks of swallows, mainly Tree and Bank as well as large numbers of Clarks and Western Grebes. Other birds photographed during our visit were an assortment of sandpipers and a family of Northern Harriers who proved to be very cooperative models.

Solitary Sandpiper

Clark’s Grebe

Northern Harrier

Day two was spent birding in the valleys around Park City, Utah. Almost immediately after getting out of the car we ran into a group of people on a boardwalk around a mountain lake looking at two impressive Moose. Eventually the Moose moved away from the boardwalk and allowed the crowd to dissipate and we resumed our search for birds. It wasn’t long before we had photos of Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Song and Lincoln’s Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and Belted Kingfisher to name a few. We decided to take things slow while hiking through the beautiful mountain scenery since neither of us was used to the altitude yet. This also gave us a better opportunity to appreciate the beautiful scenery in the area.


MacGillivray’s Warbler

Mountain Chickadee

Green-tailed Towhee

The third day was spent driving from Park City to Tucson enjoying the splendid scenery along the way. I think I could have spent a month just taking scenery photos along our rout.

Tucson Sunset

The next two days were spent birding in the Tucson area, and birding was quite rewarding. In the Santa Catalina Mountains we were dazzled by such beauties as Red-faced, Hermit, Grace’s and Townsend’s Warblers, Yellow-eyed Junco, Gila Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Western Scrub-Jay, Plumbeous Vireo and Band-tailed Pigeon among others.

Red-faced Warbler

Hermit Warbler

Pygmy Nuthatch

Cordilleran Flycatcher

Next on the agenda was Madera Canyon for Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Lesser Goldfinch, Varied Bunting, Rufous-winged Sparrow and of course beautiful hummingbirds.

Varied Bunting

Lesser Goldfinch

Acorn Woodpecker

Rufous-winged Sparrow

We rounded out the fifth day of our trip visiting the Patagonia, AZ area. We started out at the famous highway rest stop outside of town for Canyon Wren and Thick-billed Kingbird. Racing the sunset we then high-tailed it over to the Patton’s house for Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Abert’s Towhee, Cassin’s Kingbird, Gambel’s Quail and an assortment of other birds.

Thick-billed Kingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Gambel’s Quail

Our last morning started off at Ft Huachuca with birds like Blue Grosbeak, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrows, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Buff-breasted and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Hutton’s Vireo and Bridled Titmouse. We didn’t make it far up the road into Garden Canyon because of a washout but the visit was quite a productive one none the less.

Blue Grosbeak

Botteri’s Sparrow

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Painted Redstart

After lunch we spent the rest of our day visiting hummingbird feeders at Ash Canyon and Beatty’s Guest Ranch.

Lucifer Hummingbird

Magnificent Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Overall it was great trip if only a short one. I always enjoy spending time in southeastern Arizona. With so many interesting birds I never get bored.

Red-faced Warbler
Red-faced Warbler