When I want to see any birds I look for areas near or around a body of water, also known as riparian habitats. Animals need water so you’ll have a better chance to find them there.
Prior to 1900, 10 percent of Arizona’s lands were considered riparian. Now less than 1 percent remains intact, according to the sign I read at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area. This loss of habitat threatens the existence of not only birds, but other animals such as rabbits, raccoons, bats, mule deer, and turkeys, to name a few. We need to be concerned about this issue and protect the riparian habitats we currently have.
Most people travel to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area to see the sandhill cranes as they migrate and remain here October to March each year. No doubt the birds are worth seeing. (Check out yesterday’s post about the cranes.)
However, my visit to the draw this month allowed me to see other birds too. Plenty of birds are in the bushes or scratching around on the ground:
Others are in the mud-flats or shallow water, such as mallards, northern shovelers and other ducks I am sure not to have identified. I am still looking for a wood duck though; no luck yet.
When I finish photographing and leave an area, I always wonder which lens I should keep on my camera. I put my camera on the passenger seat in case I see something to photograph during my drive. Today, I kept my long lens on the camera and fortunately down the road away from the draw, I saw a western meadowlark. I would have been so disappointed if I did not have that lens on the camera to capture a photograph … such is luck and it allows me to identify the bird!