Birds and More in Rural Arizona

Have you ever wondered what other birds are in your area, but away from your bird feeder and local city parks? I did. An hour northwest  of where I live there are many quiet, dirt, agricultural area roads passing fields, state land, homes, feedlots, river and canals. My first stop was to say hello to a cow at a feedlot. These cows did get onto their feet when I walked toward them. I hope they were not expecting food or a pat on the head.

Many red-tailed hawks were seen during my couple of hours of driving and bird watching. I also saw an American kestrel!

No one else was on the roads, except an occasional 18 wheeler truck driven by someone who knew the roads! I am not sure what they were hauling, but plenty of hay is for sale and cotton either in square shape or rolls is also ready to go.

Unfortunately I missed photographing an egret and great blue heron. They caught me by surprise as they few up from a grassy area. There are little ponds or tanks every so often, plenty of irrigation canals, and the Santa Cruz River so I kept my eyes open in those areas too. White-crowned sparrows and house finches were numerous in some areas.  I saw one vesper sparrow, one loggerhead shrike and a couple of western meadowlarks.

Irrigation lines were being installed to possibly enlarge a nearby turf farm. Some canals had no water and one had the fastest water flow of all I had seen!  That canal was near this iron contraption which is no longer hooked up. I am not sure of its original use.

Two new birds for my birding life list: Inca dove and crested caracara. The Inca dove does have a “scaled” upper body compared to the mourning doves I typically see each day.

I thought I saw a couple of crested caracara fly overhead. I was told these falcon-like birds can be found in the Santa Cruz Flats so I kept my eyes open. I was thrilled to see them since not many are in Arizona!

It was fun exploring, looking for birds, seeing rural America’s less explored roads. In one direction I could see Picacho Peak where there is a great hike, if you are interested in a hike. In another direction it was an endless road or two which brought back great memories of my solo bicycling trip a couple of years ago. After a few hours I headed home, yet I know I will be back!

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