Arizona January-March 2013
After so much fun and the final push past 400 in 2012, it felt good to relax a bit to start out 2013.  Ambitions for 2013 are more modest. Hoping for 350 year birds with the bigger focus on trying to reach 500  covering our 2 year RV adventure for 2012-13.  With 403 for 2012 it means (only) 97 new birds needed for this year!

Early in January I picked up the usual suspects in Val Vista Village, Mesa, AZ where we spent the winter. Perhaps the best early bird of 2013 was a Great-horned owl. While outside partying with our neighbors one night it landed on a palm tree just outside our rig.

On the 5th of January I ventured down to Veteran’s Oasis in Gilbert for my first real bird outing of the year. They have regular walks scheduled there and often bring in some special birds to observe up close.
Black-necked Stilt
Anna's Hummingbird
Ring-necked Duck
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black Vulture "In-the-hand"
Peregrine Falcon "In-the-hand"
Kinda cheated to get these 2 shots at Veteran's Oasis but it was wonderful to be able to get such up-close looks.  Black Vultures wouldn't qualify on Deborah's "Pretty Bird" list but the Peregrine most certainly does.
On 1-27 I went out with new bird buddy Brian “Wolfsoul” Jones to bird the Santa Cruz Flats south of Phoenix. There we got great looks at Vermillion Flycatchers and large flocks of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. We also spotted Horned Larks moving close to the road. Our only regret was not studying the roving flocks more closely for Longspurs.  I found out later they had been observed traveling with the Horned Larks.
The most rewarding bird of the day was a Ferruginous Hawk soaring over head. This marked the first new 2 year bird of 2013. (FO2Y) Yippee, only 96 more to go!
The most rewarding bird of the day could have been  a Ferruginous Hawk seen soaring over head. This marked the first new 2 year bird of 2013. (FO2Y) Yippee, only 96 more to go to get to 500!
On a great day trip to Sedona in early March we caught this “action” shot of a Red-tailed Hawk.
On another short road trip with the bus to some friends in Apache Junction, we also picked up a second FO2Y bird in a Gilded Flicker.
Western Meadowlark
Vermillion Flycatcher
Horned Lark
Ferruginous Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk