Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Says Phoebe - Western Birds / Monument Valley

A view of Monument Valley from the dirt loop road. AZ; 6/11/2011

A Says Phoebe, Monument Valley, AZ; 6/11/2011.
As Val and I were driving out of one of the overlooks on the dusty loop road around Monument Valley (Above Top), I noticed a Says Phoebe (Above bottom)) land on the very tip of a short juniper. With it being out in the open and with the gorgeous red rock wall behind it, I thought this would be a great photo op. I slammed on the brakes and was almost out of the car with my camera, before the red dust settled (the mild hazzards of birding). The previous pics I have of this flycatcher species were a few years ago and none of them were particularly good. As it turned out, this nice easy-mannered bird stood still and let me shutter away. When a bird is giving me several chances for photos, I usually test its boldness - I take a couple of snaps, then take a few steps closer and take a couple of more snaps. This procedure is repeated until the bird flies away.  This Phoebe took off as soon I as took the first couple of steps closer and flew to another juniper not too far away. But the setting of its new perch wasn't as good as the first.

Another Says Phoeb, Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, CA; 6/14/2011.
A couple of days later, while in Southern California, I saw another Says Phoebe (Above) giving me another photo op as it was sitting on a hand cable along a trail. I have seen these birds several times in the many trips we have taken out West. It is definitely a western bird as it rarely seen east of the Missippi River, It is found from the Dakotas, and mid Nebraska and Kansas westward to the interiors of Washington, Oregon in the North, and all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the south along the California coast. It also extends its range into Canada and Alaska as well as into Mexico. They enjoy a variety of habitat - from scrubby desert flora to prairies, farmland and the tundra.
Says Phoebe, McDowell Mountains, Phoenix, AZ; 12/24/2008.
The first time I saw a Says Phoebe was when I was visiting the Phoenix area a few years ago. They look a lot like the "myiarchus" species of flycatcher (Ash-throated, Great-crested and Brown-crested) with the grayish head, back and wings and yellowish undersides, but the biggest identifiers of the Says Phoebe is that its belly and undersides are more rufous than yellow, possesses a dark blurry eyeline, and its tail is black.

Sunset of the Day
Sunset in Canyon De Chelly, AZ; 3/25/2009.

1 comment:

Chesney said...

That is first image is just stunning - the lighting really brings out the gorgeous colors and details. I love that first Say clear and detailed!