Monday 20 June 2011

Hotel Golf Course, Phoenix, PHX

Beside our hotel in Phoenix is a small golf course that has produced Gopher Snakes, Black-tailed Jackrabits and Great Horned Owl in the past. I asked for permission at reception and went out to brave the hazards and high handicappers.

None of the creatures featured above were seen, but there were a couple of species that boosted my Phoenix trip list to 60+. There are plenty of large trees here though many of them are alien gums. A Canada Goose watched over its brood in the shade of a big eucalyptus and a Blue Dasher took the obelisk position on a stalk of grass by the lake.

As I came around the raised bank a movement caught my eye as an Osprey launched itself from a stout branch. It is amazing how much stuff can pass through your mind in an instant. Having recognised it as an Osprey, it flashed into my head that it might be about to swoop down onto the water and pick out a fish. I dropped everything except the camera and threw myself to the ground hoping to get a low angle on that classic Osprey picture. I recall wondering whether Ospreys ate carp (which was the fish that I had seen in the lake) or if they discriminated between species. Did it have a chick nearby to feed? Other strange stuff occurred to me during the split second that the bird took to complete its downward trajectory before beginning to gain height for its climb.

Two golfers watched, bemused, from the tee across the lake as I picked myself up, cursing a proturding sprinkler head. Ospreys are obviously too common a sight to excite interest here, but birders making a dash across the course and sprawling into the damp patch from a recent watering make for good watching.
A Say's Phoebe was the penultimate bird with the PHX trip list rounded out at 67 by a Black-necked Stilt in the storm drain.

Birds seen; 12

Double-crested Cormorant 1, Green Heron 1, Canada Goose 6, Mallard 3, Osprey 1, Mourning Dove 16, White-winged Dove 18, Common Ground Dove 2, Black-chinned Hummingbird 6, Say's Phoebe 1, Northern Mockingbird 2, Great-tailed Grackle 20.

Golf course, Phoenix, PHX

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