Encanto Park (Phoenix) and other stuff.

I have made my way out of the amazing place that is southeastern Arizona.  I have survived to tell the tale.  Last night I arrived in Las Cruces, New Mexico in time to see my friends' band on tour from Portland.  Despite staying up fairly late, I still woke up at 5:30 this morning and figured I should try to knock out a blog before I begin the long drive to San Antonio.

On Sunday morning I had to pick up my friend Sunni at the Phoenix airport at 8:00 and had asked Laurence of Butlers, Birds and Things for suggestions for some pre-airport birding.  He was extremely helpful and from his long list I chose Encanto Park, a city park with many palm trees, pathways, and more palm trees.  It almost reminded me of Kapiolani Park in Waikiki.

There were tons of domestic ducks and geese in addition to a lone Canada Goose and lots of Mallards and their ducklings...

There was a single cormorant hanging around that I assume is a Double-crested, though its bill looks kind of small (perhaps the angle of the photo)...  [It's a Neotropic Cormorant actually.]

There was no shortage of Great-tailed Grackles in the park (or anywhere else I've been since, including outside my motel window right now)...

There were tons of White-winged and Eurasian Collared-Doves around...

At this park I found my first of many Gila Woodpeckers, my first Arizona lifer!

Flying around one section of the park was a pair of Rosy-faced Lovebirds, which I had never even heard of until Laurence mentioned them...

Adorable.  After an hour at the park I had to get going to the airport, but it was a great place to walk the dogs around and see some local birds.  From the airport we headed south towards Tucson with a stop off near Picacho Peak to look for Crested Caracaras.  Success!!!

The best part was that shortly after finding the bird, he flew right by us and into the distance... We got great looks!

The dusty back roads we were driving were also good for kingbirds...

This photo now has me believing that kingbirds are actually close relatives of the dolphin.  On a telephone pole nearby was my first Harris's Hawk!

And that will be all for this post.  Stay tuned for many many more lifers and otherwise rad desert birds!


  1. oh, load! Crested Caracara (personal favorite), HARRIS'S HAWK?!? (SO so gorgeous), and a Gila Woodpecker?!?

    NICE WORK! (for the Arizona Tourism Board--now I wanna go back).

    That male grackle is a KNOCKout!

    Great shots, and looking forward to the rest.

  2. Nice Jen, glad it worked out. It's just park birding but hey, a couple lifers is a couple lifers. Looking forward to hearing about your SE AZ adventures.

  3. Great captures Jen! Glad you had success finding the Crested Caracara. It is such a cool bird!

  4. Awesome stuff! I'm so jealous of your caracara! It's one of my most notorious nemesis birds! Such a great photo you got of it in flight. I will be satisfied for now living vicariously through your lens. Oh, and sweeeet Gila WP!

  5. Hey Jen, great to see you picking up some more lifers on your journey. It's been many years since I first saw some of these species and your images brought back some happy memories.

  6. What a great trip, Jen! Congrats on your new lifers. The Gila woodpecker is my favorite, would love to see one. And the lovebirds are cute. Great post and photos. I hope you have a great trip!

  7. YEAH!! What fun birds you have found, love that rosey face, and the Great Crested C...AZ has some great birds I added the Gila to my life list on my last visit, and the Phainopepla WHICH was so cool and the Pygmy Nuthatch, a few that come to mind right off the bat!

  8. Hey, I'll be in Phoenix myself in a few weeks... I didn't consider Encanto, but I think I might find Gilas elsewhere, too. You've definitely whet my appetite!


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