Monday, October 8, 2012

Birding the Empire Gulch

1. big limbs-kab Big Limbs at Empire Gulch Parking Lot 9-16-12

Anyone who has ever been to Empire Gulch to bird is familiar with the tall cottonwood trees and the downed limbs by the parking lot. It seems that even more limbs had come down since I was last here over two years ago. Now as Chris and I drove into the parking lot I was eager to see what the place looked like. Would it be like I remembered, I wondered? As we parked the car a park ranger pulled in behind us. He told that a harem of antelope had just crossed the road up by the Empire Ranch. We had just come from there! How could we have missed them? Chris and I jumped back in the car and drove the short distance back to the ranch.

2. antelope harem-kab Sure enough, there were the antelope making their way across the grassland with the male at the back driving his harem before him!

3. antelope-kab We stayed in my car and shot photos out of the open window.


4. antelope-kab Finally the antelope took off, gracefully leaping over a fence.


5. cordilleran flycatcher-kab So back to the gulch we went, where a creek flows year round and the birds gather to feed in the cool shade of the tall cottonwoods, willows, and Arizona ash trees. So many species of birds can be found here at various times of year. Since it was the middle of the day by now we were wondering what we would see as many birds become inactive during this time. So, we were quite pleased when we found this Cordilleran Flycatcher in a tree.

6. cool pool-kab The creek flows still and quiet through the deep shade forming shallow pools.


7. water-kab Debris is heaped alongside the creek, evidence of times with higher water flow.


8. blue grosbeak-kab Deep in the shade I find a female Blue Grosbeak having a bit of a stretch.


9. blue grosbeak-kab After fluffing herself out she settles back down on her perch again.


10. Chris-kab Though this picture does not show it well, Chris climbs high on a downed tree to get that perfect shot! The day is getting late and I am losing energy. All this fresh air, sunshine and birding excitement has worn me out! We decide to call it a day, and head back to my car.


11. brain fungus-kab On the way we spot this slimy brain fungus growing on a tree trunk.


12. yellow-breasted chat-kab Down near the creek we spot a Yellow-breasted Chat!


13. ruby crowned kinglet-kab Then, in the thick of the willows we find a Ruby-crowned Kinglet!

It feels like this day has been an epic adventure beginning with Birding on the Greaterville road, then Birding the Empire Ranch, and finally birding along the Empire Gulch! We are both hungry and exhausted but full of the joy of birding!

Click on the links below to for more Birding Fun!

These are the birds we saw on Sunday, September 16, 2012 at Empire Gulch (an eBird Hotspot):

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Gray Hawk
  3. Gila woodpecker
  4. Hammond’s Flycatcher
  5. Cordilleran Flycatcher
  6. Black Phoebe
  7. Warbling Vireo
  8. Common Raven
  9. White-breasted Nuthatch
  10. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  11. American Redstart
  12. Yellow-breasted chat
  13. summer Tanager
  14. Western Tanager
  15. Black-headed Grosbeak
  16. Blue Grosbeak
  17. Lesser Goldfinch

(Plus a hummingbird, 2 other empids and 2 possible bunting species!)

Thanks for a fun day of Birding Chris! It was a great break from unpacking boxes!


  1. How lovely to see those Antelope Kathie.

    1. Roy, we were so glad we turned around and went back!

  2. Hehe sweet, a veritable odyssey of birding adventures.
    Nice shots and narrative too, always a pleasure Kathie.

    1. Laurence, you have GOT to come down here!!!!!!!

  3. This was incredible....those old trees glow and ooze beauty around them. What an incredible day of finds.

    1. Oh my gosh, I looked over those pics and I discovered the shot I got of the Ruby Crowned Kinglet. I think dimensia is setting in:)

  4. Hi Kathie

    A great post, you captured some lovely birds and I always find antelope fascinating.


  5. Hi Kathie, what a great outing. Love the antelope and the great birds. The flycatcher and the chat are my favorites. Great report and photos.

  6. Great trip!! Glad you have someone to bird with!

    1. Dawn, it sure is fun and we sure have been busy!

  7. Great day, the antelope roaming and that grosbeak, perfect.

  8. To była cudowny z pewnością dla Was (Ciebie i Chris) dzień. Iść razem, patrzeć na ptaki i rozpoznawać je. Jesteście dobrzy w tym co robicie. Uwielbiam ptaki i dlatego z przyjemnością patrzyłam na nie, tym bardzie, że nie widziałam ich w naturze. Antylopy też były godne tego, żeby na nie patrzeć. To piękne zwierzęta. Pozdrawiam.
    It was certainly wonderful for you (you and Chris) day. Go together, look at the birds and identify them. You're good at what you do. I love birds and happy because I looked at it, the more that I have not seen them in the wild. Antelopes were also worthy of to look at them. It's a beautiful animal. Yours.

  9. Fun finds, what a list! Exciting.


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.