Greetings to all from the big white tundra we like to call the Midwest. A bit of an icebox at the moment as we are dealing with ~12″ inches of the fluffy stuff. Add to that a layer of ice that accumulated overnight from freezing drizzle and you have yourself a recipe for hilarity. Case in point. Our dogs decided that 4:50am is a perfectly good time to demand I take them out. Wipe the sleep from the eyes, remind the legs they were designed to move me from one place to another, put some shoes on and leash up the dogs – you would think by their expression I take evil enjoyment out of cinching up their necks as opposed to the truth there are “eyes in ‘dem trees” that think 4:50am is a perfect time for an early morning snack. Shut the alarms down and take a groggy step off the porch onto the wet concrete. Except it wasn’t just wet, nope, black ice quickly causing my feet to go eye level and my eyes to go feet level. Just got my back all healed up and now I’m being snickered at by sure footed furballs. Later that morning, a semi ended up jackknifing by the main highway exit I use to get to work shutting down that access and choking up all the alternative routes (which had their share of wrecks as well). Some days were just designed to stay in bed and enjoy thoughts of warmer locations.
Like for instance the desert – specifically the Mohave Desert in Las Vegas. The Rock Wren was not the only bird hanging out at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area back in November 2018. Unlike that bird (link here) and Abert’s Towhee (link here). that came before it, this bird possesses coloring that contrasts sharply with the desert floor. Yep, this one is adorned in a pretty blue and grey palette.
Hit the jump to find out what kind of bird this is!
This particular specimen is a Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay. Although not a new bird to my list, having appeared back in June ’17 (link here), I still think it is a pretty cool find. The Scrub-Jay species was split into three groups a few years back – the California Scrub-Jay, the Mexican Scrub-Jay and, of course, the Woodhouse’s. Species splits always gets birders excited since it brings with it the opportunity to increase their lifer bird count. Unfortunately, I still do not have the other two and thus the split has not resulted in any stat padding.
The pictured Scrub-Jay was found at the Red Rock Canyon Overlook pull off – same place where the Rock Wren was hanging out making for an easy +2 if you still need those checked. It was hanging out at the tops of trees and tall plants surveying the killing zone. Pity the lizard or small insect that unknowingly ventured into this area.
Eeesh, this one looks a bit pissed off – must have mistaken me for Ron (for some reason birds keep attacking him while we’re out on the field – not sure why, but quite entertaining). Oh, better not forget the other key angle or he’ll scold me again. Notice the grey back and the solid blue back of the head. The Woodhouse’s also sports a pretty long tail
Not much else to really provide in terms of interesting facts. They are deemed “mischievous” by Cornell which shouldn’t really be a surprise since they are part of the Jay family which includes one of my top five hated birds, the Blue Jay. On the other hand, Ron probably has this one on his top five favorite birds list solely based on their propensity to eat ticks off of deer. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Time to go salt the driveway – can’t have my own dogs laughing at me.