04 de septiembre de 2022

Looking for Quails (Calipepla gambelii) in Thatcher, AZ

On the afternoon of August 30, 2022, me, Dr. Cline, Nate, and Teancum discussed the bird survey we did a week earlier and decided to switch our goal - instead of looking for how the bird species-richness changed with the flooding of the river, we would look for social patterns in the quail Calipepla gambelii. And I'm really glad cause last week was kind of boring. And I like quails!

First we went to the ponds at the golf course. For a while none of us saw any quails. Then I heard a mysterious sound in a group of big bushes (Atriplex canescens) and Merlin Sound ID said it was Gambel's Quail! It sounded like there were only maybe like 3 or 4, but when I accidentally scared them out there were like 20! They were so fast I barely had enough time to observe them; all I saw was that they were really fast and two were males. They flew a short distance east to where there are lots of creosotes and some mesquites, and for a long time afterward they were making cool sounds. (You can listen to them if you want)
We set up some wildlife cameras to take pictures when they sense motion. I got distracted looking at fish. All of them that I saw were one or two inches long. There were two kinds and I wish I could recognize them. I will go back sometime with a waterproof camera and maybe a net.
There were clouds of gnats near the pond, and one landed on my paper and I looked at it and got curious. Soon afterward I saw a spiderweb with many of them trapped in it. I brought home the spiderweb (which was on a Salsola) and looked at the insects through a microscope later.

Next we went to a pond we hadn't gone to the week before, southwest of Thatcher. It is a very nice and peaceful place. I saw some small fish on the east side of the pond. On the west side of the pond there were some slightly larger fish, the largest of which reminded me of a bluegill - parts of it were slightly yellowish, it had a small black spot on its gill cover, and the end of its tail had a little bit of super beautiful light blue.
A wildlife camera was set up there. We did not see any quail at this pond.

We decided to try looking for quails in the morning instead, hoping for more success in finding them. We went to the golf course ponds again on the morning of September 1 at 6:00. It was not hot at all, which was super nice! I kind of forgot we were looking for quails specifically and reverted to bird-survey mode. I saw two big herons, lots of barn swallows (one of which was splashing in the water repeatedly), a female Quiscalus mexicanus, a bird with a bright red breast and black back and wings, and a hummingbird that looked like Selasphorus platycerius. I heard a hawk. I also heard a male chicken in the distance. Merlin heard lots of birds: Curve-billed Thrasher, House Sparrow, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, White-winged Dove, Willet, Bell's Vireo, House Finch, Snowy Egret, Cactus Wren, Red-winged Blackbird, Mourning Dove, Pine Siskin, Yellow Warbler, Black Phoebe, Gambel's Quail, Verdin, Northern Pintail, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser Goldfinch, Gila Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, and Red Crossbill. Teancum told me some cool stuff about sharks.
I saw no quails.

After being at the golf course ponds for about 45 minutes we went back to the other pond, the one southwest of Thatcher. There was a tired-looking guy with a fishing pole who walked to his truck which was parked there and drove away. I wish I had asked him what kinds of fish live there.
I don't remember seeing any birds at that pond. I collected some Myriophyllum to grow. And a fish hook got stuck in my shoe. And that's pretty much it.

Publicado el 4 de septiembre de 2022 00:31 por hyrumbaker hyrumbaker | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de septiembre de 2022

BIO295 - Bird Survey at Three Locations in Thatcher, AZ on August 25, 2022

I participated in a survey with Dr. Cline, Nate, and Teancum in the which we looked for birds. We planned to survey the same locations when the river is less flooded to look for differences in where the birds were. We surveyed three locations, the locations of which can be viewed in the observations associated with this journal post. We were at each place for about 45 minutes.

The first location was at a group of three ponds at the golf course. We split up and I went around the middle pond. It was quite warm. I observed some birds. I also used the sound recognition in the Merlin Bird ID app, which said it heard Northern Cardinal, Bell's Vireo, Verdin, Barn Swallow, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Curve-billed Thrasher, Gambel's Quail, Abert's Towhee, and European Starling. I saw a raven in the distance, a Quiscalus mexicanus in the distance, many Calipepla gambelii in an area of creosotes and mesquites east of the pond, some doves, including one with white-edged wings, a bunny (which I realize isn't a bird but I'm putting it here anyway because I really like bunnies), a duck (maybe a female mallard), and a dove whose wing was darker on the distal side of a white band.

The second location was at the river by a bridge. I walked west on the south side of the river. It was so hot. Pretty much the only birds I heard were in a cottonwood south of the river. I saw a dove. On the way back I saw two beautiful small yellow birds with gray on the ends of their wings fly really fast through the Tamarixes. Merlin ID heard Blue Grosbeak, Yellow warbler (which is probably the kind I saw), Bell's Vireo, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Abert's Towhee, Downy Woodpecker, and Song Sparrow.

The third location was at Discovery Park, by the EAC greenhouse and ranarium. I went south of the parking lot. It was very hot. The only bird I heard was a chicken in the distance that sounded like it had just laid an egg. I heard a cicada and went to it and it was singing on a branch with a lighter colored cicada higher up on the branch than it. I moved some branches to get a picture but it flew away. :'( I then attempted to pick up the other cicada, but it also flew away. A few minutes later I found high up in a mesquite tree what I assume to be the same cicada that I had heard singing before, because I never heard more than one cicada singing at a time. I really like cicadas, and I'm glad their season isn't over yet, here in Thatcher at least. At the end of the 45 minutes I saw a hummingbird that looked like Selasphorus platycerius. At this location Merlin said it heard Abert's Towhee, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Lesser Goldfinch.

Afterward by the pond there was a really friendly brown duck. I held my hand out to it, and it came and bit it. It didn't really hurt, but it was fun! Then there was a mysterious sound that sounded like something really big, and Dr. Cline said it was a bullfrog. There were a whole bunch of fish in the pond, about 1.5 inch or less, and I want to go back and identify them.

Publicado el 2 de septiembre de 2022 07:02 por hyrumbaker hyrumbaker | 14 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario