In my previous post I related a productive trip to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a state park about an hour’s drive east of Phoenix. I enjoyed getting out again is spite of the heat so much that I made another trip to Boyce this week, even though I’ve got a lot of images still to work on from the previous visit.
Another reason for going back so soon was to chase after another reported rarity; unfortunately it was a One Day Wonder and never seen again after the initial discovery. That happens a lot with rarities so I wasn’t surprised. But because the rarity had been seen by the artificial Ayers Lake at Boyce I ended up spending more time there waiting around than I usually do. And I filled my time waiting by watching and photographing the very busy Black Phoebe adults that have noisy chicks in a hidden nest near the lake. The lead image shows an adult with a female Mexican Amberwig dragonfly clasped in the beak and ready for delivery to the waiting young birds.
Like the closely related Eastern Phoebe, the Black Phoebe is mostly found in close proximity to water. They are expert flycatchers and make frequent dashes after insects from favorite perches overlooking the water. In this second image we can see this adult has selected a bolt that sticks out from the concrete that forms one side of the lake and gives a good post for flycatching.
In the third image we see the mate on a better looking natural perch – vegetation that arches over the water. Of the two adults this bird’s feathers show a lot more wear and tear – raising hungry young birds takes a lot of work and feathers take a beating in the process.
This final image shows the same adult as in the first two images, but was taken on the previous visit in different light. It may not be the most photogenic perch, but the phoebe definitely liked it.
All images: Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), tripod, ISO 400, f/8 at shutter speeds from 1/400th second to 1/1250th second