In most of the United States, folks are bemoaning the end of summer, and the darkening of mornings and evenings. In much of Arizona, though, we're celebrating, because we can finally get outside! March and April, October and November are the best months in the Sonoran desert, whether you like to camp, hike, play sports, hang out on the patio with friends, or get up well before dawn to go take pictures of birds.
With shorter days, birds are out and about more during daylight hours. Add in the migration of hundreds of thousands of birds from the North, and any leafy tree is likely to become home to a cacophony of grackles or starlings. The Gilbert Riparian Preserve gets just loaded with egrets, herons, ducks, coots, avocets, stilts, osprey, hawks, kestrels, and even pelicans. The low sun angle provides ample opportunities for dramatic lighting. This Snowy Egret flew around the pond several times, dragging its feet. After circling, it would stand around for a while, then do another fly-by. What was it up to? Maybe it likes the feeling of its toes skimming the water?
Sparrows seem to be everywhere. The bunch in this image was having some sort of altercation with a cactus wren that didn't appreciate the sparrows hanging around. Disclaimer: this is a composite of six photos, all taken from the same spot. But the sparrows would tell you it really looked just like this for several minutes before the cactus wren decided it had better things to do on the ground.
During Autumn the weather is cool, the mornings are spectacular, the evenings are delightful, the birds are active, and it's good to be in the desert.
(If you haven't seen my Birds gallery, or haven't seen it lately, please have a look!)