Birding in Payson

by Ameya Thatte
Elementary school member of
Desert Rivers Audubon Early Birds Kids Club 

On April 15, 2012, I went for a one-night stay in Payson, Arizona. Although it wasn’t a birding trip, I took my birding equipment there because I had decided to do some birding over there anyway. I wasn’t expecting much because the weather forecast said heavy snow.

When I arrived, a Great Blue Heron I got settled into the cabin, had a snack, and then went out for birds. I had luck literally around the corner of the cabin. Dark-eyed Juncos in a bush. Not a first, but something not found in the east valley. A few minutes later, my mother came out to practice bird photography. I showed her the Juncos to practice. While she was photographing the Juncos, I spotted a first, an American Robin. After that, we went inside for a snack.

The next morning, I scraped the snow off the deck then got to birding. No Juncos, but the Robins were still there. To add to that, a Steller’s Jay. I went inside, and once everyone was woodpecker of some sort as well as Lesser Goldfinches. On the walk, all I saw was a Mockingbird. When I got back, I saw the woodpecker again. This time I had my field guide and I identified it. It was a Red-Naped Sapsucker. After many tries, I got a decent photo of it as well as one of a Steller’s Jay. After that, I had a snack and left.

I had definitely seen more than I expected. I was surprised to see a Robin for two reasons. The first reason was that it was getting a little late for Robins. Also, they aren’t that common in most of Arizona. On the way home, I passed several raptors, mostly Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures. There are so many birds to see just an hour and a half away.

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