I was walking Mesa yesterday when I noticed an intensely blue bird fly by. It was followed by another and another and another. They were all flitting around so fast it was hard for me to get a good look at them. Now I know that scrub jays are common up there. They even occasionally stop by my backyard bird feeder. But they are larger and more of a subdued blue. These little guys were very blue. In all I would say that 20-30 of them flew past me as I walked along. Finally a couple of the little guys landed on the ground and stayed for a few seconds so that I could get a descent look at them. They were about the size of a finch with bright blue backs. Their breast/chest area was also a bright blue but a little more muted. They had a little white on their rumps.
When I got back home I quickly pulled out the bird books and easily identified them as mountain bluebirds. You would think that it was a bad identification because I was not exactly in the mountains when I saw them. Right there in the description, however, it said that in Winter they may come out of the mountains and hang out in the grasslands. There ya go! So it was nice to identify yet another species of bird that hangs out in my neighborhood. I don't think I ever noticed them before. That's pretty amazing since I have been walking up there almost every day for 11 years. You never can tell when you'll have some random wildlife encounter.