Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AZ Big Year - Week Thirty-Four 8/20-8/26

On Thursday 21st two new year birds were at the Green Valley WWTP at the same time I was.  First a Pectoral Sandpiper was in the deep concrete basin on the southwest corner of the complex. This species is not rare however it is not really that regular in Pima County.  Several minutes later while searching a flock of blackbirds for Dickcissel a female Bobolink enters into view.  I wasn’t expecting this species in August, maybe later in September or October.  But here it was mixed in with the flock of Red-winged & Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds. After several minutes of observing the Bobolink, the entire flock of blackbirds moved into the dense tall grass bordering one of the basins and I was not able to re-find the birds.  I searched again with quite a few other birders on Friday 22nd and none of us found the Bobolink again.
On Saturday 23rd I guided Charles S. around Madera Canyon.  We started on the grasslands below Madera Canyon, over to Florida Canyon, and then worked our way up Madera Canyon.  Highlights included: up to six Scaled Quail calling near Florida Wash, a male Lazuli Bunting feeding juvenile in Florida Canyon, two Plain-capped Starthroats below the Madera Picnic Area, a Blue-throated Hummingbird at Madera Kubo, and a single Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher on the Carrie Nation Trail.  
On Tuesday 26th upon receiving a report of a Forster’s Tern (need for the year) I headed to Columbus Park in northwest Tucson.  There I met Andrew who had already checked the main lakes so I head south to the Silverbell Recharge Basins and Andrew heads to Sweetwater across the Santa Cruz River.  Neither of us find the Forster’s Tern.  On my way back home I also try Kennedy Park and find it tern-less.  

With the Pectoral Sandpiper and the Bobolink, my year list stands at 381.

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