Richard Fray reported finding a stubby-tailed wren in Patagonia State Park on Tuesday. The photographs his client took showed, in my opinion, a Winter Wren though Richard was unsure. On Wednesday 26th Louise and I headed for Patagonia. With Richard’s directions we headed about as straight to the spot as one can at this location. Upon finding a brush pile that fit the description and Louise & I begin searching hard. Within a few minutes I see a small brown wren-like object dart bthrough an opening in the tangle. After a few more minutes, I verify that it is one of the stubby-tailed wrens, get Louise on it and begin taking some very poor photographs. With some pishing & squeaking it eventually shows itself completely and visually I believe this is a Winter Wren. I have Louise ready with my iPhone to take video (to record audio) and I’m ready with my digital recorder & directional microphone. After some more pishing & squeaking, the Winter Wren pops up and begins a long series of jimp calls. Both of us get good recordings. The bird is completely out in the open calling, I can’t stand not taking pictures so the last fifteen seconds of my recording includes shutter noises while I both record & photograph this little gem. Eventually it flies off to another brush pile. I am very satisfied with our documentation results of such a rare bird and #410 for the year. Just as we’ve stowed the recording equipment, he begins singing softly. Having Louise’s participation made this an exceptionally wonderful experience! Also of interest at Patagonia State Park were a Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and two immature Snow Geese. Later Louise & I headed over to the Nature Conservancy’s Preserve at Patagonia. There had been a Rufous-backed Robin seen for several days. Though the Robin would not be a new year bird, I have not been able to photograph one this year. After much searching & following various directions I saw the Rufous-backed Robin fly from the prescribed tree and disappear (similar to my only previous observation of one this year). A half hour later I find it back in the prescribed tree, the very top of the tree. I take a couple of butt shot photos before it flies off but instead of disappearing it lands at eye level forty feet away. I take several more shots, all very backlit but I have now photographed a Rufous-backed Robin in 2014.
On Friday 28th I am out with Jesse Rubenstein working on a few species for his life list. Our first stop was at a particular Saguaro that a Western Screech-Owl uses for roosting. On this morning it was not visible. Better success at our second stop, We spotted the Red-breasted Sapsucker near its favored tree, enjoyed some nice looks and took some nice pictures. We then walked the Proctor Road Trail and found three Hammond’s Flycatchers, two Townsend’s Warblers, and a Clay-colored Sparrow. We were unsuccessful in seeing the Whiskered Screech-Owl at Madera Kubo, not Jesse’s day for owls. We then drove to Tubac and walked the De Anza Trail from Ron Morris Park to the Sinaloa Wren spot. We heard but did not see the Sinaloa Wren, three Sora, and one Virginia Rail. Nice looks at a Cassin’s Vireo capped off the day.
On Sunday 30th I took a long walk around a small area of Green Valley. I started & ended at Desert Meadows Park, walked around the Pecan Grove just to the east (hoping to see the Harlan’s Hawk) and to the north along the river to the south end of the Haven Golf Course. I saw three Cassin’s Kingbirds in the river bed, four Harris’s Hawk at the northwest corner of La Posada, and a large number of Audubon’s Warblers all over.
With one addition for the week, my Arizona Year List is at 410.