Saturday, May 31, 2014

AZ Big Year - Week Nineteen

7 May 2014 Wednesday:  Second day with Susan & Warner, today we birded the Catalina Highway
Molino Basin – nesting Bell’s Vireo, 3 tanager species in one tree
Loma Linda Ext. intersection – Western Bluebirds, male Olive Warbler at eyelevel, Pygmy Nuthatch
Summerhaven – Evening Grosbeaks fly over
Marshall Gulch – Red-faced Warblers
Mt Lemmon – windy, Mountain Chickadees, Yellow-eyed Juncos
Rose Canyon Lake entrance – Virginia’s Warbler, nesting Pygmy Nuthatch, heard Grace’s Warbler,
Houghton Road near Price – Harris’s Hawk perched roadside
8 May 2014 Thursday: first of three days with Melanie & Velma, we birded the Catalina Highway again
Molino Basin – another Bell’s Vireo nest
Summerhaven – Band-tailed Pigeon, continuing late Red-naped Sapsucker, Townsend’s Warbler
Marshall Gulch – heard an Olive Warbler, saw a Virginia’s Warbler not so well, saw many Red-faced Warblers very well (and photographed)
Incinerator Ridge – more Red-faced Warblers, nice looks at Virginia’s Warbler, several Olive Warblers, Townsend’s, Hermit, & Grace’s Warblers
Green Valley – dipped on the Harris’s Hawk
9 May 2014 Friday: Day two with Melanie & Velma, birded Florida & Madera Canyons
Florida Canyon - perched second year Gray Hawk, okay looks but poor photo-ops on two Rufous-capped Warblers (nest appears to be abandoned), several Lucy’s Warblers, singing Indigo Buntings & Black-chinned Sparrows
Madera Canyon – Gray Hawks at nest over Madera Picnic Area
Carrie Nation Trail – three Arizona Woodpeckers, photographed an early Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, multiple Black-throated Gray Warblers, Bronzed Cowbird at Madera Kubo
Evening alone at the Mt Wrightson Picnic Area – Mexican Whip-poor-will
Proctor Road – male Buff-collared Nightjar singing on territory.
10 May 2014 Saturday: A scheduled day off of guiding.
IMBD walk in Madera Canyon along the Proctor Trail.
Montosa Canyon – found BCGN nest with at least three nestlings, hope they hang in there until next Friday. I later learned that they fledged after my observation of them in the nest.
11 May 2014 Sunday: Birded lower Sabino Canyon with John Wittenberg.  Perhaps one of the most exciting observations this morning was a female Cooper’s Hawk consuming a Cactus Wren.  The hawk was probably the female of the breeding pair that is nesting nearby. We also saw a pair of very territorial Northern Beardless –Tyrannulets, eight Pacific-slope Flycatchers (all vocalizing), a female Black-tailed Gnatcatcher feeding a fledgling, and a full view of a Yellow-breasted Chat (that doesn’t happen very often).
12 May 2014 Monday: Back to the Huachuca Mountains, this time with Melanie & Velma for our third & final day together. 
Huachuca Canyon – We heard but were not able to see the Sinaloa Wren. We did see (and hear) many other migrant and breeding species at the lower picnic areas.  At and above the 1.7-mile picnic area, Velma found a Northern Pygmy-Owl perched out in the open being harassed by two nearby nesting Brown Creepers. We also had a singing male Elegant Trogon and three Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers (still on the early side).

Miller Canyon – Again we settled on seeing the female since the male could not be found. We also found another Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, perhaps the FOS individual found last week.  While heading back down to the Beatty’s a very obliging Band-tailed Pigeon nervously perched about thirty feet away.  Quite unusual for this species to allow this close of an approach and not be on a feeder.  Towards the feeders, my first of the year White-eared Hummingbird posed for pictures along the path leading to the CAS feeders and then visited the feeders & perched nearby for most of our visit. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

AZ Big Year - Week Eighteen

30 April 2014 Wednesday: Birding Madera & Florida Canyons with Kellylynn & Ron from Minnesota and Fred & Anne from Seattle, all guest of the Chuparosa B&B
Chuparosa B&B – upon my arrival, two male Elegant Trogon decided this was the place to have a discussion.  Makes my job easier.
Florida Canyon – heard Montezuma Quail singing, Zone-tailed Hawk, two calling/singing Northern Beardless Tyrannulets, many “Western” Flycatchers – five identified by call as Pacific-slope, one as Cordilleran, and at least four were silent, heard Black-capped Gnatcatcher, a Swainson’s Thrush, and three Rufous-capped Warblers.
Madera Picnic Area – female Gray Hawk on nest
Madera Kubo – Magnificent, Black-chinned, & Broad-billed Hummingbirds
1 May 2014 Thursday: Out with Mark & Chris Taylor from the U.K. also guests of the Chuparosa B&B.  We birded Florida and Madera Canyons.
Florida Canyon – Golden Eagle, Immature Gray Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, two Rufous-capped Warblers, singing Black-chinned Sparrow
Carrie Nation Trail – a somewhat late Red-naped Sapsucker, four Violet-green Swallow (not common in Madera Canyon)
Madera Kubo (alone) – continuing Inca Dove, Grace’s Warbler, male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Proctor Road (alone & much later) – Elf & Western Screech-Owl, Common Poorwill
2 May 2014 Friday: Out with Mark Frankel, his son Steve, and his two cousins. We met at the Amado Territory and headed to California Gulch.
Amado WTP (alone) – continuing female Greater Scaup, continuing Neotropic Cormorant, one Cattle Egret, 36 Wilson’s Phalarope.
California Gulch – two Gray Hawk in riparian area at sough end, Costa’s Hummingbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, five Five-striped Sparrows (3 singing males, 2 calling females)
Montosa Canyon – a second year male Elegant Trogon called, possibly the bird that wintered in this canyon and has yet to head to the high country; identified a Dusky Flycatcher by sight & sound, and heard a Black-capped Gnatcatcher calling near the culvert.
Amado WTP (alone again) – thirty-eight Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, a continuing female Greater Scaup, 86 Wilson’s & 2 Red-necked Phalaropes, and an early Tropical Kingbird.
3 May 2014 Saturday: A bit of personal birding with Andrew in the Green Valley area. Can’t or won’t talk about our first stop.  Our second stop was the Amado WTP where we found a male & two female Blue-winged Teal, the continuing Greater Scaup, one Neotropic Cororant, a Willet, and 90 Wilson’s Phalarope.  Nearby we stopped under the highway bridge and studied Cliff Swallows (northern & southwestern) and saw a Gray Hawk.  Next we headed to Green Valley WWTP.  Besides finding Mark & Molly, we saw three more Blue-winged Teal, 10 White-faced Ibis, 105 Wilson’s Phalaropes, and a Long-billed Dowitcher. A quick check at the Mulberry trees at the Continental Wash yielded 30 Cedar Waxwings, 12 Western Tanagers, & nine Black-headed Grosbeaks.
4 May 2014 Sunday: Out with Richard May of Hawaii to Florida Canyon & Huachuca Mountains
Florida Canyon – Costa’s Hummingbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, many Western Tanagers
Huachuca Canyon – Olive-sided Flycatcher, Sinaloa Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, calling Cordilleran Flycatcher,
Miller Canyon – female Northern Goshawk on nest, female Northern Pygmy-Owl in cavity, male “Mexican” Spotted Owl near nest, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, seven Red-faced Warblers
5 May 2014 Monday: Out with Jeff Shenot target birding in the Huachucas.
Huachuca Canyon – The Sinaloa Wren was a challenge today.  It took an hour & twenty-two minutes to find the wren.  We had not heard it and were about to give up when I checked yet another bird flitting in the lower branches of a sycamore.  It was silent and foraging like a warbler.  I had seen this behavior before from this individual but for only a few seconds between its more typical foraging in the leaf liter & low shrubs. After about ten minutes of the unusual foraging method, the wren dropped to the low bushes and made it way over to a bush near the bridge.  This also happens to be within a few feet of the nest he built late last fall.  Within this bush, barely visible, he began singing a very song version of his song. 
Next we headed to Miller Canyon to see nesting owls & a goshawk.  We were not able to find the roosting male Spotted Owl so I had to resort to finding the female on (or is that in) the nest.  All that we could see of the female owl was the top corner of her head. A few hundred yards past the Spotted Owl nest is the nest cavity of the Northern Pygmy-Owl.  The female pygmy-owl poked her head up for a brief look out her cavity while we watched.  We looked for but could not find the male pygmy-owl.  He was probably watching us though.  We continued up the trail with a nesting Northern Goshawk as our main goal.  I’ve seen her several times this spring and again she sitting on the nest with her head barely showing above the rim.  Even this view is wondrous. 
Jeff and I continue up Miller Canyon hoping to find a second pair of Spotted Owls that were seen roosting over the trail yesterday. We do not find any more Spotted Owls but on the hike up and the return hike we find a hybrid Flame-colored x Western Tanager, several Buff-breasted Flycatchers, a pair of Greater Pewees, singing Grace’s Warblers, nesting Red-faced Warblers, and a locally uncommon Red-breasted Nuthatch.
Having finished a wonderful day with Jeff, having daylight left, and a rare bird not exactly on the way home, what do I do? I call Max and ask if I can come by to get a look at a Gray Catbird that has been spending some time in his yard. Max agrees and forty–eight minutes later greets me at his back gate, pulls up a couple of chairs, and spots the catbird before I do (it is his backyard).  We watch the Mulberry Tree (the big attraction) and the birds coming & going. 
After an hour or so I excuse myself and head over to Lake Cochise.  Several rare and/or interesting year birds were found yesterday and seen earlier today.   The first of these I see is the Semipalmated Sandpiper & then a Lesser Yellowlegs. While counting individuals in two large flocks of Willets a Marbled Godwit flies in a lands in the middle of them.  I have to start my Willet count over. As I am leaving Lake Cochise, I pull over into the large dirt area near the observation platform overlooking one of the golf course ponds.  I nearly run over a Least Tern.  The tern flushes and I get some seriously backlit photos.  The tern disappears to the west.  I check the ponds & nearby golf course and see the Least Tern as returned. It hunts over the close pond before flying to the east of me allowing for some decent flight shots with the sun at my back and then settles down on the graveled open area for more photographs.  I am able swing wide and drive away without disturbing the bird (at least it didn’t flush again).  I got five new year-birds in two hours – that fact makes the hour & half drive home flyby.
I get home after 8pm exhausted but with a smile, it has been a long 15-hour day.
6 May 2014 Tuesday: First day with Susan & Warner, the itinerary today is much like yesterdays. 
Huachuca Canyon – found the Sinaloa Wren within 5 minutes of arriving, chased migrants around the picnic area including a Buff-breasted Flycatcher.  Above the 1.7-mile picnic area, we found a pair of and a single male Elegant Trogon.

Miller Canyon – I was able to find the male Spotted Owl roosting in his once preferred roost site (directly over lower trail).  The female Northern Goshawk continues incubating eggs; we could see her tail and her head.  We heard the male calling from lower in the canyon and hoped would deliver food while we waited. Other species of interest include Greater Pewees, Cordilleran Flycatcher, two Buff-breasted Flycatchers, and a Canyon Wren nest.

Monday, May 26, 2014

AZ Big Year - Week Seventeen

23 April 2014 Wednesday: Out with Arlan & Linda in the Huachuca Mountains.
Huachuca Canyon – Two Gray Hawks, no Sinaloa Wren, many warblers (mostly Audubon’s), Northern Pygmy-Owl heard, two Elegant Trogon cackling to one another – saw one adult male, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Warbler, one Grace’s Warbler, many Townsend’s Warblers, adult male Scott’s Oriole
Miller Canyon – Spotted Owl, Red-faced Warbler, Northern Goshawk, No. Pygmy-Owl, Greater Pewee, twelve Hammond’s Flycatchers, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Canyon Wren nesting in mine shaft
24 April 2014 Thursday: Second day with Arlan & Linda
Carr Canyon – more Buff-breasted Flycatchers (2 nests), Greater Pewee, Red-faced, Virginia’s, Grace’s, Townsend’s & Olive Warblers, two calling Northern Pygmy-Owls,
Ash Canyon B&B – Ash-throated Flycatcher, scores of Lazuli Buntings, adult male Lucifer’s Hummingbird
Paton’s (alone) – Indigo Bunting
Rest Stop (alone) – Thick-billed Kingbird
Proctor Road (alone) – nightjar no, Elf Owl, Lesser Nighthawk, & Common Poorwill - YES
25 April 2014 Friday:  A planned personal day that turned into a half-day guiding that morphed back into a personal day due to client cancelling.
Florida Wash – searched unsuccessfully for the Black-capped Gnatcatchers at the junction of FR 62A & FR 481.
Madera Canyon Road - singing (spontaneously) Botteri’s Sparrow at MP9.
26 April 2014 Saturday:  The first of three half-days with Len & Cindy,
Santa Rita Lodge – Lazuli Buntings
Madera Picnic Area – Gray Hawk on nest
Proctor Road – Vaux’s Swift, White-throated Sparrow
Madera Kubo – five Magnificent Hummingbirds, Arizona Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Whitehouse Canyon Road – eleven Vaux’s Swifts flying over at MP 2.
Undisclosed Location in Green Valley - PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT
27 April 2014 Sunday: Second half-day with Len & Cindy
Proctor Road – many migrants
Carrie Nation Trail – Greater Pewee heard, Red-faced Warbler
Green Valley – Harris’s Hawk, Inca Dove, six Vaux’s Swifts, nesting Curve-billed Thrashers
My Backyard – Gambel’s Quail chicks, Costa’s Hummingbird, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee
Dinner at Will’s Russell’s place with Andrew Core, Mark Stevenson, Scott Olmstead, the eBird Big Day scouting team (Marshall Iliff, Tom Johnson, Tim Lenz, Gary Rosenberg)
28 April 2014 Monday: Day off
Green Valley Water Treatment Facility – met up with the eBird scouting team, six Snowy Egrets, two Red-necked Phalaropes, 42 Western Sandpipers
Amado Water Treatment Plant – female Greater Scaup (found by eBird team)
Proctor Road Area – Buff-collared Nightjar female
29 April 2014 Tuesday:  Another special day in the field and not so special spending four hours indoors.  This was the third and final day out with Len & Cindy, today we went to Mount Lemmon. 
Summerhaven – distant Short-tailed Hawk found by the eBird team, Band-tailed Pigeons, Red-naped Sapsucker, Rock Wren, Virginia’s Warblers, Yellow-eyed Juncos, Black-headed Grosbeak, & a flyover Evening Grosbeak
Marshall Gulch – Mountain Chickadee, Red-faced Warbler, Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Near the top of Mt Lemmon – gobbling Wild Turkey, Violet-green Swallows, heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch, more Yellow-eyed Juncos
Palisades Area – flyover one-tailed Hawk, Pygmy Nuthatches, Western Bluebirds, eye-level female Olive Warbler, one Red-faced Warbler
Rose Canyon Pulloff – Hepatic Tanager, Red Crossbill
Green Valley (from Abrego Dr) – had heard about Willets popping up at various spots all afternoon while I sat at the Toyota dealership for four fours while my truck was being serviced.  I checked spots on the way home late in the day finally ending up at Torres Blancas Golf Course in Green Valley.  There also, no luck.  I gave up on Willets today, couldn’t make to Amado with enough light to see anything. While driving north bound on Abrego heading home I see a flock of apparent shorebirds flying northbound.  My Willets, I count 64 +/- 3.  Amazing!
Summary: Year list at the end of the week 337.

AZ Big Bird - Week Sixteen

16 April 2014 Wednesday: With Jacque, Cindy, & Molly
Patagonia Lake State Park – twelve Black-necked Stilts, second year male Elegant Trogon, Vermilion Flycatchers, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Northern Cardinal
Paton’s Yard – baby Quail, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lazuli Buntings
17 April 2014 Thursday: With Jacque, Cindy, & Molly
Tubac De Anza Trail – Gray Hawks, Sinaloa Wren
Green Valley – Harris’s Hawk
Proctor Road (alone) – Elf Owl, Common Poorwill
Mt Wrightson Picnic Area (alone) – Mexican Whip-poor-will
18 April 2014 Friday: with Paul & Mary Hayes
Tubac De Anza Trail - missed Sinaloa Wren, flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, flock of White-faced Ibis
Carrie Nation Trail – no Trogons
Super Trail – adult male Elegant Trogon heard cackling & seen about ¾ mile up trail from parking area
19 April 2014 Saturday:  with Paul & Mary again, up the Catalina Highway
Molino Basin - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on nest, Hooded Oriole pair
Incinerator Ridge - Red-faced Warbler singing, Olive Warbler
Rose Canyon Lake - Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Magnificent Hummingbird gather nesting material
20 April 2014 Sunday: First of three days with Malcolm & Eleanor, mostly a travel day to the Chiricahuas.
Lake Cochise – Bank Swallow, Scaled Quail, continuing Baird’s Sandpiper, breeding plumaged Eared Grebe, Cattle Egret, Osprey, departing Franklin’s Gulls
Pinery Canyon – Western Wood-Pewee
Barfoot Park – Zone-tailed Hawk, pair of Mexican Chickadee, Olive Warblers singing
Barfoot Junction – many Ruby-crowned Kinglets, one each Townsend’s & Hermit Warblers, another Mexican Chickadee, and a Greater Pewee
Owling from Portal to Cave Creek Canyon – calling Elf Owls, multiple Common Poorwills on the road, in the canyon were Whiskered Screech-Owls, Mexican Whip-poor-wills, and one Spotted Owl vocalizing.
21 April 2014 Monday: Second day out with Malcolm & Eleanor, early part of the day around Portal & the Chiricahuas and then the drive back to Green Valley.
Portal – Band-tailed Pigeons, Blue-throated Hummingbird
Jasper’s – Western Scrub-Jay, more Band-tailed Pigeons, Lazul Buntings, Bullock’s Orioles
South Fork Cave Creek Canyon – No. Pygmy-Owl calling in daytime, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Grace’s Warbler, nest building Painted Redstarts, Scott’s Oriole
Barfoot Junction – Olive & Grace’s Warblers heard singing
22 April 2014 Tuesday: Out with Malcolm & Eleanor for our final day together.  They stayed at Madera Kubo and our plans included a hike up the Carrie Nation Trail to search for Elegant Trogon and then down to Tubac to search for the Sinaloa Wren.
Madera Kubo - Calliope Hummingbird male feeding at flowers, Greater Pewee & Grace’s Warbler singing
Carrie Nation Trail – flyover Northern Goshawk, Elegant Trogon 3 males heard together way up the trail, various warblers
Madera Kubo – Inca Dove still singing (for a few weeks now), Greater Pewee still singing from this morning
De Anza Trail near Tubac - No Sinaloa Wren, Yellow-breasted Chat, Gray Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, flycatchers

Summary: Year list at the end of the week 327.