I spent the morning birding with Leroy, Alta, Judy and John in the Cochise Stronghold area. As usual, the birding was excellent at Cochise Stronghold B&B (www.cochisestrongholdbb.com ).
Highlights included several SCOTT’S ORIOLES, LAZULI BUNTINGS, PAINTED REDSTART, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER, GREEN-TAILED, SPOTTED and CANYON TOWHEES, BROAD-BILLED, BROAD-TAILED, BLACK-CHINNED and ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS and my FOS WHITE-THROATED SWIFT.
We had a quick look at Sunsites WTP. The only shorebirds were KILLDEER, LEAST SANDPIPER and three BLACK-NECKED STILTS. The swallows were more entertaining, with my first two BANK SWALLOWS of the year mixed in with good numbers of TREE, CLIFF and BARN SWALLOWS. A female LESSER SCAUP was also present.
Out on the edge of the Sulphur Springs Valley around Pearce/Sunsites we found a variety of sparrows, including LARK, VESPER, BREWER’S and BLACK-THROATED SPARROW, plus LARK BUNTING, both WESTERN and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, CACTUS WREN, CURVE-BILLED THRASHER and more. Just after I’d left Cochise Stronghold canyon I encountered two GREATER ROADRUNNERS together in the road.
On the way home I stopped in at Benson WTP. On my arrival I was greeted by Peter Collins who gave me the news that he’d just found a COMMON LOON on the pond nearest I-10. It was good to meet you, Peter! Apart from the loon, late ducks included a female CANVASBACK and male LESSER SCAUP. Having seen my first ever SPINY SOFTSHELL turtle a couple of weeks ago, I saw my second, a sizable specimen basking on the shore of the same pond.