- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - http://www.arizonabirder.com -

Cochise Stronghold, Benson WTP

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 [1]).

Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-01

Cochise Stronghold

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.

Annas-Hummingbird-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-02

Anna’s Hummingbird

Broad-tailed-Hummingbird-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-03

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Chipping-Sparrow-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-02

Chipping Sparrow

House-Finch-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-01

House Finch

House-Finch-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-02

House Finch

House-Finch-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-03

House Finch

Northern-Cardinal-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-01

Northern Cardinal

Canyon-Towhee-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-01

Canyon Towhee

Lazuli-Bunting-Cochise-Stronghold-11-0408-06

Lazuli Buntings

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.

Black-necked-Stilt-Sunsites-11-0408-01

Black-necked Stilt

Bank-Swallow-Sunsites-11-0408-01

Bank Swallow

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.

Common-Loon-Benson-11-0408-02

Common Loon

Common-Loon-Benson-11-0408-04

Common Loon

Common-Loon-Benson-11-0408-07

Common Loon

Spiny-Softshell-Benson-11-0408-01

Spiny Softshell