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October 31st, 2014
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Sulphur Springs Valley

A few notably late records among 73 species in the Sulphur Springs Valley.

Benson WTP:
EARED and WESTERN GREBES, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, three CASSIN’S KINGBIRDS, and AMERICAN PIPIT.

Willcox Twin Lakes:
For the date, a total of nine shorebird species was impressive. Leading the way was a STILT SANDPIPER, which hasn’t been recorded in SE Arizona later than mid-October, according to eBird and Finding Birds in SE Arizona. Even more surprising, the remnants of black barring on the rear flanks and undertail on an otherwise winter-plumaged bird indicate that it was an adult molting out of breeding plumage. Adults normally migrate sooner than the juveniles, so maybe this one has already reached its final destination.
More tardy shorebirds included one each of WILSON’S and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, both rare in late October. The list was rounded off with AMERICAN AVOCET (2), KILLDEER (present), GREATER YELLOWLEGS (several), LONG-BILLED CURLEW (3), LEAST SANDPIPER (100+), and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (lots).
SWAINSON’S HAWKS are rare by the end of October, but one immature was still around, soaring over the golf course.
Also there, SCALED QUAIL, EARED GREBE, close views of VIRGINIA RAIL by the golf course pond, several calling SORAS, a few small flocks of SANDHILL CRANES overhead, several CASSIN’S KINGBIRDS, and hundreds of TREE SWALLOWS.

Stilt Sandpiper and Long-billed Dowitcher

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows

Sandhill Cranes

Scaled Quail

Lake Cochise

Faria Dairy Pond:
A late (as in date, not deceased) WHITE-FACED IBIS, and a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT.

Sulphur Springs Valley:
SCALED QUAIL and BENDIRE’S THRASHER by Mormon Rd.
FERRUGINOUS HAWK just north of Kansas Settlement.
At least four SAGEBRUSH SPARROWS at a traditional spot near McNeal, east of N Slover Rd, about a mile south of W Latimer Rd.

Sulphur Springs Valley

Sulphur Springs Valley

Whitewater Draw:
Very high water levels meant the action was far away. There were plenty of CINNAMON and BLUE-WINGED TEAL, hundreds of AMERICAN COOTS, a few hundred distant SANDHILL CRANES, several CASSIN’S KINGBIRDS, and hundreds of TREE SWALLOWS, but overall it was a little disappointing.

Whitewater Draw

 

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