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February 21st, 2015
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Benson, Sulphur Springs Valley

A really nice day of birding in the Sulphur Springs Valley, with quality over quantity among 61 species.

Benson WTP:
Not a great deal, with a CANVASBACK and several EARED GREBES being the highlights.

Willcox Twin Lakes:
Three SCALED QUAIL showed well at the community compost pile, which is accessed by the dirt road which heads right just before you reach the golf course, as you arrive from Willcox.
Also, calling SORA, multiple flocks of SANDHILL CRANES overhead, singing WHITE-WINGED DOVES, and loads of LARK BUNTINGS (with many more small flocks throughout the valley), but not much on Lake Cochise to get the pulses racing. Taking photos from the car proved worthwhile.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

Lark Bunting

Loggerhead Shrike

Sandhill Cranes

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

Western Meadowlark

White-crowned Sparrow

Kansas Settlement:
A couple of gorgeous FERRUGINOUS HAWKS in the vicinity of E Robbs Rd and E Arzberger Rd. A flock of CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS continues in the pecans along E Robbs Rd. SANDHILL CRANES were streaming over in their thousands.

Chihuahuan Ravens

Faria Dairy Pond:
A couple of pairs of ‘Mexican’ MALLARDS, but little else of note.

McNeal:
A GOLDEN EAGLE was being chased by ravens over the intersection of N Coffman Rd and W Davis Rd.
A BENDIRE’S THRASHER was singing enthusiastically on N Central Highway, a mile north of W Davis Rd.

Bendire's Thrasher

Bendire's Thrasher

Black-throated Sparrow

Whitewater Draw:
Two DUNLIN in the SW corner of the seasonal flood, never close, but we were able to discern enough for an ID through the scope and from record shots. Other shorebirds present for direct size comparison were KILLDEER, LEAST SANDPIPER, and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. We inadvertently flushed five WILSON’S SNIPE from the water’s edge in the SW corner.
The SANDHILL CRANE spectacle continues, for now, with still well over 10,000 cranes coming in to roost. Many of them were staying out in the green fields beyond (west of) the main body of water.
A small flock of diving duck was sheltering from the stiff breeze in the corner of the permanent pond, consisting of three REDHEAD, a RING-NECKED DUCK and a BUFFLEHEAD.
Also, the SNOW GOOSE flock (which stayed distant), a few EARED GREBES, COMMON GALLINULE, a GREAT HORNED OWL in the barn, and another in the willows.

Dunlins (with Least Sandpiper)

Dunlins

Dunlins

Dunlins

Dunlins

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Northern Harrier

Great Horned Owl

Bufflehead

Redheads

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

 

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