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February 11th, 2015
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Sulphur Springs Valley

A really nice day birding the Sulphur Springs Valley, with 67 species.

Sulphur Springs Valley

Benson WTP:
Eight EARED GREBES, but not much else of note.

Willcox Twin Lakes:
Plenty of birds, but nothing unusual. A couple of WHITE-WINGED DOVES were singing.

Kansas Settlement:
A couple of gorgeous FERRUGINOUS HAWKS, a few CHIHUAHAN RAVENS, a distant LONGSPUR flock, several small flocks of LARK BUNTINGS (which popped up here and there throughout the valley), and a pair of BARN OWLS in a barn.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

Chihuahuan Raven

Faria Dairy Pond:
Quite a lot of ducks and more EARED GREBES, but nothing unusual. Big flocks of YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS are always fun to see.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Sunizona:
A BENDIRE’S THRASHER showed well near the crossroads.

Bendire's Thrasher

Slover Rd, east of McNeal:
I got a brief glimpse of a SAGEBRUSH SPARROW, but they proved impossible for everyone to get views of. A GREATER ROADRUNNER showed well nearby.

Greater Roardunner

Greater Roardunner

Greater Roardunner

Sulphur Springs Valley

Whitewater Draw:
The SANDHILL CRANE show was great, with probably all 15,000 cranes present mid-afternoon, many quite close on either side of the main body of water.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

The distant SNOW GOOSE flock flew around for a while, and came close enough for me to pick out at least one immature ROSS’S GOOSE.

Snow Geese, with immature Ross's Goose (left)

Snow Geese

Snow Geese, with immature Ross's Goose (one up from bottom left)

I got this photo of a rare two-headed Snow Goose!

Snow Geese

The GREAT HORNED OWL looked pretty annoyed with the three photographers stood right below it at the back of the barn. I suggested they should back off, but they insisted the owl was happy (it wasn’t) and effectively told me to mind my own business. I wish AZ Game & Fish Dept. would permanently block off the back end of the barn, or at least remove the chairs from right underneath the regular roosting spot (some people don’t realize the owls are there and use the chairs for lunch), to give the owls some peace. They can be seen and photographed perfectly adequately from further back.
Also at Whitewater, a pair of REDHEADS on the permanent pond, a few more EARED GREBES, SORA, COMMON GALLINULE, several GREATER YELLOWLEGS and LEAST SANDPIPERS, three LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and a WILSON’S SNIPE.

Eared Grebe

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

Whitewater Draw

Coffman Rd:
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE and ‘Mountain’ WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW in bushes by the roadside.

 

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