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February 14th, 2016
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Target Birding Fail!

Sometimes we have to admit defeat when it comes to finding tricky target birds, but today really was something else. We had six main target birds, all missable but none of them impossible. I was expecting to find maybe four or five, but despite our best efforts and a decent day list of 73 species, we failed to find all six of our targets. It was undoubtedly my least successful day of target birding in my guiding career! That’s birding for you.

Peña Blanca Lake:

As we pulled up by the boat ramp, a BOBCAT wandered by. A great start!

Bobcat

Bobcat

Bobcat

Bobcat

Bobcat

We were hoping to find the wintering Rufous-capped Warbler, but there was no trace of it. We did find NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, VIRGINIA RAIL, and SORA.

Sora

Virginia Rail

Virginia Rail

Peña Blanca Canyon:

No Rufous-capped Warbler here today either. The birding was fairly slow, with ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD, GRAY FLYCATCHER, HUTTON’S VIREO, BUSHTIT, ROCK and CANYON WRENS, AMERICAN ROBIN, singing CRISSAL THRASHER (which refused to show, as usual), and LINCOLN’S SPARROW being the main highlights. Amazingly, we failed to detect a Red-naped Sapsucker, another target bird, at either the canyon or the lake, two normally reliable sites in winter.

Rio Rico:

A couple of wintering TURKEY VULTURES sailed over, and a flock of CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS was around the landfill site.

Arivaca Cienega:

We found the Long-eared Owl roost site, and even found some owl feathers that had been dislodged as they had entered their thick hackberry roost, but we couldn’t detect any owls, no matter how hard we looked. Other birds here included GREATER ROADRUNNER, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, ABERT’S TOWHEE, and RUFOUS-WINGED and LINCOLN’S SPARROWS.

Veteran’s Memorial Park (Sahuarita):

A McCown’s Longspur has been wintering in the park with a flock of Horned Larks, but a brief visit didn’t turn up any larks, let along longspurs.

Las Cienegas:

Baird’s Sparrow is always a long shot, so I wasn’t that surprised to come up short with this one. However, I can usually find Chestnut-collared Longspur, but not today! We did see LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, HORNED LARK, BREWER’S and VESPER SPARROWS, and ‘LILIAN’S’ EASTERN and WESTERN MEADOWLARKS.

Las Cienegas

Las Cienegas

 

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