Birding Blog Archives

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites
April 8th, 2018
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Birdathon 2018

It’s Birdathon time again! I haven’t asked for three years, so I hope you’ve all had time to save up for a BIG donation this year. Our team, The Santa Cruzers, aims to set a new record for the number of species seen in one day in Santa Cruz County, the littlest county in Arizona.

Can we do it? Can I achieve my ambitious personal goal of raising $1,000.00? Stay tuned, and please support us! All funds go directly to Tucson Audubon’s impressive conservation program, directly benefitting birds and wildlife habitat in SE Arizona.

PLEASE SUPPORT ME BY CLICKING HERE TO FIND OUT MORE!

September 28th, 2017
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Yellow-billed Cuckoo Survey - Pesqueira Canyon

  • Click on the photos to view larger versions and watch as a slideshow
  • Hover over the photos to see the species name or site description

Jennie and I did our final cuckoo survey of the season in Pesqueira Canyon near Nogales. It was quieter than previous visits, with most of the migrants having passed through and many of the resident species falling silent. We didn’t detect any cuckoos this time.

Highlights included SHARP-SHINNED and GRAY HAWKS, still a good few GRAY and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, three CRISSAL THRASHERS, and winter sparrows becoming evident, including CHIPPING, BREWER’S, WHITE-CROWNED, and VESPER SPARROWS, plus GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, along with the resident CANYON TOWHEES, and RUFOUS-WINGED, BLACK-THROATED, and LARK SPARROWS.

Pesqueira Canyon

 

September 15th, 2017
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Roseate Spoonbills!

  • Click on the photos to view larger versions and watch as a slideshow
  • Hover over the photos to see the species name or site description

After our survey, Jennie and I decided to head out to Aquirre Lake at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in the hope of finding three Roseate Spoonbills that had been seen there off and on over the previous few days. We’d both seen this species elsewhere, but not in Arizona.

We dropped in at Amado Pond on the way, which hosted the continuing BROWN PELICAN and 13 BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS.

Embarrassingly, I’d never been to Buenos Aires before, so it was exciting just visiting a new site. It’s an impressive mesquite grassland, with permanent and seasonal pools which can attract shorebirds and wading birds in the right conditions. Today was one such occasion.

We started at Grebe Pond, a big, permanent pond, which had a GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a few BLACK-NECKED STILTS, but no spoonbills. Thankfully, another birder appeared and told us where we could find the big pink birds, which he’d seen feeding on Aguirre Lake itself, which is a large seasonal pond that is often dry but currently has a little bit of water and some great wading bird habitat. On the way to the lake, we found a few migrant WILLOW FLYCATCHERS in the willows and mesquites.

Willow Flycatcher

Unfortunately, the spoonbills must have moved, as there was no sign of them at the lake. A ‘canal’ runs behind Grebe Pond, and we started to explore that habitat. A couple of BLUE-WINGED TEAL were among a flock of CINNAMON TEAL, a noisy BELTED KINGFISHER chattered away, and a NORTHERN HARRIER drifted by. Shorebirds included BAIRD’S, LEAST, and WESTERN SANDPIPERS. A couple of BANK SWALLOWS headed south, and other highlights were plenty of recently-arrived BREWER’S SPARROWS, LAZULI BUNTING, BULLOCK’S ORIOLE, and YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD.

The only big wading birds we’d found were a few GREAT EGRETS and nine WHITE-FACED IBIS. We were starting to feel our luck was out when I spied three big pink birds through the vegetation! We adjusted our position and were soon enjoying excellent views of three stunning ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, my 426th species for Arizona.

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

To end a wonderful day in fitting style, a scattered flock of 65 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS drifted south, 39 of which I managed to fit into this photo.

American White Pelicans

 

September 15th, 2017
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Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey - Pesqueira Canyon

  • Click on the photos to view larger versions and watch as a slideshow
  • Hover over the photos to see the species name or site description

It was decided that a couple more cuckoo surveys were in order to discover if any were attempting second broods, so Jennie and I were back in Pesqueira Canyon near Nogales. We did detect one YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO calling, but didn’t get to see it and weren’t able to witness any potential breeding behavior.

We did find an impressive 48 species in this unremarkable canyon, with migration in full swing. Highlights included GRAY HAWK, at least 20 GRAY FLYCATCHERS, DUSKY-CAPPED and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, a migrant THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, at least seven CRISSAL THRASHERS, a latish LUCY’S WARBLER, BOTTERI’S and LINCOLN’S SPARROWS, six GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES, SUMMER and WESTERN TANAGERS, BLACK-HEADED and BLUE GROSBEAKS, a couple of VARIED BUNTINGS, and an impressive 16 migrant BULLOCK’S ORIOLES.

Black-throated Sparrow

Crissal Thrasher

Crissal Thrasher

Crissal Thrasher

Crissal Thrasher

On the way out of the canyon, we stopped at Pesqueira Canyon Pond, which has really filled up. We found eight CINNAMON TEAL, three BLACK-NECKED STILTS, and three SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, as well as a few nice dragonflies.

Common Whitetail

Twelve-spotted Skimmer