Birding Blog Archives

January 21st, 2009
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More Tucson rarities

Birding wouldn’t be as much fun if it was always easy. With rare and interesting birds still hanging around in Tucson I made a bid to see a few more last week. A quick visit to Fort Lowell Park yielded the usual zero Parulas and zero Hooded Mergansers, and likewise my second trip of the year to the Santa Cruz River netted me an impressive zero Blackburnian Warblers. And whilst I did see some nice birds, such as the Cassin’s Vireo that the Blackburnian Warbler is usually hanging around with, I was left feeling a little deflated.

News of yet another interesting warbler this winter came from Evergreen Cemetery, where Philip Kline discovered a Pine Warbler with the Yellow-rumpeds. This is only a few miles down the road so I set off in very timely fashion – for me, anyway – less than 48 hours later! There was a big, noisy and wide-ranging flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers to sift through and others had been spending a while looking, but after a few short minutes the Pine Warbler popped out in a palm tree for a quick look and some crappy record shots. I shall now be checking pine trees for Palm Warblers to see if it works that way round as well…

Third time lucky at the Santa Cruz River? This was starting to get personal. With renewed determination I returned to the same spot I’d previously grilled and there, in the first tree I looked in, was the Blackburnian Warbler. Sometimes you’re hot, sometimes you’re not. Today I was hot, apparently! I spent a minute watching it before pointing the camera at it for the obligatory blurry record shots. It stayed at the back of the tree and after moving what appeared to be one tree over, it vanished and I never saw it again despite looking for an hour.

There has been talk on the Arizona/New Mexico birding listserv about birders clearing up trash when they visit sites like the Santa Cruz which are pretty horribly polluted. Seems like a good idea to me, so I took a couple of plastic bags and in between checking for the warbler I picked up some littler. OK, you’d need a few hundred trips to the dump to clear up just that stretch of the river, but it’s a start…

So, two new warblers for my Arizona and USA lists in one day. That’s one of the many good things about warblers – even though there are now 27 species on my Arizona list, there are still another eight or ten which, over the next few years, I should eventually catch up with.

And there was more good news when my USA list got an unexpected boost – it now stands at 411 after I discovered I’d missed Goshawk off! 😀

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