Birding Blog Archives

March 27th, 2010
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Silverbell Lake, Sweetwater Wetlands

I took a birding trip with my friend Ed Tobin and his splendid dogs Unai and Treasure. We started at the smaller lake in Christopher Colombus Park and the first birds we saw were six Neotropic Cormorants which allowed close approach as they rested on a concrete boat landing. They eventually hopped into the water and did a circuit of the lake in a tight pack, diving and resurfacing simultaneously as they hunted for fish. A few Great Egrets were scattered around and several of the Great Blue Heron nests on the island in the main lake were occupied.

Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-06Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-01Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-02Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-04Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-03Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-05Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-08Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-11Neotropic-Cormorant-Silverbell-Lake-032710-07
Throughout the morning we found an impressive six swallow species. There were plenty of Cliff Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, three Bank Swallows flew straight through, heading north, a couple of Violet-Green Swallows passed through at midday, a single Tree Swallow was further along the river and my first Barn Swallow of the year was mixed in. It was a great opportunity to confuse Ed!

Harris's-Hawk-Sweetwater-Wetlands-032710-03Lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers were moving through, including one Myrtle Warbler, the eastern form. A Black-throated Gray Warbler was in trees along the Santa Cruz River, and a freshly-arrived Lucy’s Warbler was nearby. We crossed the Santa Cruz and scanned the recharge basins at Sweetwater from the river walk. We saw three American Avocets, one Black-winged Stilt and a few Least Sandpipers, and had great views of two immature Harris’s Hawks.flowers-Sweetwater-Wetlands-032710-01

The wild flower show is impressive everywhere you go at the moment. You can’t complain with these as roadside weeds…

House-Finch-Ed's-House-032710-04Back in midtown Tucson, we spent a while watching the birds coming to Ed’s feeders. He’s got a great set up and lots of birds are coming in, mostly House Sparrows and House Finches but also Lesser Goldinch, Gila Woodpecker, White-winged Dove, etc. A pair of Curve-billed Thrashers are nesting next door and while we watched both Yellow-rumped and Lucy’s Warbler passed through. A very pleasant way to end the morning.

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