Birding Blog Archives

March 24th, 2011
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Tubac, Sweetwater Wetlands

I was birding again with Bill and Susan Sands and Ron and Carol Vantine from Minnesota. It was a really great day with nine raptor species among many others.

We headed down to Tubac and enjoyed a much improved raptor spectacle from Sunday. Having sifted through the expected species along De Anza Trail, including calling COOPER’S and GRAY HAWK, a smart but largely silhouetted LAZULI BUNTING and a WESTERN KINGBIRD, we joined a few other birders on Bridge Rd. Someone pointed out the first bird as a Common Black Hawk but to my eye it was a TURKEY VULTURE. Thankfully, a real COMMON BLACK HAWK came by soon after, along with four ZONE-TAILED HAWKS and plenty more vultures.


Common Black Hawk


Zone-tailed Hawk

We transferred to nearby Ron Morriss Park and watched three GRAY HAWKS battle it out over the cottonwoods, while a very smart adult PEREGRINE FALCON gave us a close flyby. Also around the park, TREE, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and BARN SWALLOWS, BELL’S VIREO, CASSIN’S and WESTERN KINGBIRDS, GRAY FLYCATCHER and the obligatory VERMILION FLYCATCHERS.

We left Tubac at 11:00 and wanted to kill a bit of time before lunch, so continued south and checked the agricultural fields south of Tumacacori. This was a success as we relocated the immature CRESTED CARACARA hanging out in the fields with some cows and a Coyote. A WHITE-FACED IBIS flew by and another pair of GRAY HAWKS displayed over the cottonwoods.


Crested Caracara

We dined at Wisdom’s Cafe in Tumacacori, which I can heartily recommend. The fruit burritos were superb!

Heading back into Tucson, we spent a couple of hours mid-afternoon at Sweetwater Wetlands. Highlights here included GREEN HERON, two very showy HARRIS’S HAWKS, a showy SORA, my FOS BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD, PLUMBEOUS VIREO, TREE, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and VIOLET GREEN SWALLOWS and one female and three stunning male BULLOCK’S ORIOLES. The BLUE-WINGED and CINNAMON TEAL were glowing in the late afternoon light.


Harris’s Hawk


Blue-winged Teal


Yellow-rumped Warbler

A very pleasant day spent in very good company. And productive too, with 83 species seen. What a joy 😀


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