I spent a pleasant morning birding the Rio Rico area with Debbe and Harvey from Vermont, finding interesting and easily accessible local species.
We started with a look in the cottonwoods along the Santa Cruz River at the Guy Tobin trailhead. A WHITE-WINGED DOVE was in song and we had nice views of LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER, PYRRHULOXIA and LARK SPARROW among others. We headed over to Peck Canyon and sorted through some roadside sparrows. We all enjoyed close looks at our very own little brown job, unique to Arizona and Sonora, the rather enigmatic RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.
We also saw a few VESPER and BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS among the WHITE-CROWNED, and had prolonged views of a fairly showy GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE. A couple of TURKEY VULTURES wheeled over.
The agricultural fields at Tumacacori were largely quiet beyond feeding flocks of COMMON and mostly CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS. Rio Rico Drive was more productive though, with an interesting immature male and stunning adult male VERMILION FLYCATCHER brightening up the scene. The ponds held a GREAT EGRET, a pair of GADWALL, four CANVASBACK and nine COMMON MERGANSER, while adult and immature BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS roosted in a mesquite and a couple of BLACK VULTURES passed overhead. A pair of GREAT BLUE HERONS were much more obliging…
Just before we left Rio Rico Drive, the wind suddenly doubled in strength as a large winter storm rolled in. We ended the morning at my feeders, but the gusty conditions prevented much action so we called it quits.