Birding Blog Archives

December 3rd, 2015
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Mountain Plover, Le Conte’s Thrasher

A great day of target birding in southern central Arizona at a couple of famous winter sites, the Santa Cruz Flats and The Thrasher Spot west of Phoenix.

Santa Cruz Flats:

About 60 MOUNTAIN PLOVERS were spread around Evergreen Sod Farm, some at the usual location northwest of Pretzer and Tweedy Roads, and more on the grass cells further south.

Mountain Plover

One bird was banded, which I’d never seen before. It turned out it was banded in Kimball, Nebraska in 2013, by a graduate student as part of a research project between American Bird Conservancy and the University of Colorado, Denver. Very cool!

Mountain Plover

SAGEBRUSH SPARROWS were found easily at the usual spot north of Harmon Rd, along with a BENDIRE’S THRASHER, plus COYOTE, BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT and a tentative COMMON SIDE-BLOTCHED LIZARD exploring the mild afternoon temperature.

Bendire's Thrasher

As we passed through the flats, we also encountered a wintering TURKEY VULTURE, GREATER ROADRUNNER, BURROWING OWL, both PEREGRINE and PRAIRIE FALCONS, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, plenty of HORNED LARKS and AMERICAN PIPITS, ABERT’S TOWHEE, and an excellent assortment of sparrows which comprised BREWER’S, VESPER, LARK, SAVANNAH, LINCOLN’S and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS.

The Thrasher Spot:

We arrived with only a few minutes to look before birds headed to roost. We immediately had brief views of a couple of LE CONTE’S THRASHERS, but not really well enough to be happy with them. Quite a few SAGEBRUSH SPARROWS were around, but the sun went down on any further thrasher action.

Near Buckeye:

A complete surprise at dusk, a NIGHTHAWK, presumably LESSER, flew over the road. There are only a few previous December records of Lesser Nighthawk in Arizona (and none of Common Nighthawk) so it was an unusual way to end the day.


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