Birding Blog Archives

January 22nd, 2016
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Rufous-capped Warbler, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Cassin’s Sparrow

A successful and very pleasant day of birding, from Las Cienegas to the Patagonia Mountains, ending at Peña Blanca Canyon in the Atascosa Mountains.

Las Cienegas:

Las Cienegas

Las Cienegas

We started in the grasslands, looking for CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR among others. We found a few longspurs, including one in near breeding plumage, around a water tank near Curly Horse Road.

Chestnut-collared Longspur

A CASSIN’S SPARROW was a good find near one of the prairie-dog reintroduction sites.

Cassin's Sparrow

As expected, there was a decent selection of other sparrows, including BREWER’S, VESPER, BLACK-THROATED and SAVANNAH SPARROWS. We also found GREATER ROADRUNNER, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN, HORNED LARK, both ‘LILIAN’S’ EASTERN and WESTERN MEADOWLARKS, and a few PRONGHORNS.

Northern Harrier

Pronghorn

We stopped at Cottonwood Pond, where we found a big flock of CHIPPING SPARROWS. I got a brief view of a sparrow that was probably a Clay-colored Sparrow, but it disappeared. In an attempt to tempt it back into view, I did a few screech-owl toots, which stirred up the flock. We didn’t see the mystery sparrow again, but I was surprised to hear two WESTERN SCREECH-OWLS reply to my calls. They were coming from a dead cottonwood limb on the ground, and after searching for a while I was even more surprised to see the top of an owl’s head peering out of a hole only four feet from the ground. It didn’t seem like a very sensible place for a small owl to roost, so we left it alone.

Western Screech-Owl

Harshaw Canyon:

Heading up into the  Patagonia Mountains, we birded the area around Brush Hill Ranch, finding our main target of ‘AZURE’ EASTERN BLUEBIRD alternately feeding on pyrancantha berries and resting in a large sycamore.

'Azure' Eastern Bluebird

It was nice to find a rarity here, a smart WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.

White-throated Sparrow

Also in the area, a HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER was a good bird at this time of year.

Rio Rico:

A couple of BLACK VULTURES posed on roadside poles.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Peña Blanca Canyon:

We were hoping to find RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER, despite our late afternoon arrival. Success!

Rufous-capped Warbler

Rufous-capped Warbler

We also heard MONTEZUMA QUAIL, and saw RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER among others to end a great day.

 

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