- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - https://www.arizonabirder.com -

Rock Corral Canyon: Five-striped Sparrow again

Sparrows were front and center today among a decent winter haul of 77 species in Santa Cruz and Pima Counties, without visiting any water sites.

Rock Corral Canyon:

We saw an impressive 17 emberizid (sparrow) species today, 15 at Rock Corral Canyon alone. A Sparrow Big Day would be a lot of fun – one for the future.

I keep saying it, but this is a beautiful canyon, and one with huge birding potential. Today, it was hopping with birds!

Rock Corral Canyon [1]

The highlight was another brief view of a FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW, possibly two, a little further up canyon from the previous sighting, on the slope to the right just before you enter an oak grove. GPS: 31 32.875, -111 5.95. It was feeding near a few other sparrows (Rufous-crowned, Chipping) under a rock ledge, but was probably only associating with them by happenstance as they are normally solitary or in pairs.

Five-striped Sparrow [2]

We also found DARK-EYED JUNCOS of the usual three flavors, GREEN-TAILED, SPOTTED and CANYON TOWHEES, RUFOUS-CROWNED, RUFOUS-WINGED, CHIPPING, BLACK-CHINNED, and LINCOLN’S SPARROWS in the canyon and BREWER’S, VESPER, BLACK-THROATED and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS on the grassy ridge as we drove out.

Non-sparrows included a pair of BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS (along with BLUE-GRAY and many BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHERS), RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, DUSKY FLYCATCHER, CASSIN’S and HUTTON’S VIREOS, ROCK, CANYON, HOUSE and BEWICK’S WRENS, CRISSAL THRASHER, and BLACK-THROATED GRAY and TOWNSEND’S WARBLERS.

Black-capped Gnatcatcher [3]

Crissal Thrasher [4]

Green Valley:

The usual Sonoran desert species included COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD and GILDED FLICKER.

Gilded Flicker [5]

Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon:

A bunch of target species was duly ticked off at this super feeder site in just a few minutes, including WILD TURKEY, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, MEXICAN JAY, BROWN CREEPER, PAINTED REDSTART, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, HEPATIC TANAGER, and PINE SISKIN. Thanks, Steve!

Lincoln's Sparrow [6]

Lincoln's Sparrow [7]

Painted Redstart [8]

Painted Redstart [9]

Painted Redstart [10]

Florida Canyon:

We didn’t get into the canyon until mid-afternoon and it was extremely quiet, with just HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, PAINTED REDSTART, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW and a nice flock of WESTERN BLUEBIRDS worth a mention.

Rufous-winged Sparrow [11]

Western Bluebirds [12]

Queen’s Creek Veteran’s Memorial Park, Sahuarita:

Arriving at dusk, we managed to find a single MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, plus VERMILION FLYCATCHER, HORNED LARK, and a nice flock of LARK SPARROWS as the sun went down.