Saturday, January 22, 2011

My first two lifers of 2011

Hi everyone,

Today I headed out to the Salt River Area stopping along several sites
along the Bush Highway starting at Saguaro Lake/Butcher Jones Recreation
Area, and then I continued at the Goldfield and Granite Reef Recreation

After reading Troy's report yesterday of the Kittiwake, I decided to start
my day off at the lake.  At Butcher Jones beach, I found a female GREATER
SCAUP in the mix of a Lesser Scaup flock to start the day.  I then hiked
on the trail that goes east of the Butcher Jones area along the east side
of Saguaro Lake, which can be reached from Butcher Jones right by the
southeast part of the parking lot.  This trail is amazing, and I enjoyed
the hike as much as the birds.  After two miles or so of hiking on this
trail, I reached Burro Cove, where the BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE continued,
and was viewable from this lookout.  I had rather distant but really good
views where I could clearly see the field marks of the young Kittiwake. 
It flew around often, but most of the time, it sat on the water.  Once you
reach the sign that points in two directions, saying, "Burro Cove-1/4th of
a mile, and Shoreline Access-1/4 of a mile", go to any of these spots and
scan. The Kittiwake was viewable from both of these lookouts.  Before you
reach this sign, there is one other sign that points to Burro Cove
probably 1/2 mile before this sign.  Follow any signs that point to Burro
Cove.  I would highly recommend a scope on this hike to view the waters. 
It took me 40 minutes to an hour to reach this location, and the hike is
moderate.  As I was watching the Kittiwake, I noticed a HORNED GREBE
swimming and diving below the lookout.  A CLARK'S GREBE was in the mix of
WESTERN GREBES from this viewpoint, and there were plenty of EARED and
PIED-BILLED GREBES to give me a five Grebe day.  Other notables on the
hike included an adult BALD EAGLE perched on a cliff, a SORA, and a TREE
SWALLOW.  I ran into Grant and Tyler Loomis and a couple (I wasn't able to
get their names) on my way down the trail, hopefully they had success! 
Thanks to Troy for the awesome find!

Black-legged Kittiwake

I then went to the Goldfield Site next, where I really enjoyed seeing my 
first two HARRIS'S HAWKS of the year.   

My stop at Granite Reef gave me great looks at the TUNDRA SWAN that had been 
present.  There has been some confusion about what Swan species this 
really is.  There are confusing things about it.  Luckily tonight, I got 
good video of this bird, which I will post shortly for opinion.  The Swan 
also vocalized some, which I got on tape, maybe that'll be useful.  The 
voice was more of a honking goose like sound, which would probably support 
Tundra more.  It was present for about an hour before it flew off to the 
northeast up the river, probably to the general area Jay first saw it 
between Granite Reef and Phon D. Sutton Recreation Sites.  

Tundra Swan

It was a great day today, 73 species total for the three areas.  

Good Birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)