Sunday, May 13, 2012

My first Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a rare Dickcissel

Photographic Highlights!!


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

May 13th, 2012:  Hassayampa River-my lifer Rose-breasted Grosbeak and finding the first spring record of Dickcissel in Maricopa County

Hi everyone,

As Tracy posted earlier, we had an exciting morning of birding in the 
Hassayampa area this morning at the Roadside Rest and the Hassayampa River 
Preserve.  I had a few additional sightings I wanted to include.

In addition to the DICKCISSEL and GRAY HAWK at the Roadside Rest Area, I 
also had a singing TROPICAL KINGBIRD.  Like the Gray Hawk, this species is 
a local breeder in the area.  I have had the kingbirds at the Hassayampa 
River Preserve, but this was the first time I located one at the Roadside 
Rest.  The Gray Hawk was quite the sight, and was an adult bird who flew 
by me at close range.  I was very shocked when I looked up and saw the 
Dickcissel, a bird I thought of as only a fall migrant.  I observed this 
bird most of the time I was at this area in nearly two hours.  It was only 
the second Dickcissel I've seen in my life, so I enjoyed it.  The bird 
gave it's "fart" call a lot also, and mostly stayed in the weeds.  At 
times it went up in the willows lining the river.  I was glad with how 
cooperative it was, I really wanted Tracy to see it!  Besides the BLUE 
GROSBEAK Tracy found, I noted a good number of at least 5 them while I was 
birding at this spot, always a good bird to see back in numbers.  Also 
present was a lone CEDAR WAXWING (also a few at Hassayampa River 
Preserve), and a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER.

Tracy and I checked Janet Witzeman's book, Birds of Phoenix and Maricopa 
County, which showed in the bar graphs as this bird never being recorded 
in spring at the time the book was published.  I'm unaware if there are 
any records since then.  I uploaded photos of the bird to AZFO.  As Tracy 
mentioned, Hassayampa was awesome today, and the ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK 
was a lifer for me (very overdue!).