In early June of 2013, the original Phoenician Kingbird, was joined by an astonishing two more Phoenician Kingbirds. Ironically, these are one species, but you can clearly see there are three subspecies involved.
The original Phoenician Kingbird (PHKI), the one originally found in Miller Canyon, is the subspecies known as the Moonstruck Oaks-Ochs Cuckoo. He has something going on with kingbirds and auks, and he sounds like Flipper the Dolphin. The younger juvenile one who has black feathering over his white nape has been named the Nutting's Maricoper. He sounds like a woodcreeper. The other one is known as the Karredon Clue. He was named by the Buff-collared Nightjar. The nightjar discovered him eating a fine dish of meat when no one else was looking. Who wouldn't invite a Mexican rarity over for dinner. He is thought to be the one keeping the Proctor Jars happy with this dish, no wonder why they are singing so much. That is the Clue he gave. The Phoenician Kingbirds where seen so briefly, their id had to be better documented. There are supposedly female Phoenician Kingbirds. The Nutting's Maricoper said they (the Phoenician Kingbirds) mate for life and the females are strickingly better looking than the males, like phalaropes. Females also I guess don't wear crowns. And he described what his mate looks like. This is the best I could come up with by his description:
Female PH KI (mate of Nutting's Maricoper subspecies)
While the BC NI found the 3 PH KI's eventually, Mark Ocks, Gordon Karre, and I (Tommy DeBardeleben) where heading southeast for the gold during early June. Our first stop was at St. David Monastery. We were hoping for Mississippi Kites, but we found this young Gray Hawk instead:
Up next we went to Miller Canyon, where we had several targets. One of the main ones was this studly White-eared Hummingbird at Beatty's Guest Ranch. This was a lifer for Gordon, a second timer for me, and think Mark has seen it plenty of times. The hummingbirds entertained, and there were also a few Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers calling nearby and also a Blue-throated Hummingbird coming to the feeders among the other hummers.
We then headed up canyon for Spotted Owls and for a Goshawk nest. Mark quickly spied a fat chunk of something up in a pine tree.
It was the Spotted Owl! And it was giving it's contact calls.
We then found the Goshawk nest, with a youngin' sitting on the nest. A decent wait in hopes of the adults flying in didn't produce a gray ghost.
Young Accipiter Gentilis
We headed to Patagonia after the Goshawk and McDonald's. We searched for Thick-billed Kingbirds for over an hour without luck before we found one at Paton's. It wasn't a nice bird and we couldn't get pictures. Larry Morgan did get us this nice male Varied Bunting though! And a Violet-crown!
We then headed up to Madera Canyon in hopes of getting the recent Buff-collared Nightjar. Before the Jar fun, we looked for sparrows. We managed a few Botteri's Sparrows, and this one was very cooperative. They are usually shy. In the vocal field guide of Mark Ochs, he described the Botteri's Sparrow as: "Their such a dorky little flat headed plain shi**y looking sparrow". Sounds distinctive to me.
The "dorky little flat headed plain shi**y looking sparrow"-Ochs
We had success with the Jars once it got dark, hearing two of them. Thanks to Laurens Halsey, we saw the eyes and flyaway of one of them. It was a lifebird for me (#420 overall, 407 AZ). Because I was lazy with notes and pictures on our trip, I don't have as good of a post this time. We also saw three strange forms running around Madera that night. Maybe it was the Kingbirds?
We drove around for 20 hours and survived 550 miles (Mark nearly 600). Thanks Gordon and Mark for the awesome day. For a much better narrative on this trip, visit Gordon's page at: