Today on October 19th, 2013, Laurence Butler, Muriel Neddermeyer, and I headed out to bird some of the wonderful hotspots in southeastern Arizona. We had a few key targets we where shooting for, and we managed to get one of them!
We left very early and got to the San Rafael Grasslands at sunrise. We were hoping to possibly find a Short-eared Owl or Baird's Sparrow. Unfortunately, we dipped on both of them, but we still had a few good highlights. We weren't expecting the owl by any means, and spent most of our time searching for the Baird's Sparrow in places where they are often seen. Despite missing the sparrow, we did have other cool highlights that included a pair of WHITE-TAILED KITES, plenty of NORTHERN HARRIERS, a few small flocks of CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPURS, GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, and endless SAVANNAH SPARROWS. EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and HORNED LARKS were also very interesting to observe on the fences.
Northern Harrier cruising the Grasslands
Grasshopper Sparrow (mad we weren't looking for him first)
"Heading south on the De Anza Trail from the Tubac bridge, go past the first gate and continue about 30-40 yards until you reach a narrow, grass path to the left. Take the path to the river and look downriver, past the sign that says Private Property, at the two large puddles in the river bed. The bird spent 20 minutes in the puddle closest to us and sometimes climbed a half foot up on the nearby bank where he/she stood and bobbed for a while".
Thanks to all who have reported this bird, it was a State Bird for all of us and a lifer for Laurence and I.
Louisiana Waterthrush (rarity in Arizona)-LIFER
Waterthrush notes: Noted live in the field and shown in my photographs were the long and bold rear supercilium, unstreaked throat, fewer breast streaks than Northern Waterthrush, brighter pink legs, and buffy flanks. It gave it's call note often, which helped in locating it.
While this is a horrible photograph, this does show the birds supercilium well.
Laurence and Muriel celebrating Louisiana!
Yellow-headed Blackbirds in the feedlots