Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A New Maricoper!

If your reading this, your probably wondering what a Maricoper is.  Well, to me, a Maricoper is a new lifer for Maricopa County when I see a new bird for my Maricopa County list.  For me, it's a big deal, considering the county list is my very favorite list (even over my official life list!).  Now that's saying a lot about a list, and any day I can get a new life bird for Maricopa County, a Maricoper, it's a great day.

The genus of sparrows, zonotrichia, is a fun one.  There are four species in the genus, all of which I've seen in Arizona.  In Arizona, White-crowned Sparrow is the common one, while White-throated, Golden-crowned, and Harris's Sparrows are annual but rare in the state.  Harris's is the rarest, and was the only sparrow I've needed from that genus for my Maricopa list.  I've been hoping for one to show up somewhere in Maricopa (I did see one last year in Tucson on the last day of the year, my lifer), and when Jim Burns found one a few days ago at Mesquite Wash, I got my chance.  Today I was joined by Tim Torson, and we set out to look for the Harris's Sparrow at Mesquite Wash in places it has been reported previously.  After searching the area for about two hours to begin without success, Tim and I went to Mount Ord for some birding.  We then came back to search for the sparrow for longer later in the afternoon.  Things still weren't going good, but as we were about to leave, we saw a group of White-crowned Sparrows foraging in the thick vegetation.  I had a feeling our wanted Harris's Sparrow was in the bunch.  Tim then played the hero role and spied the Harris's Sparrow, who was out of my view.  It then flew off before I could get a look at it.  We saw the direction it flew off in, and when we went back, we had no problem finding it!  Not only was this a new Maricoper, but it was a lifer for Tim and was his first ever Harris's Sparrow!

Here is Tim Torson, the hero of today.  Tim found the Harris's Sparrow after we looked so long, and Tim is to thank for me getting to see this awesome new Maricoper.  Thanks Tim!

1 comment:

  1. hehe Maricoper...Awesome Tommy!

    I'm hoping to try this weekend : )