Before this year, I had never seen a Williamson's Sapsucker in Maricopa County until a female bird appeared in front of me at Mount Ord in April. Since then I've seen two more, another female at Mount Ord and this nice adult male at the Hassayampa River Preserve. The adult male was extra special, it was the first lowland Williamson's Sapsucker I have seen in Arizona.
I've seen quite a few Black-throated Gray Warblers recently also, especially when visiting riparian woodlands in the lowlands. This warbler is always cool to see.
No true birder could ever outgrow the awesomeness of the Vermilion Flycatcher! I saw this bird at the Granite Reef Recreation Area on the Lower Salt River.
Also during my Salt River time I found a Pyrrhuloxia, which is quite the rare sight in Maricopa County. I found this female bird at the Butcher Jones Recreation Site, and it was a pleasant surprise and a new bird for my Salt River list. The Salt River is one of my favorite Maricopa County patch areas.
Sharp-shinned Hawks are now hear in the county for the winter in decent numbers. I had a chance to really get a great photo of the second bird down, but I didn't prepare myself well enough, which happens often.
When I went to Tres Rios, I detected 94 species in 6 hours worth of birding. It's an awesome place to bird, and two years ago I tallied 102 species at the location in an all day effort. At all months of the year, Tres Rios holds diverse bird life. I was surprised to find a rare-in-Maricopa lowlands Golden-crowned Kinglet.
I also found a cooperative Sora..
And enjoyed views of a Merlin and Osprey..
On the day I birded at Tres Rios, I got a call from Caleb as I finished. Caleb found a Crested Caracara, which is a new Maricoper for me. I decided to chase it and I picked up Caleb on the way. We ended up missing the bird, but hopefully I'll see the Caracara soon in Maricopa. Caleb and I still saw a lot of other cool birds, such as Sandhill Cranes!
Short-eared Owl has been found in Maricopa County in the agricultural and farm areas southwest of Phoenix in the past. The habitat out there is great for them, they have to be around somewhere. Birders often say that where many Northern Harriers fly in the day, Short-eared Owls will take over at night. My next goal has been activated, and after Caleb and I came up Caracara-less, we drove around at dusk and early night to search for Short-eared Owls. No luck yet, but the searching is fun. Will Short-eared Owl be my next Maricoper? We'll have to see! After all, three out of my five Maricopa County additions this year have been owls. Another would be nice!