Sunday, June 5, 2016

My North American Migration Count-May 14th, 2016

Yeah, this is a late post.  In fact, there are many more late posts on the way.  I've been very busy so I haven't had the appropriate time for blogging.  On May 14th, 2016, I opted to explore the Bushnell Tanks arm of Sycamore Creek for the North American Migration Count (NAMC).  Bushnell Tanks is a great location, and it is one that is under-birded in general and is also one that I don't take the time to visit as often as I should.  Because of that reason, I decided to bird it hard and carefully count each and every bird in about a five hour duration.

Because I found a way to carefully count birds on this count in a quick manner, I think I can count birds with accurate numbers a lot more now.  And it's actually quite fun.  Here's my list from the count, I'm sure you can find my main highlight pretty quickly:

Beeline Highway--Bushnell Tanks, Maricopa, Arizona, US
May 14, 2016 5:55 AM - 10:35 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Comments: It's been a long time since I've birded this epic location, so I thought, "Hey, why not do this spot for the NAMC".
68 species (+1 other taxa)

Gambel's Quail 18
Turkey Vulture 5
Cooper's Hawk 1
Common Black Hawk (Common) 2
Broad-winged Hawk 1 Rare but annual in Arizona, especially in spring migration. What caught my eye today was a small buteo flying high with a Cooper's Hawk. I saw how small the bird was and that it had strong black primary tips with black trailing edges on the lower border of the wing. This bird appeared to show both adult and 1st year features from my pictures and the missing primary may indicate molt. The uniform brown coloration and black primary tips and trailing edges on the wings eliminate Gray Hawk. The noticeable white tail band eliminates the larger and longer-winged Swainson's Hawk and the much rarer in central Arizona Short-tailed Hawk (which has never been recorded in Maricopa County). The nearby Cooper's Hawk gave a good size comparison between the two birds. These are horrible photographs, but they do support Broad-winged Hawk. Also note the bird's flat flight dehidral when soaring with the Cooper's Hawk.
Zone-tailed Hawk 3 All from different spots along the old road through the area.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
White-winged Dove 11
Mourning Dove 8
Greater Roadrunner 3
Black-chinned Hummingbird 5
Anna's Hummingbird 1
Costa's Hummingbird 1
hummingbird sp. 5
Gila Woodpecker 25
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
American Kestrel 2
Western Wood-Pewee 2
Gray Flycatcher 1
Say's Phoebe 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 9
Brown-crested Flycatcher 26 Well distributed throughout duration hiked.
Cassin's Kingbird 13 Well distributed throughout duration hiked.
Western Kingbird 3
Bell's Vireo 29
Gray Vireo 5
Western Scrub-Jay (Woodhouse's) 4
Common Raven 5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Violet-green Swallow 12
Bridled Titmouse 4
Juniper Titmouse 2
Verdin 9
Canyon Wren 2
Bewick's Wren 23
Cactus Wren 10
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Curve-billed Thrasher (palmeri Group) 1
Crissal Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 5
Phainopepla 23
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
Lucy's Warbler 62 Well distributed throughout duration hiked.
MacGillivray's Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler (Northern) 69
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 6
Wilson's Warbler 3
Yellow-breasted Chat 15
Chipping Sparrow 4
Black-throated Sparrow 11
Lark Sparrow 3
White-crowned Sparrow (oriantha) 2
Canyon Towhee 4
Abert's Towhee 5
Rufous-crowned Sparrow 3
Green-tailed Towhee 2
Summer Tanager 8
Western Tanager 17
Northern Cardinal 17
Black-headed Grosbeak 3
Blue Grosbeak 9
Lazuli Bunting 12
Indigo Bunting 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 9
Hooded Oriole (nelsoni Group) 29 Well distributed throughout duration hiked.
Bullock's Oriole 17
Scott's Oriole 3
House Finch 54
Lesser Goldfinch 43

Yeah, on this count I found a Broad-winged Hawk!  It was only the second time I've ever seen this species.  This bird is turning into a rare but regular migrant in Arizona, particularly in spring.  This bird was a distant soaring sight, but when I saw it through my binoculars I knew it was something good.  Any small buteo in Maricopa County is a good thing to find.  As the Broad-winged Hawk soared with a Cooper's Hawk, I snapped as many pictures as I could before it left my sight.

The black trailing edge to the Hawk's wings, tail pattern, and uniform brown coloration point to Broad-winged Hawk.  It was the first time I've photographed this species, hopefully I'll have a closer chance in Minnesota in the coming week.

Another neat highlight was a total of 5 Gray Vireos.  Whenever I have birded at Bushnell Tanks in spring and summer, a Gray Vireo highlight was usually involved.

Orioles were very common.  I tallied 49 orioles of 3 different species:  29 Hooded, 17 Bullock's, and 3 Scott's.  This rather distant Hooded was my only proof that I actually saw one of them ;)

Two local raptors, Common Black-Hawk and Zone-tailed Hawk are always a big draw in this area.  While in a stand of riparian trees, I had a Black-Hawk fly over me.  In the surrounding hills and such, two Zone-tailed Hawks perched out in the open to give me a chance to snap a few pictures.

Cassin's Kingbirds are another bird I enjoy in this area.

Bell's Vireos too...

Lucy's Warblers and Yellow Warblers were the day's most numerous birds.  Yellow won the fight with 69, but Lucy's was a close second in at 62.  Here are two of the 62 Lucy's.

Less numerous but still in good numbers was another "warbler", the Yellow-breasted Chat.  15 Yellow-breasted Chats are noisy with all the different vocalizations they give.  For a bird that usually skulks, I got my best ever shots of the species.

Black-throated Sparrows and Rufous-crowned Sparrows also highlighted the morning.  68 species total for my count, and a fun morning it was!

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