Thursday, March 18, 2021

Williamson's Sapsucker and Streak-backed Oriole in Maricopa County

 Recently, two fun birds showed up in Maricopa County in Williamson's Sapsucker and Streak-backed Oriole.  They were fun to go and see.  An Elegant Trogon has even wintered in a Mesa neighborhood, but is on private property.  Hopefully a Trogon will show at Slate Creek Divide or someplace in Maricopa soon.

I'll stick to the point on this post and share photos.  The Williamson's Sapsucker is an awesome adult male.


A Streak-backed Oriole has been at Gilbert Water Ranch for awhile.  One day I went out to see it.  Fortunately, birders put oranges out and the bird has been coming into the oranges.  I didn't wait long for the oriole to make a few appearances.  This is my second Streak-backed Oriole for Maricopa County, with the first one being last year at the Hassayampa River Preserve.



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Arizona County Birding: 200 in Yuma

 One of my biggest goals for my birding in Arizona is to get 200 species in every county.  Arizona has 15 different counties, and to get 200 in each one, I have to explore each county pretty well while visiting a variety of different habitats and locations per county.  Reaching that number isn't difficult, but it can be time consuming.  It also requires multiple trips to each county and has to be done at different times of the year.  Recently, I reached 200 species in my 13th county for Arizona, and that was Yuma County.

Prairie Falcon, Yuma 2013

Yuma County is one that I've talked a lot of crap about over the years.  "It's freaking ugly".  "There's no high elevations".  "It's boring".  "Black-chinned Sparrow and Black Rail are the only good birds Yuma County has".  Those were examples of things I said.  As I write now, I still think Yuma County has a lot of ugliness and boring stretches.  However, I admit that after exploring it several times in the second half of 2020 and making a few trips in 2021's early going, I've realized that it has awesome bird diversity where you can see a lot of birds in any given day.  It's full of migrant traps and has excellent shorebirding.  It is a place in Arizona where birders can hear or maybe even see a local Black Rail (big emphasis on see).  There's a local established population of Ring-necked Pheasants, a species which I have yet to see in Arizona.  Abundant raptor numbers can be found in agricultural fields near the city of Yuma.  The Yuma East and West Wetlands right in city provide birders with fantastic birding.  In the more remote northeast section of Yuma County are the ruggedly beautiful Kofa Mountains within the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.  This is probably my favorite spot in Yuma County, and a handful of birds in the Mohave desert within the refuge are local and range restricted on a county level.

The famous Dateland

Highlights of my path to 200 in Yuma County:

 On October 25-26th of 2013, Susan, Barb, and Babs invited me to go on a trip with them to bird Yuma County for two days.  For the first day, the four of us birded on our own, and on the second day, they hired Henry Detwiler to be our guide for a day.  The first day gave us highlights of Red-shouldered Hawk, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ridgway's Rail, and Greater White-fronted Goose with Aztec Feedlot and the Yuma Wetlands being key places that we stopped at.  With Henry as our guide, he took us around many places in Yuma County with the city as our base.  Locations we visited included Mittry Lake, Martinez Lake, Dome Valley, and the agricultural fields south of Yuma.  The best highlight was hearing several vocal Black Rails for the first time.  It was an awesome day, and we also had neat highlights of Bell's and Sagebrush Sparrows, White-throated Sparrow, Common Loon, Burrowing Owl, Dunlin, and numerous Ferruginous Hawks and Mountain Plovers in the agricultural fields south of Yuma.  My first trip in Yuma County resulted in 119 different species over the two day span.

 

Ferruginous Hawk, Yuma 2013

On December 24th, 2013, Magill and I successfully chased an Arizona rarity in a White Ibis at the Yuma East Wetlands.  It was a pretty long search, but luckily, our target did put in a brief appearance.  

 

White Ibis, Yuma East Wetlands 2013

On February 13th, 2016, Dominic and I chased a cooperative Streak-backed Oriole at Riverside Park in Yuma.  It was my lifebird and was Dominic's ABA lifer.

Streak-backed Oriole, Yuma 2016

On May 19th, 2018, Caleb and I chased a Kentucky Warbler that had been found by Chris McCreedy earlier in the day.  We dipped on the Kentucky, but did have some other solid highlights that included Baltimore Oriole, Northern Parula, Swainson's Thrush, and Pyrrhuloxia.  

Baltimore Oriole, Dateland 2018

On October 21st, 2019, it was an incredible day in Arizona birding as a Ruff showed up at the Aztec Feedlot.  It was a shorebird that I had always wanted to see in Arizona, and one that everyone else wants to see too!

Ruff with Greater Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper

On July 9th, 2020, Ronnie, Caleb, and I stopped at the pond at the Coyote Wash Golf Course, the Aztec Feedlot, and Spot Road Farm while returning from the Salton Sea.  We had a Canada Goose at the Golf Course, a Red-necked Phalarope and Snowy Plover at Aztec, and then a Whimbrel and Willet at Spot Road.

Whimbrel at Spot Road Farm

On August 5th, 2020, Caleb, Ronnie and I went to Yuma County to chase a few Roseate Spoonbills found along the Gila River.  We got the Spoonbills, and I also had 15 Yuma additions to bring my list to 169.  Le Conte's Thrasher at Dateland as well as Baird's Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, and Black-bellied Plover at Aztec Feedlot were other fun additions.

Roseate Spoonbills, Gila River

Le Conte's Thrasher, Dateland

Black-bellied Plover, Aztec

Marbled Godwit, Aztec

On September 25th, the fine migrant trap of Dateland and sludge ponds of Aztec brought my Yuma list from 169 to 180 on a trip with Caleb.  After Caleb found many rarities at Dateland earlier in the month, we didn't find anything too crazy.  But an assortment of migrants were highlighted by Vaux's Swift and Lawence's Goldfinch.  Aztec held Pectoral and Stilt Sandpipers, as well as a Semipalmated Plover.

Stilt Sandpiper, Aztec

On November 19th, a trip with Caleb and Mark was a good one and we birded Dateland, Aztec Feedlot, and Spot Road Farm before hitting up Maricopa County birding spots.  Two Rufous-backed Robins highlighted Dateland, a Bonaparte's Gull highlighted Aztec, and McCown's and Chestnut-collared Longspurs were at Spot Road.


Rufous-backed Robin, Dateland

McCown's Longspur, Spot Road Farm

On January 14th, 2021, I visited Spot Road Farm and Dateland.  At Spot Road I got both Western and Mountain Bluebirds for the county, two species that are only present during some winters.  At Dateland I found a Barn Owl.  The owl became the 191st bird for my Yuma list.  

Mountain Bluebirds, Spot Road Farm
 
A fun Yuma trek I took January 29th, 2021, was a trip where I realized I could reach the 200 mark.  I decided to bird a few spots en route to the city of Yuma, bird around several awesome spots in the city itself, and then spend the second half of the day in the wonderful Kofa Mountains.  Along the Gila River was a Cedar Waxwing and Redheads, two county lifers, and at the Cocopah RV Resort were four lifers in Violet-green Swallow, Canvasback, Snow Goose, and a surprise with Caspian Tern.  The Yuma East Wetlands, an awesome birding spot, provided me with my 198th bird in a few flyover Pine Siskins.
 
Caspian Tern, Cocopah Resort

I saved the Kofa Mountains for my attempt at 200.  These mountains, which are in midst of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, host a cast of desert and foothills birds that aren't found elsewhere in Yuma County.  Besides that, these mountains are very scenic and beautiful.  The scenes were worth the trip alone!



A Golden Eagle flew overhead to give me 199.  More importantly, Golden Eagles are pretty darn rare in Yuma County, and I was glad to get one.  After enjoying the scenic Palm Canyon, which has a stand of native palm trees to Arizona, I went out into the nearby desert, where I got my 200th bird in a Cactus Wren.  Not long after, my 201st became a Gilded Flicker.  These two birds can only be found in this area in all of the county, and they provided the final margin for the day.  The Kofas are a place I plan on returning soon for sure.  There are many birds to get there, including Black-chinned Sparrows and Elf Owls.

Palms of Palm Canyon

Golden Eagle over Palm Canyon

Cactus Wren near Palm Canyon, my 200th

Yuma County has become my 13th county in Arizona where I have gotten 200 species or more in.  Only Mohave and La Paz counties remain.  As I've said before, to get 200 in a county means you have to explore each county pretty thouroughly, where it isn't hard, but requires quite a few trips to visit a good selection of habitats, as well as visiting in multiple seasons.  It also boosts knowledge very well on Arizona birding, and knowing things about each county makes future trip planning smooth.  In my future trips to Yuma County, I want to explore more of the Kofas, to explore more migrant traps at key times of year, and I'd love to get my state Ring-necked Pheasant, and see a Black Rail for the first time.  I'll also add that I like Yuma County now.  Wouldn't say I love it, but I like it.

Monday, January 11, 2021

The First Surprise of 2021

On January 9th, 2021, the first big surprise for birding showed up near me at Glendale Recharge Ponds.  Darryl Montgomery discovered a Least Grebe right out in the middle of Basin 2.  The news of the bird was mind blowing, and it was a species I never thought I'd see at Glendale.  For Maricopa County, it was only a second county record.  The first was at Sun Lakes in 2013, which I was fortunate to see.  With this Least Grebe, it becomes the second record of it's species in 8 years to reach Maricopa County, and both birds have been in open water situations.  These records have resulted in the Grebes being away from their usual haunts that include water bodies and ponds that have plenty of cover within debris and reeds.  It seems like a Maricopa County Least Grebe would much more likely be found at Tres Rios or anywhere else that has reeds and thick cover.  If it made it this far north, how about going a little bit further to Palm Lake at the Hassayampa River Preserve?!  Anywho, this bird was awesome and put on a show for many happy observers during January 9th when it was present as a one day wonder.











Saturday, January 2, 2021

20/20 Vision: The Birds in the Middle Of It All

2020 will go down as a horrible year for everybody on earth in many ways.  It was a tragic and constantly challenging period of time.  As we roll into 2021, a lot of the hardship still remains from 2020.  Covid-19 is still among us in high capacity, and way too many people have already lost their lives.  I never thought of having a year of social distancing from others and not being able to participate in what we once considered everyday and routine activities.  The combination of different hardships took it's toll on everyone.  

 
But for me and many others, we have the fortunate hobby and escape of birding to be thankful for.  Birding is something we can do while social distancing, as birds and the rest of nature continued to live on and be a powerful force in midst of the constant struggles of humanity.  I'm always thankful for birding, but this year was a constant reminder of how great it is.  2020 still had many roads to drive down to discover neat birds.  In this annual year summary I love to write, I'll do my best to explain that.

"When the path is beautiful, let us not ask where it leads"-Anatole France

 

2020 was one of the best years I've had in my birding "career".  The amount of great birds that showed up during the year was overwhelming and there was rarely a break in action.  In midst of a global pandemic, more people than ever were out birding and discovering notable birds for themselves.  It reminded me that there are pros and cons with about everything life throws at us.  One of the biggest cons I've lived through in my life brought out some of the biggest pros for birding.

In 2020, I had a lot planned for myself.  A lot of it had to do with birding, and a lot of it didn't.  When the pandemic hit, it changed many things around.  With birding, 2020 was complex but straightforward.  I decided to bird Navajo and Coconino Counties a lot more than I had before, and they became additions to the Arizona counties I have 200 or more species in.  Gila County was put on hold for most of the year, and after three years of not birding Maricopa County much, I birded Maricopa County a lot.  The best birding that I did in 2020 was take a 16 day trip to the Northwoods, which was the northern parts of the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.  It was a solo trip for me, and one that I had always dreamed of taking.  I got to roam across the three states at will, and the quality of birds seen made the trip one of the best times I've had in my life.  One night I camped out in northern Minnesota.  The sound and smell of cracking campfires, families laughing together, Barred Owls calling, and Common Loons haunting the lakes with their chilling sounds reminded me of how much good is still in the world.  

 

There was always a good bird to chase in 2020.  I still can't believe the quantity of things that showed up.  2020 was the year of the warbler for me.  Warblers have always been a favorite family of mine, but this year they highlighted the show.

 

Just how crazy was 2020?  Well, for me I got 9 Maricopa County additions.  If someone predicted that I would get 9, I would've laughed.  In 2018 and 2019 I got 2 Maricopa lifers apiece.  I predicted 2-3 in 2020.

 

2020 also had too many top notch highlights.  I'm not complaining either.  It made my top ten favorites for this year challenging to assign though.  Many birds I would think would easily have a spot didn't make my top ten. Here's some examples:

My first lifer of the year was this Worm-eating Warbler.  It was one of my 9 Maricopa County lifers too, and it was a great bird to start the major highlights off with of 2020.  

 
I had always wished I had seen a well-known Streak-backed Oriole at Gilbert Water Ranch that had wintered for a few years just prior to me joining the Arizona birding community.  Luckily, a female built a nest at Hassayampa River Preserve and was cooperative.  
 
 
Caleb found this Laughing Gull at Hidden Lake.  Good grief, what a good bird to get for Maricopa County after the previous ones that showed up were one minute wonders.  
 
 
Caleb spied this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Gila Bend, another great bird for Maricopa County.  I remember screaming "yes" at the top of my lungs like it was yesterday, not mid-September.
 
 
This Northern Jacana had hundreds of birders chasing it, myself included.  It had been 12 years since one had shown up in Arizona, and it was the first time I was able to chase one.  What an epic bird it is.

 
One of my best self-found birds this year was this Blue-winged Warbler in Navajo County.  It was a new Arizona bird for me too, one that is pretty rare.
 
 
Arizona's first chasable Clay-colored Thrush was an incredible find in southeastern Arizona.  
 
 
Another state bird I got that was incredible was this American Tree Sparrow.  It showed up at a remarkably more southern location for Arizona than most records.  Levi and I joined forces and got great looks at this bird in southern Yavapai County at Badger Springs Wash within the Agua Fria National Monument.  
 
 
I got my first look at Black-billed Cuckoo in Michigan on a fun and secluded trail.
 
 
Toward the end of the year, I stood out in a field in Maricopa County after dusk with Jeff, Mary, Dara, and Ronnie.  We got lucky and had a Short-eared Owl fly by, and it was part of the Gila River Christmas Bird Count.  The look was brief and photographs weren't possible for us, but it was awesome.
 
 

This totals 10 birds that should be in the Top 10 (I would think), but didn't make my top 10.  Gosh, it really shows how great this year was for birding.



My Top 10 for 2020:

This list comes from a variety of things.  Birds in the top ten include birds that are rare, birds that have incredible impact on me in some sort of way, or birds that aren't the rarest but call for me to take a big adventure in order for me to find them.  I'll count them down from 10 to 1.

#10.  Cape May Warblers in northern Minnesota:

During my two week summer vacation to the Northwoods, warblers filled the trees in abundance.  After landing a few lifers in the warbler department, I only had one more to land.  That remaining one was Cape May Warbler.  In the ABA area, it was also the last regularly occurring warbler I needed.  With living in Arizona, I've seen all the rare Mexican warblers too.  With there being 55 Wood Warblers/New World Warblers in the ABA area, the Cape May Warbler became by 54th.  The one I have remaining is Golden-crowned Warbler, which is primarily a vagrant to Texas.  Cape May Warblers were common in thick stands of spruce in northern Minnesota, and they were beautiful and a fun bird to celebrate.


# 9.  Great Gray Owl in Sax-Sim Bog, Minnesota:

Owls are my favorite family, and Great Gray Owl is my favorite owl.  On a rainy overcast day on my vacation, I went to Sax-Sim Bog.  I got lucky and looked up Admiral Road to see this majestic bird.  It didn't care about my presence, and I got to spend about 40 minutes with it up close.  When people came after the 40 minutes, we all watched it together for 40 more minutes.  These people were represented by 3 different states (4 if you include me), and 2 of those states came very far to bird Minnesota.  The excitement they showed was awesome, and it ended up being fun to share the sighting too.

# 8.  Connecticut Warbler in northwest Wisconsin:

Connecticut Warblers are notoriously difficult and may require many adventures for birders to catch a glimpse of one.  They are reclusive, often walk slowly on or near the ground, and are most often found by the song of the male.  Dense bogs are the primary habitat of this large warbler, and getting through the habitat is often impossible.  Thankfully, many birds breed in different habitats.  Connecticut Warbler does too, even though the dense bogs are the favorite of the bird.  In Wisconsin, I found out about a place where they bred that wasn't a bog but resembled the habitat of a bog.  The difference was that one could walk through the habitat.  It didn't mean the Connecticut Warbler wasn't going to be challenging.  On the first morning of my vacation, I tried for Connecticut Warblers.  One male started off my trip very well, and it was good to see a warbler I had wanted to search for for a long time.  


# 7.  Crescent-chested Warbler in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona:

So far in my birding years, rare Mexican warblers I've been lucky enough to see here in Arizona have been Rufous-capped Warbler, Slate-throated Redstart, and Fan-tailed Warbler.  The remaining bird in that department was Crescent-chested Warbler.  It wasn't without some effort though.  I chased the bird several times without any luck and narrowly missed getting to see it each time.  When three of them were reported in the Chiricahuas this year, I figured this was my time to see them.  There was a pair and a single male, and each day before I got to go the male was reported to sing at dawn.  When I went I drove up on a night after work, camped out, and woke up in the mountains.  Me and many others waited and the bird sang early.  When it got light enough, the birds put on a show for the crowd.  It was great to catch up with this stunning warbler for the first time, and to watch the pair forage for several hours.  In the coming weeks they attempted breeding, and there turned out to be a total of 5 birds in same area on the western flank of the Chiricahuas.  

# 6.  Canada Warbler at Gilbert Water Ranch, Arizona:

Canada Warbler is quite the rarity in Arizona, and many birders have had trouble getting them in Arizona.  They are challenging to find in the state, and are one of the rarest eastern warblers.  I saw many of them on summer vacation, and they were always enjoyable.  When Chris and Holly found one at Gilbert Water Ranch, it was crazy.  I chased it right away, and missed it.  It was a bummer, but Caleb relocated it the next day.  On another chase after work, the Canada Warbler was obliging for many after being too elusive on the first day.  It was great to see it, and it was one I had always wanted to see very badly in Maricopa County.  Many birders were there to enjoy the warbler with.  Ironically, Caleb and I found our own Canada Warbler a few days later at the Verde River.


# 5.  Eared Quetzal in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona:  

Every birder in Arizona wants to see an Eared Quetzal.  Throw in the rest of the birders across the country too.  One of them showed up in the Chiricahuas while I was on my Northwoods vacation.  I was enjoying my vacation immensely, and the Quetzal was one I didn't think I'd be able to get too serious about.  The bird was seen for a few days before going absent while I was on vacation.  And after a few days of absence, it showed up again.  After working for 5 days, and with here-and-there reports of the Quetzal, I decided to go for the bird on my "Friday" after work.  It had been reported earlier in the day.  I took my camping supplies to work, and was able to drive for 5 hours straight to the spot.  Luck was on my side, and I got to enjoy my first Eared Quetzal up close within minutes of arriving.  It was hard to believe I was looking at this Trogon species while I was looking at it.  After I got to see it for an hour, it went absent for some time before being relocated again.  It was eventually joined by a second bird, and later on in the year, the two Quetzals became very reliable and cooperative to those who chased them.

 

# 4.  Spruce Grouse in northern Minnesota:

When I went on my vacation to the Northwoods, one of my biggest targets was Spruce Grouse.  These birds can be extremely hard to find due to their silent and slow moving behavior.  Josh and I tried for them one morning without luck, and on the same day, I looked for them all afternoon, without luck.  I had some locations in mind to search, but I knew that hours and hours of searching for these grouse could result with miles of trees to walk through and no grouse.  In the nick of time, Josh told me about a location that was known to be good for the grouse.  I decided to go and walk a short stretch of habitat known to be great for several hours on a brisk morning.  The search was slow going for the first three hours.  I looked on endless logs, tree limbs, and forest floor.  After about 3 hours and 15 minutes, I finally found a male Spruce Grouse.  It was epic.  For the next two hours, I watched this bird as it probably moved for a total of 30 feet.  It gave me a further understanding on why they're as hard to find as they are, and it called for a two hour observation!


# 3.  Black-throated Blue Warbler at Gilbert Water Ranch, Arizona:

On the same day I became an uncle, I also reached a goal that I had always wanted for Maricopa County with 400 species.  The goal was reached with a coopertive and practically tame Black-throated Blue Warbler.  I had almost checked out of birding for the day, but Dara got word of the bird's presence and reported it, and Mark called me immediately to tell me of the report.  It was an awesome day where two great things happened in reaching two milestones.  What was incredible too about the warbler was that it was the first time I had ever gotten great looks at the species.  Over the summer in the Northwoods, I saw a few males.  They were seen further away most of the time and in overcast conditions.  This bird at Gilbert Water Ranch made up for it, and was so awesome that I had to go see it a second time.

# 2.  Yellow-green Vireo at the Hassayampa River, Arizona:

When I took Caleb birding for his 21st birthday, I knew that we had to find something good because of his birthday.  We decided to bird along the Hassayampa River via the Kerke's Trailhead.  Not long into the day, we stopped to investigate a spot with good bird activity.  A vireo flew in right in front of us, and it turned out to be a Yellow-green Vireo.  For both of us, it was a life bird.  It was also the 2nd record of the species in Maricopa County, with the first being 40 years prior to ours!  This mega rarity for Maricopa County took us by surprise, and it is also a statewide rarity for Arizona.  For me, I had chased and missed Yellow-green Vireo four times prior to this in my birding.  Each miss was narrow: one by a few minutes, one a got on the movement but not on the bird while others in my party had diagnostic looks, one by a day (it was seen the day before I went and the day after I went), and another by 15 minutes.  After those narrow misses, it was epic to co-find one with Caleb on his birthday!

 # 1.  Kirtland's Warblers in Grayling, Michigan:

When I planned my summer vacation to the northern parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, the biggest target of my trip was the Kirtland's Warbler.  After hearing my lifer in Wisconsin in 2016, I really wanted to see get visuals of this species.  These rather large warblers were once critically endangered.  Conservation efforts have restored the species to a 180, and the population is doing well enough that they were removed from the endangered species list.  Kirtland's Warblers still need to be respected despite being removed from the list, as they are still a rare bird with a limited range that is found mostly in north-central Michigan.  For me to see Kirtland's Warblers, I drove about 9 hours one way from Wisconsin to Grayling, Michigan.  The drive there and back were both long (9 hours both times), but it was worth it.  Not long after getting to Grayling, I went to the young jack pine stands that Kirtland's Warblers use for breeding.  The trees aren't tall at all, and it's a strange habitat for a warbler to use as it's sole breeding habitat.  Thanks to habitat management, these warblers have done well again.  It didn't take me long to start hearing the loud songs of the warblers from the young jack pine forests upon my arrival.  I got to see them very well on the first afternoon and evening near Grayling.  The next day, I had more of them.  In about a mile, I detected 15 of them either by sound or sight.  One male near the road was cooperative for me on both days.  Over the two days spent in Grayling, I spent about six hours enjoying Kirtland's Warblers.  It was awesome to me, and easily takes the number one spot this year.  The rebound of Kirtland's Warbler shows that there is still good in the world, and is a perfect example of people caring enough to restore a species.  The world still needs a lot more of that!

For more complete stories from 2020, go back on the Blog Archives.  

Aside from birds mentioned on this post, 2020 still had many more great ones.  


2020's Lifer Categories:

In my birding, I have several "categories" that are big deals for me.  Right now I have four.  They are: Overall Lifebirds gained, Arizona Lifebirds gained, Maricopa County Lifebirds gained, and Gila County Lifebirds gained.

Overall (World) Lifebirds:  Worm-eating Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, American Woodcock, Mute Swan, White-winged Crossbill, Cape May Warbler, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Spruce Grouse, Eared Quetzal, Northern Jacana, Yellow-green Vireo (14 species added in 2020 to total 623 currently)

Arizona Lifebirds:  Worm-eating Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Clay-colored Thrush, Eared Quetzal, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Blue-winged Warbler, Northern Jacana, Canada Warbler, Yellow-green Vireo, American Tree Sparrow (10 species added in 2020 to total 477 currently)

Maricopa County Lifebirds:  Worm-eating Warbler, Streak-backed Oriole, Canada Warbler, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Yellow-green Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Laughing Gull, Short-eared Owl (9 species added in 2020 to total 402 currently)

Gila County Lifebirds:  Red-necked Grebe, Hooded Warbler (2 species added in 2020 to total 327 currently)

 
Arizona County Birding:  Something I love to do is explore the different counties in Arizona.  We have 15 in total.  I like to get 200 or more in each county.  To get number in a county, you have to explore it pretty well.  In 2020, I added Coconino County and Navajo County to the counties I have 200 or more in.  It now gives me 12 of the 15 counties, and the remaining 3 I have to get 200 in are:  Yuma, La Paz, and Mohave Counties.  These three counties are along the west side of Arizona.  They will be fun to explore in the future, and Navajo and Coconino were a lot of fun in 2020.  I hope to take a few more out of state road trips in 2021 too.

 

Happy New Year everyone, and I wish you a healthy and safe 2021.  2020's birding for me was "The Year of the Warbler".