[Tweeters] AZ birding 2/12-2/19
scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 21 13:01:07 PST 2008
Just returned from a family baseball trip to AZ that thankfully allowed for some birding at both the front and back ends (132 species), and if any of you are thinking of heading down, this seems like the time to go. The headliner is a N. JACANA at a golf course south of Phoenix for some time now, a very accomodating and photogenic bird. From about December to Valentine's Day, a CRESCENT-CHESTED WARBLER was reliable up Madera Canyon, but a 1.5-2 mile hike/scramble up the Old Baldy trail was needed. Very few of these have been recorded in N. America; all but one have been in AZ. I feel really lucky to have found it; although I could not quite get it videocammed, my sighting was the last since it disappeared with a 9" snowfall on Feb. 15. While the trail has now cleared, no one has seen it since, but it may reappear. I had missed by just a half-hour the bird that had been at Madera April 27, 2002. Then just across the canyon, several birders have heard an EARED QUETZAL (formerly TROGON) over the last month or so, and an AZTEC THRUSH was seen and finally photographed in lower Madera back in mid-Jan. It could still be around but I had no luck, although another observer described a paler, smaller thrush in w/30 Robins along the lower trail on Valentine's Day. A SHORT-TAILED HAWK was seen in the last week in Tucson and another RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN showed, I can't recall the site but Boyce Thompson Arboretum comes to mind; I couldn't get it for AZ but a CAVE SWALLOW has been seen pretty much daily over the Gilbert Water Ranch in s. Phoenix. Add to all of these goodies the prospect of single eastern passerines (E. Phoebe, Black-thr. Blue Warbler, N. Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, White-eyed Vireo, etc) that have been loyal to single sites this winter. Then there's all the usual Arizona specialties (for example, Zone-tailed Hawks are a bit early this year, had one along the creek near the baseball stadium Feb 18) to look forward to. Lastly, 70 F plus temps prevailed over our time, and, well, when combined with that early-season AZ sunshine, it's all pretty hard to beat.
Good luck if you go--
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com
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