Sunday, January 22, 2012

Phoenix Weekend

Fellow blog readers, sorry for the lack of posts lately, but as you probably figured out, I've been birding. Oh... and working too.

This weekend Garrett and I headed to Phoenix in an attempt to see some of the sweet birds that have been staked out. On our way, we stopped at Santa Cruz Flats where we quickly relocated the McCown's Longspurs, Mountain Plovers and Crested Caracaras. We moved to the Gilbert Water ranch where we added a few nice species to the year list, but nothing to brag about.

We finished Saturday looking for the Lewis's Woodpecker at Encanto Park and the Eurasian Wigeon just north of there, with no luck. That night, the AZ listserve yielded a positive report of the Lewis's and Wigeon from earlier in the day! This would just not do.

Sunday morning, we headed straight for the Lewis's Woodpecker at Encanto Park, and this time we nailed it. Moving to the Wigeon spot, we also found the bugger in with some Americans. Two good birds before breakfast.

It was time to move along for the Smith's Longspur in Buckeye and upon arrival, we saw some fellow birders stalking the subject bird. We moved in and quickly got on it in flight. Great scope looks were had by all.
To think this was only my second Smith's ever. I surely wouldn't mind seeing more.

We moved to the Thrasher spot (Baseline and Salome Hwy) with our new friends from the Longspur viewing, and we quickly found a pair of LeConte's Thrashers. This time, everyone got great looks.

Seeing as it was only noon, we bolted to back to Tucson and went to Saguaro National Park in hopes of Gilded Flicker, another bird I've only seen once. We stopped at the second pulloff on the loop and wouldn't you know it, a pair of Gilded Flickers! Both were calling and checking out holes in the Saguaros... it sure starts early down here!

Here is an Arizona Woodpecker from Ramsey Canyon, where we also had 2 calling Painted Redstarts:

And these Vermillion Flycatchers seem to be quite common this year:

We will soon be moving from the Sonoita/Elgin area over to Whitewater Draw. Good things to come!

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