Thursday, November 3, 2011

THE Fall Birding Hotspot in Southeast Arizona

It all started at the end of September when a Cape May Warbler showed up at Peña Blanca Lake, west of Nogales, AZ.  There are only 11 previous records of this species in Arizona.  Thus, it has its own blog post.

Then the Patagonia "Roadside Rest Effect" took place.  This occurs when birders chase a particular rare bird and end up finding more rare birds.  This refers to the Roadside Rest Area in Patagonia, AZ where the first U.S. record of Black-capped Gnatcatcher was discovered in 1971.  When hordes of birders were searching for it, they also found the first U.S. record of Yellow Grosbeak.

So, what other rare birds have been found at Peña Blanca Lake this fall?  How about Bobolink, Palm Warbler, American Redstart, Dickcissel, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Townsend's Solitaire, Blackburnian Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and most recently a Rufous-backed Robin!  Twelve rare birds in all, not including the continuing Least Grebes, WOW!!!
*UPDATE 11/04/11: Add White-throated Sparrow and Long-tailed Duck (see post) to the list.
*UPDATE 11/10/11: Add Eastern Phoebe and Wood Duck, 17 rare birds this fall!
*UPDATE 11/18/11: Add Elegant Trogon, up to 18 now.
Thumb Rock Cove
I decided to go back when the Golden-winged Warbler was found.  Unfortunately, it was a 2-day wonder and I was a day late.  Drat!  The day after I was there, a Blue-winged Warbler was discovered.  But it turned out to be a 1-day wonder.

While searching for the warbler, I had some great photo ops:

Townsend's Solitaire

I found 15 Least Grebes!  I photographed them for about an hour.  What a treat to watch!

feeding young


 Other cool birds:

White-crowned Sparrow

Red-naped Sapsucker
Cooper's Hawk
Lincoln's Sparrow
Black Phoebe

 Some other cool stuff I spotted while birding:


What will turn up next?

*Note: My blog is not showing older posts on this page.  Please see the "Blog Archive" on the right for more posts.


  1. Least Grebes! Man, that would be a lifer for me - something to keep an eye out for the next time I'm in Arizona.

  2. Jeremy,

    All lovely images, I especially enjoyed the Least Grebes!